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Passport Service


David Moss

Identity and Passport Service
Parliamentary & Correspondence
Management Team

4th Floor Peel Building SE
2 Marsham St
London SW1P 4DF

Tel (020) xxxxxxxxxx
Fax (0870) xxxxxxxxxx
Email xxxxxxxxxx
Web www.ips.gov.uk

Our Ref: PG/10/202/8511

16 September 2010


Dear Mr Moss,

Thank you for you letter of 17 August to Danny Alexander MP regarding passport fees. This has been passed to me for reply.

The current adult passport fee is £77.50. Price increases over the past ten years have been driven mainly by a number of service changes and other factors including: an increase in consular premiums; the introduction of ePassports; authentication by interview for first time passport applicants; secure delivery; a number of anti-fraud initiatives and forecast demand.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is required to generate enough income from passport fees to cover no more than the cost of issuing passports and providing support services such as our Adviceline, plus a contribution towards the cost of emergency consular assistance to British passport holders when travelling overseas.

Below is a breakdown of the elements that make up the adult passport fee for the past ten years:

May 1990
May 1995
May 2000
May 2005
June 2010
Application processing
FCO Consular Premium
Production & Personalisation of Book
Overhead / Administration

Prior to November 2002, costs were only split between direct passport production (application processing) and indirect overhead (administrative) costs. The proportion of the fee which is passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to fund the provision of consular services for British travellers overseas was formalised in 2002-03. Prior to this a surplus agreed with the Treasury was made and credited to the FCO. Prior to 2002-03 the cost of passport book production was included in application processing costs. Secure Delivery was introduced in 2003-04 and earlier distribution costs are included in application processing.

Whilst there are no current plans to make any changes to passport fees, we will review fees for different types of application when the fees for passports are next revised to ensure value for money.

The article that you refer to in your letter from the Number 10 website
(http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.number10.gov.uk/page10364) relates to early plans to issue a package of an identity card and a passport together: "Our current estimate is that a combined passport and ID card package will cost you together a unit cost of £93 per person. To put this in context the standard fee for the new ePassport is £66 today." The price estimate given was for the two documents, not solely a passport.

The integration of fingerprint data into the passport has been halted. At the same time we are determined that the passport, through its combination of physical and electronic security features, remains a highly secure and trusted document meeting rigorous international standards. That's why, from October this year, we are introducing a new internal design for the passport. The new design has improved physical security features which will help keep the passport secure. By ensuring that the passport remains a highly secure and trusted document it gives people the freedom to move around the world, often without the need for visas, together with speedier passage through border controls.

I hope you find this information useful.

Yours sincerely,

Al[a]stair Bridges
Executive Director


* Dated 16 September 2010, this letter was not received until 7 October 2010


* Alastair Bridges' name is "Alastair". On the letter received from IPS it was spelt "Alistair". This, from an organisation which includes the General Register Office, which specialises in identity and was producing a letter from an Executive Director.