Last Call for US Passport Additional Pages and My Mega Passport Renewal Fail

December 31, 2015 is the final day to submit applications for US Passport Additional Pages. After that, old and new passports alike will not be able to add pages.

There are many purported reasons about the elimination of additional pages ranging from increased security to reciprocity for years of US bullying of other nations by not putting visas in amended passports. A recent One Mile at a Time post bandies these about in the comments. One claims that the deadline for mail-in applications is past, though I cannot find official substantiation.

You can either submit by mail, in-person at an overseas US embassy or consulate or at a US Passport Agency.

A passport agency dings you for a $60 expedite fee in additional to the $82 fee for the pages. They try to scare you into booking an appointment that may not be available several weeks out, but you can always walk in and it might even be faster than dealing with the phone appointment system.

Follow the process here.

Some notes:

  • Passport agencies used to commonly process passport and pages same-day. With increased volumes they are now typically doing next day unless you have a flight departing next day. So have a flight reservation for next day departure (you can book, print, then cancel, from a source that has 24-hour risk-free cancellation).
  • You can add 2 sets of 24 pages at once for the same $82 fee as 1 set. Tick the appropriate box on the form. Cost-wise, getting only 24 pages for $82 doesn’t make sense compared to 52 pages for $110 in a new passport.
  • Technically a passport, whether originally 28 or 52-pages, can have up to 3 additional sets of 24-pages. In recent years it has gotten much harder to convince officers to add that 3rd set as they come up with various excuses such as condition of the passport to reject it. Generally you will do best at an embassy or consulate.
  • If you do not get new pages and later get a new passport, valid visas in the old passport can still be used, in most countries, provided both the canceled passport and current valid passport are presented to immigration.

My Mega Passport Renewal Fail:

Last week, ahead of departing for Canada for the rest of the year, I went to the US Passport Agency in New York.

My current passport is good till early 2019, though even with 3 additional sets of pages, is down to about 9 empty pages. I wanted to replicate what Jason did in Washington, DC in 2012: get a 100-page new passport.

I had the form for new passport as well as additional pages. At reception there was some confusion and discussion with a manager about if I would be charged two $60 expedite fees or one. A phone call was made and I was told it would be one.

Upstairs, after a lengthy wait despite my first slot in the morning appointment, the first agent didn’t understand at all what I wanted, ignored the second form and started to only process an application for a new passport.

Clearing that up, first he said it couldn’t be done, then he said I would have pay two $60 expedite fees. I requested a supervisor.

The supervisor was clueless, claiming his supervisor said no extra pages at all can be added to a 52-page passport despite holding my example in his hand. So I requested his supervisor.

She eventually came and gave me a “what do you want look?” in lieu of a hello. We went back and forth and all three of them finally agreed they could do it, but not only would they charge two $60 expedite fees, but since my flight was not for 3 days, they would make me come back the next day to pick up the new passport without additional pages. Then submit the new passport for the two additional pages and come back a third day for final pick up. “These are two separate items…we can’t add pages to a passport that doesn’t exist,” etc.

No thanks I said and left empty-handed having wasted my morning. With the two $60 fees the math did not justify jettisoning a passport I may be able to milk another 6 or so months. Then I will get another 52-pager. I will miss having a massive passport to stoke my ego. Long ago as an expat I learned that the interests of US citizens traveling and living abroad is the lowest priority of the State Department, who seem to feel taxpayers are a nuisance compared to the weighty geopolitical issues they feel are their rightful domain.

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  • Bzrorg

    i have 52 pages in my passport and am going through them quite quickly. How many empty pages do you have to have left to get more pages? I am going to London and was a planning on getting pages at the embassy there- do I need to make an appointment ?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Bzrorg – you can do it with any number of pages left, make sure to get two sets (48 pages), each embassy runs their own program, most likely London is appointment only and limited hours, some embassies only do American Citizen Services a few hours a day or a few days a week, London may be more since it must have lots of traffic.

  • TCCQuest

    Ever get grief at borders with the fat books? I got two extra page sets added, multiple entry China Visa was applied to expansion pack. First entry into China, lots of examining, over to supervisor desk at PVG, 3 supervisors flipping back and forth under black light. Weekend in Taiwan, coming back in: “Second time in China?” “Yes”. Examine tape edges of expansion with a loupe, examine passport with loupe. Back and forth with supervisor in Chinese. “Sure” ::hand over drivers license:: Back and forth to nearby supervisor. Stamp, stamp, “welcome”.

    Wondering how much more of this is in store.

  • TCCQuest

    EDIT: Examine tape edges of expansion with a loupe, examine passport with loupe. Back and forth with supervisor in Chinese. “”Do you have another form of ID?” “Sure” ::hand over drivers license::

  • bzrorg

    Thanks! I thought i read, if you add pages to the passport at an embassy overseas it was free? Am i mistaken?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @bzrorg – several years ago a uniform $82 fee for the pages was imposed. At an embassy you will not pay the additional $60 expedite fee that domestic US passport agencies charge.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @TCCQuest – occasionally a bit more of a look, though not had issues in China on my many visits. I like China they they are especially willing to stamp where I ask, even stamping over others, to save pages. My main issues is the pulling and stretching causes issues with scanners for the main page. At the Angolan Consulate they couldn’t get it to scan and eventually made a photocopy and scanned that!

  • Baltic Traveler

    In fairness I was detained at the Russian-Latvian border for a few hours (getting kicked off an overnight train) because the Russians didn’t believe me that the US just affixes new pages with *tape*, and accused me of modifying it myself. Had problems entering Schengen at times with my 100-pager as well. It’s a nice souvenir bu honestly glad to be done with it–just picked up my new 52-pager at the embassy last week and it’s been a breeze ever since.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Baltic Travleer – I kind of enjoy those moments, in retrospect.

  • Shannonn

    You are so stubborn but so cute at the same time

  • sam

    I spent 3 hrs at local agency here in Chicago after making an appointment and when I picked up, I checked, they removed 5 extra pages that I had and actually just added total of 30 new pages.

    I selected 48 pages to be added. What went wrong? My passport when I first applied 2 yrs ago was the thinner one with around 20 pages.

    I paid $142 for $30 new pages and if i deduct 5 pages I had, I actually paid $142 for 25 new pages.

    Not good!

  • john

    Yes, the state department sucks. I went to a passport agency and asked for a 52 page passport. I somehow ended up with a 24 page passport!?!
    And yea taping in additional pages is totally amateur hour and a double standard since there is no way the US would allow a foreigner in with that. Its good its going away and just too bad they like to issue 24 page passports still!