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I decided not to renew my passport before starting this trip because passports are very expensive in comparison to my income and my low travel budget.

But when asking people I find their passports in other countries are much more affordable than in my country. Typically Australian passports are in the range of roughly double the price friends have to pay in other developed countries or other western countries.

  • Ordinary adult passport:
    AUD $238 (USD $212; EUR 161)

  • Adult frequent traveller with more pages:
    AUD $358 (USD $320; EUR 243)

Is this a rip-off? Are most passports in "rich" countries so expensive or are they roughly half the price as the impression I have so far?


It's true I overlooked passport validity. That's the most important thing I've learned with this question. Assuming all passports have the same number of "visa pages" I should instead ask what the "price per year or decade of validity" is.

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Data point, but not a complete answer: USA is $110, extra pages are offered on an as-needed basis for $82. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Sep 2 '13 at 4:21
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One point in Australia's defence: that price still gets you a 10-year passport, when many Western countries (eg. most if not all of the EU) have switched to only issuing 5-year passports. –  jpatokal Sep 2 '13 at 4:52
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The prices are always interesting. I see no rational reason for trains to be 4-times more expensive in Germany as compared to Poland, and even less for mobile Internet being about 5-times more expensive than in Austria. The fees for doing anything in public office are mostly dependent on how much public officers earn. –  Łukasz 웃 L ツ Sep 2 '13 at 7:46
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One person's "secure" is another person's "invasive surveillance". –  hippietrail Sep 2 '13 at 8:21
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@jpatokal: AFAIK, only 5-year validity passports issued in EU are the ones issued to kids <13 years. Adult biometric passports have 10-year validity (I know first hand that's it's the case for Italy, Poland and Spain). –  vartec Sep 2 '13 at 10:09
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2 Answers

First, consider the value - it's a biometric, secure, popular passport. It requires fewer visas than some other countries, and so the price isn't the only consideration here.

However, let's look at other countries using biometric passports, and their costs, using some of your list from the comments:

  • USA - $110 (According to LessPop_MoreFizz) (EUR 83)
  • NZ - $144 and up, depending on urgency. (USD 112; EUR 85)
  • South Korea - US$55.00. (EUR 41)
  • Switzerland - CHF140. (USD 150; EUR 114)
  • Netherlands - 49.33 Euros. (USD 65)
  • UK - 77.50 quid. (USD 120.50; EUR 91)
  • France - 89 Euros. (USD 117.50)

so comparatively, much of a muchness, although EU ones do seem to be a bit less.

As a New Zealander, a bigger issue is the length of validity - ours are only 5 years, which in some places means 4.5 years as you need 6 months left on your passport to enter certain countries. We used to have 10 years, and there is quite a public drive to bring back the 10 year validity period.

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@jpatokal er, UK ones are 10 years. –  Mark Mayo Sep 2 '13 at 5:00
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It's worth noting that the cheapest on the list, Netherlands, only has a 5-year validity. And I stand corrected, apparently there are still plenty of EU countries where you can get 10y passports. (Not including mine. Sigh.) –  jpatokal Sep 2 '13 at 5:03
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You assume biometric passports are a universal win. I know I'm not alone in hating them. They most certainly are not secure. Shortly after they were introduced some journalists tested one by hacking the data with Osama Bin Laden's likeness and had no problem using it! (theguardian.com/technology/2008/aug/06/news.terrorism) –  hippietrail Sep 2 '13 at 6:48
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"it's a biometric, secure, popular passport" - it doesn't explain the price. Production costs are tiny in comparison to final costs, and it's about most of the products. –  Łukasz 웃 L ツ Sep 2 '13 at 7:43
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Luxembourg passports seem to be extremely good value, it's only 30 € for 5 years and Luxembourg is not a cheap country. –  Annoyed Oct 12 '13 at 23:05
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The passports in Sweden are only 350kr, that equates to approximately 60 AUD. Even with the 5 year validity coming into question, doubling the cost it is still half the price. I couldn't believe how cheap the Swedish passports were when I checked - having recently paid for a new Australian one, I feel somewhat ripped off!

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