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.
- 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.