Remember how you used to add pages to your passport if your booklet was getting filled up with loads of visa stamps? Well, the operative words here are “used to,” as the US Department of State discontinued that option as of Jan. 1, 2016.
Whatever number of pages is currently in your existing passport is the maximum amount your passport will now ever have. If you need to add pages to your passport, you now have to renew your passport and receive a new one – even if your existing one is not yet expired.
The Old Way
In the olden days up until Dec. 31, 2015, US passport holders could purchase an additional 24 pages in which they could add to their passport as needed to create additional space for visa entry and exit stamps.
The New Way
Ordering extra pages for your passport is now a thing of the past. If your pages run out, you must apply for a passport renewal, although you do have the option of choosing a new passport with either 28 pages or 52 pages when you go through the renewal process.
Reason behind the Change
The US Department of State said it made this change “to enhance the security of the passport” as well as to “abide by international passport standards.”
Making the Best of It
Even though the elimination of adding extra passport pages may seem like an unnecessary pain, there are a few positive points about the new regulation.
- You can renew your passport in a jiffy using Swift’s expedited US passport renewal service. The shortest time frame for renewal may be as little as one business day, with other options also available.
- You get a brand new passport photo. The more passport photos you take, the higher the chances of at least one of them being fabulous. Besides, your photo may now be more regularly updated to reflect your latest greatest style.
- You can keep a keener eye on your passport’s expiration date, especially when it comes to the Six Month Validity rule. Too many of us often throw our passport in a drawer and forget about it until it’s time to travel.
The new regulation regarding adding pages may help us keep a closer eye on our passport in general, which helps to ensure we don’t let it expire right before our next trip abroad. The six month validity rule applies to some countries that require your passport’s expiration date is at least six months after the date you enter the country.
Keeping your passport current is a must to ensure you’re always ready to travel when the fancy hits. And Swift can help with expedited passport and visa services as well as by answering any travel-related questions you may have.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.