American citizens applying for new passports or renewing old ones next week might get sticker shock: The fee is set to jump by 18%, more than double the rate of inflation, starting Dec. 27. The State Department tweeted this week that the cost of a passport book is going up by $20. "The increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world," the department said. For adults renewing a passport book by mail, the fee will leap from $110 to $130, CNN reports. For a new passport, the fee will rise from $145 to $165.
But while passports are getting more expensive, they may also soon become easier to obtain, Forbes reports. Passports can currently only be renewed in person or through the mail, but under an executive order signed by President Biden earlier this month to create a "digital federal front door" to government services, they'll eventually become renewable online. The order gave government agencies 180 days to report to the White House on their efforts to cut red tape and move services online. Forbes notes that according to the State Department website, processing time for standard passport renewals is currently eight to 11 weeks—longer than the prepandemic six to eight weeks, but down from up to 18 weeks last summer. (US passports are getting a third gender option.)