Category Archives: Government & Legal

How Much Are Passports

A passport is the most official way of identification. You need this when you travel abroad or want to use certain official (government) services. The price of your passport will depend on what kind of passport you need (book, card, both), if you are a first time applicant or need a renewal, and how fast you need it.

Normally you would need a passport book. Alternatively, there is a passport card in a more portable size, which allows you to enter the U.S. from mexico and canada.

Typical Cost Of A Passport

A passport book costs $110 for adults and $95 for minors.

First time applicants pay a $25 execution fee.

A passport card costs $30 ($15 for minors).

If you renew, you dont have to pay the execution fee. If you buy the book and card together, you only pay the execution fee once.

Included In The Passport Cost

the application fee and the execution fee, or just the renewal fee.

Consider These Factors

If you get your passport at a Passport Agency or Center, you are required to use the expedited service ($60).

Have Passport, Will Travel
Photo by Hammock Inc.

Additional Costs

  • Normally a passport application should count on a maximum of 10 weeks processing time. If you are in a hurry, you can use the expedited service. This costs an extra $60.
  • If you cannot proof your citizenship, you need to pay an extra $150 for file searching. If you are abroad and lost your passport, you don’t need to pay this fee.
  • If you travel a lot and expect to need extra pages, you can ask for a passport with extra pages. This costs $82.
  • Sending a passport book to you by overnight delivery costs an extra $12-$15.

Tips Before You Order Your Passport

First time applications have to be done in person (passport agency, acceptance facility, or US embassy / consulate). Renewals can be done by mail.

You can pay in person by credit card, check or money order at a passport agency. However, acceptance facilities do not accept credit cards. Use checks, money orders, bank drafts, or cash.

If you order by mail (renewal), you can pay by check or money order.

How To Order A Passport

For first time applicants, use the DS 11 form.

For renewal, use the DS 82 form.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Star

There are a couple of websites where you can buy a star. However, it should be noted that you do not actually buy a star. You only buy a package with certificates and information on your star or stars in general. These sites are not licenced to actually name them, and the publishing is usually done in their own ‘books’ or ‘registry’. The only scientific institution that is authorized to name astronomical bodies is the International Astronomical Union. And no, you cannot buy a star there either.

Typical Cost Of Buying A Star

Most star buying sites have 3 to 5 packages, ranging from $15 to $160

Included In The Price Of A Star

Typically, you get a letter of congratulations and a certificate. Packages may include certificates, letters of congratulation, letter of condolances, symbolic items, such as a medallion, a booklet on stars, wallet cards, receipts,  etc.

Consider These Factors

the price depends on the type of paper, the size of the certificate, and other items that come with the package.

Tips Before You Buy Decide To Buy A Star

Again, as long as you realize that you dont actually buy a star, nor actually name a star officially, you may enjoy (giving) a star certificate. It is symbolic and may be a nice present or gesture towards those that value these kinds of presents.

Star Trails DV
Photo by satosphere

You can buy stars at:

http://www.starregistry.com/index.cfm
http://www.buyastar.net/
http://www.starnamer.org/

How Much Does it Cost To Change Your Name

There are a number of legal and valid reasons for anyone to seek a name change. Many people do it because they do not like their given name. Others do it because they just got married, or  got divorced. Some do it because they want to restore their original family name or they want to identify with their cultural roots. Many celebrities have also legally changed their names as a way to enhance their image. Many of these reasons are allowed under the law as long as the intent of the petitioner is not to use it for illegal or fraudulent purposes like avoiding the payment of a loan or committing an illegal act.

Typical Cost of a Name Change Filing Fee

  • A name change filing fee varies from state to state.

It can go as high as $401 if you are in Florida, or as low as $150 if you are in California.

  • In Minnesota, the fee is $322. Certified copies of the name change documents will cost you an additional $14 there. If you want a criminal record check, you will have to shell out an additional $10 – $20.
  • In Wisconsin the average cost for a name change is $165. A certified copy will cost you another $5.
  • In California, a name change costs $150. Certified copies are an additional $5.
  • In Texas, the cost ranges between $200 to $300 depending on the petitioner’s county.

change of address
Photo by mthoen

Consider These Factors

  • The cost of name change generally varies from state to state. However, it may also vary from county to county just like in Texas.
  • In some states, each reason for a name change may entail a different cost or procedure. In Alaska, for example, there is a separate procedure for adults and children. In the case of children, Alaskan state law requires parental consent.
  • In most states, a newly-married woman is not required to file a name change petition with the court. However, retrieval of relevant documents could entail some costs.
  • Also, a petitioner may be required to establish residency in a state or county before he can file a petition. Minnesota, for example, requires a minimum 6 months of residency.

Included in the Cost

The costs quoted above only refer to the filing fee and the relevant name change paperwork. In many states or counties the fee is non-refundable.

Additional Costs

  • As part of the process, you will be required to post an ad in the local newspaper for several days to announce your intention to legally change your name. This is to provide the public an opportunity to raise any objection, example, people whom you owe money may want to protest against your petition. Ad notices could mean additional expenses for you.
  • In some jurisdictions, a petitioner is only required to post an announcement in a public place – example, the bulletin board of the county courthouse.
  • A legal name change will also require you to make the corresponding changes in your driver’s license, social security card and passport. You should also get a new birth certificate to reflect your new name. In some cases, these changes will mean additional costs. A driver’s license name change costs anywhere from $4 to $22 depending on the State you are in.

Tips

  • Because name change laws and procedures vary widely from state to state and even county to county, it is wise to first approach or call your county courthouse to find out how much it will cost you exactly. Ask about the requirements, fees and process. Some states require your personal appearance, you should ask about this, too.
  • Some sites like http://www.namechangelaw.com/ and http://www.uslegalforms.com/changeofname/ provide free information on state and county-level laws, procedures, forms and fees. You may want to check the information provided by these sites. These sites also provide name change document preparation services for a fee. Talk with their customer support department and check with previous customers to get a feedback before you decide to engage their services.

 

References:

Florida Name Change fee: How Much Money Does It Cost to Change a Name?
http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/bccoc2/faqfamily.aspx
How To Change Your Name
http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Your-Name
Name Change Cost – Changing Name Legally
http://www.wise4living.com/lname/cost.htm
Name Change Law – Online resource on name change law, procedures and services
http://www.namechangelaw.com/
Read more: How Much Money Does It Cost to Change a Name?
http://www.ehow.com/about_5042964_much-money-cost-change-name_.html
U.S. Legal Forms – Online shop for legal forms and documents
http://www.uslegalforms.com/