Is the British passport now the world's most expensive? It's not even close

Hugh Morris
The cost of renewing the British passport has gone up - but it's still relatively good value - EPA

The cost of obtaining a British passport will rise at the end of March, with the fee for adults increasing to as much as £85 – or £177 for those who need their travel document urgently.

Yet the expense pales in comparison to those incurred in some other countries around the world.

In the UK, if the Home Office’s proposals are agreed by parliament, the charge for an online passport application will rise from £72.50 to £75.50, while postal applications will increase from £72.50 to £85. The cost of a child’s travel document will rise from £46.50 to £58.50 online and from £46 to £49 by post.

But the adult postal sum of £85 actually ranks among the world’s more affordable charges. 

In Australia, for example, the cost of acquiring a passport stretches to AU$282 (up from AU$277 as of January 1), equating to around £158 and making it one of the most expensive passports in the world.

At a glance | The cost of the world's passports

Next, according to the New Daily, who conducted the research amid reports of the Australian government of using passports as a “cash cow”, was Turkey, where a passport will set a citizen back the equivalent of £142.89. The Turkish travel document has long been renowned as one of the most costly.

The nation in third, Switzerland, is perhaps less surprising – it is widely regarded as being expensive for just about everything. It costs the Swiss almost £102 to get their hands on a new passport.

A number of other countries come before we reach the UK, including New Zealand (£94), Canada (£90) and the US (£86.60).

Anyone after a Singaporean travel document is in for a bargain, with a national passport costing just £44.

Everything you need to know about | Passports

Remarkably, war-torn Syria is also reckoned to have one of the world’s most expensive passports, with the cost of renewing one $400 (£287) – or $800 (£573.90) when urgently required.

At the other end of the spectrum, a Tunisian travel document can be obtained for just $20 (£14.35).

What about the most powerful?

What good is an expensive passport if it doesn’t open doors? Each year Henley & Partners, a citizenship and planning firm, ranks nations according to how many countries their residents can visit without applying for a visa

Syrian citizens can only visit 28, making that £287 look particularly poor value. 

At a glance | The world's least powerful passports

The UK topped the 2015 rankings, alongside Germany, but ceded that spot after several countries relaxed travel restrictions to the latter. It was leapfrogged by Sweden in 2016, and then Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and the US in 2017, but now sits in third alongside Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Japan and Norway. 

At a glance | The world's most powerful passports

The past year has seen Belarus offer British citizens visa-free entry, Kazakhstan and Vietnam renew their visa-free arrangements with the UK, and Ethiopia offer a new e-visa option, helping boost the UK's overall position.