My family and I love to travel. It’s one of our favorite activities, as we love to visit new places. If you’re like us, you know how travel expenses add up quickly, especially with a growing family.
If international travel is something you enjoy, photo IDs are a requirement. While seemingly a minor expense, finding ways to get cheap passport photos will help you save money on travel.
Passports aren’t cheap. Regardless if you need a new travel authorization or must renew, they cost up to $130 ($100 for those under 16). There are also other fees to keep in mind.
For a family wanting to cut costs on vacation, that extra expense can hurt.
Passport pictures aren’t terribly expensive, but there are some easy ways to reduce costs. If you’ve never secured a passport before, you may have a few questions about the process, such as:
- Where can I get a passport near me?
- What do I need to do to print my pictures at home?
- Where can I get a photo taken near me?
This post answers all of those questions and covers the best ways to save money.
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Cheap Places to Get Cheap Passport Photos Near Me
You have numerous choices to print a passport picture at a retailer for a small fee. Many, but not all, locations also allow you to take your photo there to do everything at once.
If a retailer offers that, prepare to pay a nominal fee, typically under $0.50 to take the photo.
Here are the cheapest places to get a photo.
Walmart is an excellent choice to print your photo in under an hour. You can also have your photos shipped to you.
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You can upload your picture at one of their photo centers in the store or go directly online. The costs will vary, but the online prints were $7.44 when I checked.
This makes the retailer one of the cheapest places for passport photos.
You likely live near a Walgreens, and if you do, it’s a terrific choice to get your photos. The retailer will have it ready in an hour or less.
Walgreens automatically prints on glossy photo paper, so you won’t have any problems with the quality when submitting the picture to get your passport.
Walgreens charges $14.99 for passport photos.
CVS is one of the more expensive options. However you can still get two photos for just $14.99. CVS also has coupons from time to time, and you can save a few dollars if you wait for the deals.
The cool thing about CVS is that they use a KODAK Biometric ID Photo System. The system automatically verifies that the photos you take will meet all requirements for passport photos in the United States.
Target is another slightly expensive option at $12.99 per photo, but they occasionally have coupons.
They can also print your photo if you took it yourself and ship it directly to you. Target gives you two pictures on one sheet, and it’s up to you to cut them to send one in with your application.
Do you want to print your passport photo at home? If so, idPhoto4You is an excellent choice. The site lets you create and crop a photo easily and for free.
You will still need a printer if you choose to go this route. However, you’ll be able to make sure that your picture fits all of the criteria so that it doesn’t get rejected.
If you decide to take the photo yourself, you can use the website and have your passport completed for free.
6. Post Office
Did you know that you could go to your local post office to print your photograph? They even offer step by step help if you’re getting a new passport.
To use this option, you’ll need to schedule an appointment, but it is a great way to get help if you aren’t sure where to start.
Getting your photo through USPS costs $15, so this is one of the more expensive options.
However, if you need a passport quickly, some post office locations can process your application to expedite the process.
7. UPS Store
The UPS Store is another fantastic choice to get your photo taken and printed. You need to schedule an appointment, but many locations offer the services.
They also offer guaranteed on-time delivery, even if you’re getting your passport a bit late. It costs $11.99 to take and print a passport picture at a UPS Store.
Using the UPS Store can also be helpful if you need to ship or receive an item next day. Read our guide on the top cheap overnight shipping options to see how pricing compares to FedEx and USPS.
With FedEx, you can print your own picture, or have them take it and print it for you. If you choose to bring your own photo, it will cost a little under $1.
If you need your photo taken at FedEX two photos will run you $14.99. However, FedEx does offer a $2 off coupon on their website to save on costs.
AAA is the final choice to get cheap passport photos. Pricing varies based on the type of AAA membership you have.
If you’re a Classic Member, expect to pay $8 for two pictures. If you’re a Plus Member, you receive two free sets of photos, including for your children.
Finally, if you’re a Premier Member all pictures are free.
Not a AAA member? You can still receive prints, for $12 per set of two.
Read our guide on the AAA memberhship discounts to identify if the benefits make it worth joining.
How to Print Photos at Home
The best way to save money on passport photos is to take them and print them at home. It’s not that difficult; you simply need to follow a few rules when taking your picture.
You need to do the following when taking a passport picture and printing it at home, according to The State Department:
- The photo must be two inches by two inches
- Have your head between one to one and three-eighths inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
- Your eye height is between one and one eighths to one and three-eighths inches from the bottom of the photo
- Submit a color photo that has been taken in the last six months.
- Have a neutral facial expression or natural smile.
- Be in regular clothes. You cannot wear a uniform, camouflage, or sunglasses.
- Not have a hat or head covering (unless for religious purposes). If you do have to wear one for religious reasons, you’ll need to submit a signed statement.
- Use a plain white or off-white background.
- Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper. The photo must be clear and have no holes or creases.
If you can follow all of these rules and have a decent printer, you can easily take and print your own photo. I discuss a service that allows you to do so later in the post.
If you choose to go to a store to print your photograph, most make it easy to print directly in the store. They take the picture for you, print it off, and you’re ready to mail your application.
There are a few fees associated with getting a passport. Based on your age, if it’s new or a renewal, and how fast you need it, these fees can change.
Here is a quick list of passport fees:
Adult First-Time Applicants (16 and Older)
- Book application fee $130, plus an acceptance fee of $35
- Card application fee $30, plus an acceptance fee of $35
- Book and card $160, plus an acceptance fee of $35
Adult Renewal Applicants (16 and Older)
- Book application fee $130
- Card application fee $35
- Book and card $160
Child Applicants (Under 16)
- Book application fee $100, plus an acceptance fee of $35
- Card application fee $30, plus an acceptance fee of $35
- Book and card $115, plus an acceptance fee of $35
- Name change prices will vary
- Correcting data error is at no charge
- Expedited service is $60
- One to two day delivery service is $17.13
If you’re paying by mail, all payments must come via a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of State.”
If you don’t know where to buy a money order, read our guide on where money orders near you to learn your top choices.
The acceptance fee is payable at some Passport Acceptance Facility locations with a credit card, but a surcharge may apply.
If you’re paying at a Passport Agency, you can pay via credit card, check, money order, debit card, or cash (although it must be exact).
Passports are expensive, but thankfully there are ways to save money on photos.
If you’re looking for an affordable and low-cost solution for your pictures, these options are simple to use. You can either take your own photo and print it at home or get your photo taken and printed at one of the options above.
Just remember that no matter which route you choose, give yourself enough time to get your passport paperwork submitted.
It can take up to 12 weeks to get your passport (or sometimes even longer, depending on the time of year).
Don’t catch yourself traveling without one. These places make it too easy to get it all done.
What are some of your favorite ways to save money on travel?
Kim Suazo has been a freelance writer and business owner for over four years. When she's not writing for Frugal Rules, you can find her on other publications like Chime, Discovery, and Due. She also owns her own websites The Entrepremomer and Part-Time Profit, where she teaches overworked moms how to streamline their new businesses so they can scale without a team.