Henrico passport fair draws hundreds

By: Yvette Yeon - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - It could be folks in the metro area have big plans for summer vacation.

Or maybe they're just hoping to avoid a passport price hike that's in the works.

Either way, hundreds lined up to apply for or renew their passports Saturday.

There were folks in as early as 7:00 in the morning at the Henrico post office on E. Parham Road.

Dozens waiting in line starting at the front door all the way into the parking lot.

The Thompson family got here at 7:45 a.m. and finally got out at 10:15 when we caught up with them.

"We had planned to get here at 7:00 a.m.," said Darlene Thompson. "The one's that got here at 7:00 were out by 8:30."

While the Thompson's were lucky others knew you normally can't apply for a passport without an appointment at the post office.

Saturday was an exception.

The state offered walk up service for those wanting to get their books renewed or apply for a new one before the fees increase up to $35 as early as April 1st.

"In this economy you try to save every where you can," said Doreen Nateale. "Today is my only day I can do it so I took advantage of it."

Darlene not only saved $35 dollar for her daughters passport, she even skipped out on the $15 photo fee.

"She had already taken her passport pictures Friday at Walgreens for $5.99 which saved us some money," she said.

Once inside, the Thompson's said the process was quick and painless.

The current cost for a new passport is $100 for anyone over 16.

That cost could jump to $135.

For children it's currently $85 jumping to $105.

According to the state department's website, the exact date for the fee increase has not yet been set but it could be as early as April.

The price hike will pay for new technologies and to cover the costs of fraud prevention upgrades.

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