Last Chance For Extra US Passport Pages

Have you looked at the back of your passport lately? Beginning January 1, 2016 the State Department will no longer amend passports to add extra pages, so if you’re running out of space, you only have until the end of this month to request additional passport pages.

Why would you need more pages?

It depends on your travel patterns. If you’re traveling to countries that have eGates or small stamps, this might not be an issue. Most countries require a certain number of blank pages in order to cross their borders — in most cases this is one, but others (like Singapore and Norway) require multiple empty pages.

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Thanks Cambodia, for taking up an entire page!

So you’ll want to check your passport validity against your future travel plans. If you often travel to multiple countries on a single trip, you may not have enough pages.

What is the process to add pages?

There are three ways, effectively. If you’re outside the US, you can make an appointment at any US Embassy to have additional pages added. I had extra pages added at the Rome Embassy (not recommended), and Travis added pages to his son’s passport at the Singapore Embassy (highly recommended).

If you’re in the US, you can make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency. Both Ben and my husband used this method, and the process is simple:

  • Call the National Passport Information Center 24/7 at 1-877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment
  • Drop off your passport, along with the application materials and fees
  • Return to pick up your passport later that day, or at whatever time is designated by the agent

It is worth noting that in order to make an appointment at one of the local passport agencies, you have to show proof of immediate travel. In my experience, even a hold on an award ticket works just fine.

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If you can stand to be without your passport for a few weeks, you can also submit your application by mail. Given the timing involved here I’m not sure I’d go with this option, personally. If you don’t have time to run around to passport agencies, you may want to consider using a service to handle the legwork for you.

What is the cost to add passport pages?

It ain’t cheap. While you used to be able to add passport pages for no additional fee at an Embassy, the cost now is basically the same as renewing your passport.

My husband added pages to his passport a few weeks ago, and between the actual application cost and the expedite fees he paid $170 to do so.

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Honorable mention to Egypt for their gigantic visa, but at least they stamped on the same page

Given that, I’d only add pages if you go through them quickly, like we do, and/or have more than five years of validity remaining on your passport.

Otherwise it makes more sense to just renew, making sure to request the larger 52-page book. If you don’t need expedited service, the renewal fee is $110, so there’s quite a cost difference there.

Bottom line

If you travel frequently enough to risk running out of pages, you’ve probably already thought of adding more before the deadline.

There’s certainly a balance given the cost to add pages nowadays, and my guess is that most people are going to be better off renewing versus adding pages, but I wanted to remind everyone just in case.

Have you added pages to your passport recently? How was your experience?

Comments

  1. @Jon – It’s great that everyone’s getting the word out, but this has been talked about since early this spring (pointsguy posted in March) and there was a flurry of posts a few weeks ago, so I’m not sure anyone can claim credit for recent posts…

  2. Expedited process by mail is pretty quick! I had a 2 week window between international trips to send out my passport and receive it back and it took about a week.

  3. I had mine done while I was in Dubai on vacation. It’s super easy all you have to do is set up an appointment, make sure to bring your filled out paperwork and pay the money and then it’s just a game of waiting the hour or so until they give it back. They take your phone and the tv shows an ad for the u.s. so bring something to read if you get bored easily. P.s you can request two additions to be added for the same price so that’s what I did to make sure I had plenty of room.

  4. Incidentally just got my extra pages back yesterday. I think it cost $80 and took about 3 weeks get back. No pain.

  5. I applied for US passport just 2 yrs ago and issued in 2013 and it is the thin book that has only about 17 pages?

    I have used this for 5 countries already and I now have just 4 pages left, very bad.

    Since I have more than 6 yrs on this, should I just add new pages? I like to keep records of visa and stamps on my passport.

    I have alreayd made appointment over the phone but it is still 5 days away.

    What’s the max number of pages I can add?

    Thanks

  6. Does anyone know why these changes are implemented? I live overseas and adding pages is a nearly annual exercise. It’s a huge pain in the backside for expats now we’ll have to get a new passport every year or two. Been dreading this change ever since they announced it last year. What’s the logic here?

