2015 Changes to US Passports?

The US Department of State had a booth at the New York Times Travel Show and I got to chatting with their representatives about US passports.

Two developments potentially coming in 2015 are of interest to the frequent traveler.

  1. Additional pages will be phased out. Without going into specific on the new passport design, the representative said the new passports will not accommodate additional pages, and will be phased out entirely. Currently additional pages cost more per page than the 52-page passport book but are fast to obtain overseas and avoid having to move long-term visas to new passports. The representative said, “We’ve outgrown the need for them.” Curious to see what will replace because they are still lots of stamp-happy, page chomping countries out there.
  2. Second passports may get a longer term. Second passports are useful for frequent travelers dealing with countries where visa processing can be long and/or unpredictable, and for visiting countries that might object to prior visits to certain countries. These are not duplicates, though commonly called such, because they have a different passport number. The big downside is that these are limited to 2-year terms, which effectively are 18 months since many countries require six months’ validity on passports to allow entry. The representative would only say, “rumor has it that these may be extended.”

Second US Passport

I am curious for what 2015 brings to US passports!

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  • Joey

    That will be very interesting what will come in 2015. I currently have a 52 page passport that only has 6 unstamped pages remaining and thus will have to request for additional pages soon. I see from the photo you have 2 passports but have you added pages to your 52 page passport? If so, is it too ‘fat’? 😉

  • @Joey – I have added twice to my current. Officially they can add up to 3 times but it is up to the discretion of the officer as to the condition of the passport and ability to add pages. Last time I got pages was in San Jose, Costa Rica and the agent said it was my last set on that passport, but another might have a different take.

  • Joey

    Good to know! Thank you.

  • Great info, thanks! It would be good to see the 2nd passport’s life extended. You are right, that is way too short. Mine is up for renewal in January, but I have to travel on it this summer which makes things very tight.

  • Personally, I’d like to see the RFID chips go away

  • Al

    Has anyone ever tried to remove an entry/exit stamp with some chemical? I suppose when I visit Israel, I would want to get rid of Israeli stamps if I want to visit some Arab countries next.

  • Leonard

    This post is timely and I am having a challenge understanding the second passport. I need to send mine for a Chinese Visa, my last one just expired. I also have the added pages. The problem is I need one for India and I am told this takes up to 4 weeks and I need my passport for traveling over the next several months. I was told if I get a second passport I have to turn in my old one while using the new, none of this makes sense to me. Can someone direct me where I can get an education.

  • Way to think, Al. You sound like a true travel hacker.

  • Follow-up

    I bet there’s a website for that.

  • RJP

    I went Israel in December and they gave me a piece of paper instead of a stamp.

  • @Leonard – I went through the process last fall so happy to explain. I thought I had done a post on this but neglected to do so. The process is quite similar to getting a new or renewed passport. The regulations on passports are here, 7 FAM 1300 Passport Services, and Appendix R deals with second passports. The process does require you to submit your existing passport, plus the usual renewal requirements and a letter stating your need, templates of which can be found on the websites of many visa agents. When complete, the old and new passports are returned to you.

    If you live near a Regional Passport Agency they can do it as fast as same-day, mine was done in a few hours in NYC by paying the expedite fee. Otherwise, visa agents can do the service for you.

    India can issue up to 10-year tourist visas for US citizens, business visas of that length are more restricted. If possible, if your primary passport has several years left, put the India visa in there. You can transfer to a new passport but it is a hassle and I don’t know if they would issue 10 years on a 2-year passport. In 2013 Indian visa process moved from the highly regarded Travisa to the widely loathed BLS International Services, so expect the worst.

    China visas are typically 1-year at most for most situations, so put the visa in the new second passport.

  • @RJP – I have not been to Israel but I hear that is what they are doing now as standard practice, rather than previously on request.

  • Leonard

    Basically ,do you get to keep and carry both passports? What about global entry which is tied to your passport.

  • Sean M.

    The USA is the only country in the world that still issues additional pages to passport booklets, so phasing those out will just bring things in line with what the rest of the world does.

    Ironically, the USA was the reason why the rest of the world had to stop issuing additional pages as the US Government has refused to accept foreign passports with additional pages as valid for travel to the USA.

  • @Leonard – yes, you get to keep and carry both. I have my long-term visas in my main one and a second one I am using to conserve pages in my main one and for situations like you that I need to get multiple visas at the same time.

    For Global Entry you need to pop into an enrollment center, no appointment needed, for them to log in the second passport. I was suprised they could log both, but they said it is not issue and indeed I have not had any issue with either since.

    @Sean M – that is fascinating and, lamentably, unsurprising. Any other tidbits on US passports to share?

  • john

    hahaha that is so funny and typical. The way the additional pages are done makes them a joke. I thought they would rebind the passport with more pages in it. they just stick them in with a sticker… really!!!!? They dont even frigin line up right with the rest of the passport! It looks like I did it at home.
    I know someone who got the extra pages done and they did it so poorly they were crooked and you could not properly close the passport. The guy traveled on it and had trouble getting into countries with it because it was such a joke (I am sure the US would have refused entry) so he ended up getting a new one anyway.

  • Leonard

    Thank You This is helpful.

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