Running Out of Pages in Your Passport? Major Policy Change in 2016
E ffective as of Friday, January 1, 2016 the service of adding additional visa pages to United States passports will be discontinued, according to the official Internet web site of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States. Requests for additional visa pages may only be submitted until Thursday, December 31, 2015.
If you are a holder of a passport in need of additional space in your passport, you will need to renew your passports by mail using form DS-82. If you renew your passport from outside of the United States, you will automatically be issued a larger 52-page book. If you renew your passport within the United States, please indicate your preference for a 28-page or 52-page book by checking the appropriate box at the top of the form. The good news is that there is no fee difference for book sizes.
Add New Pages or Get a New Passport?
Similarly to Jon Nickel-D’Andrea of The Winglet who has three free pages left in his passport book, I only have five free pages left in my passport book; but my passport only has fewer than four years left before it expires. I have to decide whether or not it is worth spending $82.00 to add pages to my current passport; or should I simply just get a new passport book with 52 pages for $110.00, according to this schedule of fees. I am personally leaning towards the latter option.
“…and we have 5 countries to visit before South Africa, I’m at a real risk of not being allowed into the country!” If you go to countries like Mozambique, Egypt and Kenya, Jon, their stamps and visas will take up a full page. South Africa did not even take up one page of my passport — let alone two — but it is always advisable to ensure that you have the appropriate number of blank pages available.
Jon Nickel-D’Andrea urges to “Run, don’t walk… get this done NOW.” I do agree with this advice if you still have a number of years on your passport and want to save $28.00 by adding pages to your current passport book and not purchasing a new passport book — otherwise, I would just get the new passport book even if it is before the current one expires, as I am personally contemplating.
My interpretation is that this is actually a cost savings of $82.00 for those of us who travel frequently — plus, there is no lost time in having to send in the passport to have pages added to it.
If you travel super-frequently, this may effectively be a cost increase of that aforementioned $28.00 to get a new passport instead of adding pages to a current passport which still has many years left on its validity; but an additional $28.00 is not unreasonable.