Did I just make another huge mistake?

Man, I’m having a rough week. As if my last mistake wasn’t bad enough, I think I may have made another one. While trying to distract myself from studying for mid-terms for a moment, I decided to take a look at my passport, only to realize I only have one blank box left, in addition to the “Amendments and Endorsement” pages in the back. I plan on entering Canada, Hong Kong, and the Philippines during this trip. My plan was to schedule an appointment at either the Hong Kong┬áor Manila Embassy to add pages to my passport, since I hear it’s pretty painless internationally. The question is, can they either stamp between the boxes or on the last three pages of the passport in the meantime, or am I in trouble?

I’ve tried searching this online, but I haven’t been able to find anything definitive.

Comments

  1. Oh, yeah – don’t worry at all. It’s really only for full-on visas that you need to worry about having full blank pages. Most of the time, it seems the immigration officers simply find the first remotely blank looking spot, and plunk the stamp down there. My passport is full of stamps between the boxes. Even the US stamps between the boxes, and in the middle of the page ­čśë

    Don’t worry at all.

  2. Whewwwwwwwww! Either way, an appointment has been made in HK to get pages added. That’s a relief, though. Thanks!

  3. Passport control officers are not supposed to stamp on the amendments and endorsements page, since those pages are those pages are reserved for use by the issuing passport authority. (That rule didn’t stop a couple of officers in Central Europe that I encountered, however.)

    As for the other pages, there is no requirement that officers stamp within the lines. I’ve encountered officers across the world who grew tired of flipping through the 48 pages of my passport in search of an open box and simply found the first available real estate they could, even if their stamp ended up overlapping three others. I have had a Canadian officer stamp on the top part of a passport page, where the page number appears, so I know they aren’t too anal about it (at least officially). I won’t need to get one until next year, but I believe that the new biometric US passports don’t even have prescribed boxes in which to place passport stamps, meaning that the boxes clearly aren’t some kind of international requirement.

    I guess I can’t say for sure, but from my personal experience, I doubt you’ll have any problems. They might make some snide comment about how your passport is chock full, but I can’t imagine you’ll be denied entry on those grounds. I would advise you, however, to get new pages inserted at your first international destination, just to avoid potential hassle as your passport grows more and more colorful.

    (To further assuage your fears, Canada does not use exit stamps, so if you get the insert in Hong Kong, you’ll only need to go through passport control with every box filled at most one time.)

  4. Lucky – great news — you can get passport inserts for your US passport at the American Embassy in Hong Kong. It’s a short cab ride from any hotel on the mainland side. My wife had to get inserts when the Cathay Pacific rep told her she couldn’t make her flight back in Sep because she didn’t have enough blank pages to fly to Indonesia.

    It took us 30-40 min, and was painless.

  5. Take a look at your dad’s passport. You won’t find any lines/boxes in his German passport. Immigration officers don’t need them.

  6. I do not believe any of the countries you are traveling to have a requirement of blank space in your passport.

    That said, if it were me I would make an appointment at the Miami regional office, and drive on down to Miami with your dad…

    http://travel.state.gov/passport/fri/schedule/schedule_852.html

    I’d hate to anger an immigration officer having a bad day over not knowing where to place his stamp, and giving you a hassle because of it.

  7. Thanks for all the info, folks. It’s greatly appreciated. I went ahead and made an appointment in HK for Monday, when I arrive. ­čÖé

    Gary — I wish I could, but I won’t be home until Friday, so that won’t work for me.

    LAXflyer — yes, I have a US passport.

  8. Making the appointment is a smart move – in general, you’re fine without adding pages, but better to be safe. But we had a similar situation in Cambodia, and we had a 2 hour disagreement about whether they could stamp those pages (they eventually did, only after I frantically searched my Lonely Planet to see if they were just trying to get a bribe, or if they would kill me if I offered a bribe).

    Have a great trip…

  9. I added pages in Rome earlier this year. Took all of 30 minutes, but save yourself some time by printing the form from the State.gov website and filling it out ahead of time. Don’t forget to go to the consulate side of the embassy.

  10. I added pages to my U.S. passport in HK in June. The U.S. Embassy was near the Peak tram. With an appointment, the process took 20 minutes with no fee. Gotta love HK.

  11. I find going to a US Embassy an interesting experience. I’ve gone to Bangkok and Amsterdam for page additions. The longest part of the process seems to be getting through security checkpoints.

  12. I just ran into a similar problem this week and “just showed up” at the American consulate in SYD on Friday. They handled me immediately and I was out in ten minutes with a new section stitched into my passport.

    As others have mentioned, if your passport is full the immigration officers will stamp between the lines, but it should be very easy process to get the pages added in HK.

    I am looking forward to your trip report!

  13. Smart trying to do it internationally. Here in Chicago you have to make an appointment and pay something like $150 (the same as the expedite fee) to have pages added. The process sucks, you show up for your appointment, wait in a line for an hour, hand your stuff over, then wait another 3 days, do the hour-long line again, and finally get it back.

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