    And fyi it is probably better to do this out of the country if travels allow. Any US embassy or consulate offers the service for less than $100 and it’s done usually in 30-60 minutes.

  7. @ Bob Trial — I heard it has something to do with reciprocity agreements? Apparently the US stopped accepting passports from other countries where the original document had been amended, so maybe that has something to do with it?

    And agree about going to the nearby embassy. Unless that embassy happens to be in Rome!

  8. Thx Tiffany. This totally sucks. With a 10 year China visa, in the later half of that validity I will literally need to bring 3-4 passports with me. I’ve seen chinese immigration demand continuity in the event a visa is contained within an old passport.

  9. I wish I needed to get more pages in my UK passport, but sadly hardly ever get a stamp now! EU- nope; Australia – ePassport gates now, so nothing; US – Global Entry so nothing. I liked having stamps too! Means my current passport will last ages though!

  10. Chinese visas take a whole page, then they use an adjoining one to stamp, twice. The Immig. types at LAX and JFK seem to stamp on any old page, sometimes even across 2 pages (poor aim presumably).

  11. @Bob Trial sadly not all US Embassies abroad have 30-60 minutes, at least not with the added influx. I’m in expat in South Korea and will not have my passport back for a week while they add the pages. I tried to get it done in the hour, and that’s why I went in instead of courier’ing it over, but no dice. They also pushed back on adding two books instead of one, so be sure to have an explanation. Bottom line – if you need the additional pages, do not wait until December 30th, especially if you have add’l international travel coming up.

  12. Whole page needed for each entry to Kenya (including each transit), until you get a multiple entry, which is a bureaucratic nightmare. Also whole pages needed for Rwanda, Comores, South Sudan, São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabon, and Angola.

  13. Yeah, I’d like to know what happens to my open visas… Brazil and China for example? Will they honor the 10 year visa in the old passport, or do I have to get a new visa every time I get a new passport? The visas are more work than the new passports every couple years.

  14. Bob Trial,

    This service is being eliminated for “security” reasons.

    Additional page supplements can’t be used with the newly designed passports that are to be launched next year without compromising some of the security features in the newly designed passport.

    Additional page supplements are perceived as a security risk even with the current passport version we are using. For example, people removing the supplements to hide travel, people removing or using the supplements to make a passport that looks more like an emergency replacement passport.

    The supplement insert service is being eliminated for reasons indifferent to reciprocity dynamics.

  15. Jim,

    VP1 and VP2 approval would give you 48 additional pages, if the ACS/Passport Agency staff believe your current passport has long enough validity left on it and is possibly going to get the pages largely or completely used before expiration. Getting a third inserted section of 24 (A-X) pages may also still happen if the passport meets the previously mentioned (subject to interpretation) conditions, is in good enough condition and the need for it is seemed pressing (say something like an “emergency”.

    The elimination of this service will make it more likely that people needing passports for a lot of travel will more likely be more frequently subjected to having to get re-approved for a new/renewal passport.

  16. @guwonder

    What’s “Getting a third inserted section of 24 (A-X)” ? My passport book is in good shape but only few blank pages left, it was applied in 2013 and it was the regular one that has the least pages. it is my first time US passport book.

    I now have only about 5 pages left and I am visiting 3 countries in 10 days.

    I have made appointment for next week at local agency.

    What is the max number of pages I can add? 48,52, 72?

    Thanks

  17. Jim,

    They will easily add 48 pages more, which is done by way of adding in one set of A-X pages (i.e. 24 pages) and also adding in another set of A-X pages (i.e. 24 pages) at the same time. Just make sure to mark down the box for 48 pages on the DS-4085 form.

    If you push them, they may be willing to even add in 72 additional pages; however, they are rather commonly refusing to do so, even as there is administrative allowance to add in even a third set of A-X pages.

  18. So what do people do once the are abroad since the US Gov decided to punish frequent travelers?
    Trust me If i legally could I would not be a US citizen but I am stuck. Can you get a new passport abroad? You can not really give your passport away and have no ID. Should I lie and say I lost it? Or can you get a new one in like a one month time period?

    Once again it feels like the US gov is punishing people who choose not to live a conventional lifestyle. This is not security, it is bullshit.

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