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Passports: Fees and Charges

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average (a) overseas passport fee, (b) delivery charge and (c) issue time in days was for renewing a British passport for British citizens resident in each country of the European Union in the latest period for which information is available. (294173)

I have been asked to reply.

Straightforward passports must be issued within 10 working days of receipt of the application. Since rationalising the European network and creating three centres of excellence, 96 per cent. of straightforward applications have been issued within this target.

The cost of passports both in the UK and overseas increased with effect from 3 September 2009. The overseas fees are as follows:

32-page adult passport: £124.50

32-page child (under-16) passport: £79.50

48-page ‘jumbo’ passport: £150.50

Emergency passport: £69.00

Emergency travel document/temporary passport: £89.00.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues fewer than 400,000 passports a year from about 60 locations and under HM Treasury rules must recover the full costs of issuing through the passport fee.

The passport fees are calculated on the basis of the cost of staff, accommodation and overheads involved proportionate to the average time taken worldwide to perform the service. The calculations are carefully scrutinised by the Treasury, approved by the Privy Council and laid before Parliament.

Fees are set in London in sterling and collected overseas in various currencies depending on the location of the service. The rates of exchange used to calculate the local fee rates allows each overseas Post a small variance to ensure that, in countries where the exchange rate dramatically changes on a daily basis, the embassy does not have to amend its rates daily. The rates of exchange are scrutinised regularly to ensure that Posts do not exceed this.

For passport applicants applying by post, the average cost of courier delivery varies from country to country and ranges from £7 to £40 depending on location. Customers living in remote locations tend to have to pay more.

We have a consular business target that 90 per cent. of applications are issued within this processing target. The time it takes the courier to return the new passport to the customer, which in Europe averages two to three working days, is not part of the 10-day target.