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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.
- 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.
- 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.”
I am curious for what 2015 brings to US passports!