Memorandum by the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office
1998 (S.I. 1998/257)
1. The Committee has raised the
following point on the above instrument:
Given that the purpose
of this Order is to increase passport fees with a view to achieving
full cost recovery for consular services, explain (in relation
to item 12 of Part II of the Schedule) why it costs less to provide
a passport for a person under the age of 16 years than for a person
over that age.
2. Overall income from passport
fees, received by UK Passport Agency and Foreign Office Consulates,
needs firstly to recover the costs of producing and distributing
the documents at home and abroad. It also needs to recover the
costs to the Foreign Office of providing nonfee bearing
consular protection services to British Nationals abroad (around
£28 million per annum), such services being the entitlement
of a passport holder.
3. The fee for providing a passport
to a person aged under 16 has been set to recover the home and
foreign costs of producing and distributing the passport document.
It does not, however, contribute any income towards the recovery
of nonfee bearing consular protection service costs. The
assumption has been made that, in all cases where such services
are required, it is the parent or adult who obtains the services
from the Foreign Office.
4. Hence the total costs of these
nonfee bearing services have been allocated to adult passports,
resulting in the significantly higher price. Whilst cost recovery
per passport service is the main principle, this approach enables
the achievement of a secondary objective of levelling out the
10 year fee for a passport. Passports for persons aged under
16 are only valid for 5 years, to minimise the risk of appearance
changing significantly from the passport photograph. Hence 2
passports per child need to be purchased to provide the 10 year
coverage given for an adult's passport. The fee structure set
up allows for this to be done at almost the same price as that
for an adult's passport.
5. Previously the full adult fee
was charged for a child's passport limited to 5 years, and provision
was given for a free renewal after 5 years to take the validity
period up to 10 years. This structure overrecovered costs
on the first application and underrecovered costs on the
second. The erratic volumes of the free renewals between years
caused problems for over or underrecovery of the full passport
service costs, and this experience was part of the motivation
behind the revised fee structure.
6th March 1998