Passports to cost less on the web

New Zealand citizens would pay less for online renewal of their passports under a new scheme that became effective on November 2.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said that the cost of renewing an adult passport would drop by $28 for those using the ministry’s web-based service.

“Using the Passport Online Renewal Service is a much more convenient way to renew an adult passport. New Zealanders can visit from anywhere in the world, our website (www.passports.govt.nz) and follow the set procedures,” he said.

Mr Tremain said that the Government was committed to returning savings to passport holders and providing better services at lower cost.

“Our goal is that by 2017, New Zealanders would be able to complete 70% of most common transactions with the Government online,” he said.

The cost of an adult passport dropped from $153.30 to $140 (printed from of adult first-time application). The printed form version of adult passport renewal would cost $134.50, while online renewal would be at $124.50.

Mr Tremain said that the online renewal service would be available to New Zealand citizens aged 16 years or above and that children below 16 years of age, first-time applicants, applicants who have changed their name since their last passport, and applicants who have an endorsement (e.g. for headdress) on their passport must continue to complete the paper forms.

Reducing cost

“The cost of an online application is less because of lower processing costs and to encourage uptake of the Passport Online Renewal Service. Paper-based renewal application processing costs are lower than those for first time applicants,” Mr Tremain said.

But there would be no changes in regulated fees for applicants who apply to the Department’s Sydney or London passports offices.

The amount paid will change as the Department has updated the exchange rate between Australia and New Zealand and Great Britain and New Zealand. Applicants who are eligible have the choice to submit their application using the Passport Online Renewal Service from anywhere in the world and pay the reduced New Zealand dollar online fee for adult renewal passports,” he said.

Applicants can also send their paper applications directly to New Zealand and pay the reduced New Zealand dollar fees for adult passports, he added.

The Government changed the validity of adult passports from ten years to five years some time ago.

The reduced validity period has led to an increased volume of renewals, leading to a growing surplus, warranting a reduction in the fee.

Possible refunds

“The Government is committed to returning this surplus and future savings to passport holders and providing even better public services at lower cost. The cost of the New Zealand passport is funded by the people that get one on a cost-recovery basis. The money is not used for other purposes by the Government,” Mr Tremain said.

While applications processed and completed prior to November 2, 2102 will not be entitled for refunds, but the Government will refund of the differential amount to citizens whose applications are in transit and to those who had paid the previous fee, unaware of the changes effected.

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