US Passports in 2016: New Design and No Additional Pages

US passports are getting a makeover in 2016. The information page will be made of polycarbonate and contain an embedded info chip, according to Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary for passport services, reports the LA Times. She confirmed comments made to me earlier this year at the NYT Travel Show that it will not be possible to add additional pages to the new passport books. The LA Times continues:

But, Sprague said, “Nobody does [that] anymore. It is not state of the art; it is archaic.”

Well, I just did that a few weeks ago in New Delhi at an American Citizen Services office filled with other nobodies. The officers tried to convince every single person to spend more money and forfeit their passports for 2 weeks, while in a foreign country, to apply for new passports instead.

I understand the reasoning, though, as reader Seam M argued (note: I have not verified which countries do and do not issue additional pages):

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.

Pages will also be numbered, a minor addition it is claimed will help people keep track of remaining pages.

You will still be able to get the larger 52-page book at application for no additional cost over the standard 28-page book.

Back at the NYT Travel Show, Ms. Sprague hinted that second passports might have a validity longer than 2 years, but I have found no public announcement on that. I have a second passport, though it is effectively only useful for 18 months as many countries require 6 months’ validity in your passport for entry.

Why Get Extra Pages?

Extra pages used to be free. Now that they cost $82, the standard 24-page insert is per page most expensive than a new passport. BUT, many people do not know that you can request 2 sets of pages for the same price, thus cheaper than a new passport. Officers officially have the option to add up to 3 sets of pages to your passport, and a 4th under ’emergency circumstances.’ See 7 FAM 1300 APPENDIX V SUPPLEMENTAL VISA PAGE INSERTS, and print it out if you are going in to try for a 3rd or 4th. I consider the end of additional pages an emergency, though I doubt an officer will agree.

48 Additional Passport Pages

The process is much easier than a passport renewal, especially for those overseas. Typically, with an advance appointment, you can get additional pages same-day at any American Citizen Services around the world. Same-day passport renewals are only possible in the US at Regional Passport Agencies.

For those with long-term visas, many countries will allow you to bring the old, canceled passport and use the visa. Others will move the visa for you. For countries like Russia I do not like to rely on either when I am at a border post.

What Should You Do?

If you need extra pages, get them before 2016. Request 48 pages. Admire your beautiful, bulging passport. Here are my current main 52-page passport with 3 sets of additional pages and my second passport with 52-pages.

US Passports

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Pingbacks

  • AlohaDaveKennedy

    Hey, Brenda Sprague whose passports are you calling archaic? Mine has been refilled a couple times and works just fine, unlike your state-of-the-art government security at the White House or the e-mail system backups at the IRS!

  • I’ve got an archaic franken-passport as well and while it works just fine, it always gets a strange look when we pass through immigration abroad. You’d think they’d see them regularly!

  • Ted

    Not sure where reader Seam got his facts but I have a Taiwan passport and I just had pages added to mine, and was admitted into the USA with that passport.

  • anon

    intresting

  • linas

    went to apply for extra pages abroad, but ended up in getting a passport renewal for $110 instead. Temporary passport was ready in 1 day. Once back in NY, applied for a permanent passport at no fee and it was mailed to me in less than a week: applied Thu, received passport by mail Tue. Very happy with how it turned out.

  • Matteo

    Actually other countries off extra pages as well.
    Canada recently after most 3rd world countries introduced 10 year passport.
    I always get 10 years. 48 pages on all 3 of my passports
    No brainer.

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  • GUWonder

    Canada does not allow additional pages to be inserted in the Canadian passports, at least according to this:

    http://www.pptc.gc.ca/support/faq.aspx?lang=eng&id=q301

    Canada chose to expand the validity period but shrunk the defaul page count below what was previously the maximum allowed by it. And all that for an increased cost.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Ted – I should put in a proviso that I have not validated his comment for every country. I have heard of a number of countries that have stopped doing this over recent years but I doubt it is at all universal. One time in Dubai I saw a guy with I believe was a Lebanese passport that was several inches think, it was more the size of a sandwich than a passport.

  • Shannon

    Your passport looks like a thick bread too. I wonder how do you fit that in a passport holder? And could you ask boarding are to romve those ” more on this blog” on the right side. It is very annoying and remind me of bloody pop up ad.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – I don’t think I currently have the “more on this blog” on my blog and don’t see it now. I know Boarding Area is testing some different ads which they control and don’t always know in advance what is happening. I will investigate.

  • Shannon

    Try to read from your cell phone or I can send you a snapshot as a proof how bad it is.

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  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – thank you for sending, now I understad what is happening, a change made to the Boarding Area mobile template. I don’t have direct control over it but will register my disapproval.

  • Shannon

    but the problem is Lucky and Gary’s blogs will switch to mobile mode where template is easier to read on mobile devies but your blog is still in desktop mode so readers have to keep zoom in and zoom out , plus those search column, side cloumn make even more difficult to read.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Shannon – we are all being migrated at various times, it is very hard to bubble up to the top of the work queue with so many blogs coming online.

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  • Annmarie Budde

    Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank form DS-11?

  • Rapid Travel Chai
  • Michael Weaver

    Any tips on finding instructions and forms on how to apply for a second passport? I couldn’t find anything on the US State Department passport site. I’ve filled out a “renewal form” but I couldn’t see anywhere to indicate that I just want a second one for visa purposes. I called the local post office passport bureau and asked and they told me it is not possible yo get a second one. The told me even Obama couldn’t get a second one! I laughed. Any suggestions?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Michael Weaver – see here: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/94669.pdf. Declassified State Department guidelines lay it all out. If you can get to a Passport Agency, they can do it as fast as same-day, otherwise send it in trough the regular channels.

  • It’s interesting that you say the pages in the new version will be numbered as a new feature. How so? My 2007 passport and the new one I just got in January 2016 (still has 2015 design) all have numbered pages.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Scott Mackenzie – I have not seen one of the new designs yet, perhaps the reports meant that the numbering will be unique?