United States Passport Angled
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Running Out of Pages in Your Passport? Major Policy Change in 2016

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.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Thanks Brian for spreading the word. I just got my Egyptian Visa and yea, it took up an entire page. Also visiting Zimbabwe and Zambia and I’m pretty sure that is gonna take up another page. Would be nice to implement smaller visas!!!

    My Passport still has 9 years of validity, so I’d say just as in anything in the frequent flier world, YMMV.

    We’re posting on the Winglet but also anyone interested can visit our blog directly at http://www.NoMasCoach.com 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jon Nickel-D’Andrea, for bringing up this important news with your article — as well as for the direct link to your weblog.

      With nine years left, I agree with going for the additional passport pages instead of getting a new passport book. As you said, your mileage may vary.

      I never understood the rationale of where passports and visas are stamped in a passport book. Sometimes it is on some lone page towards the back of the passport. Sometimes it overlaps another stamp from a different country even though there is plenty of room on the page. It just all seems so random…

  2. I recently took advantage of this at an Embassy (one hour turnaround) but now I wish I had just applied for a new passport. I am with you on the fee difference and it would have saved me because shortly after the new pages were added, an immigration official pulled the front page of my worn passport so hard he ripped half the stitching from the page. So, I need to get a new passport now anyway. 🙁 The only reason I had resisted before was that this one has my residency permit and I do not want to have to carry yet another passport with me! 🙂

    1. What a story, Charlie — but you could never have anticipated that happening to you!

      Have you written an article about that? If so, please link it here.

  3. Im from Uganda, I got my passport 6th passport in 2012 expiring 2022, today 2017 on this date my my visa pages are full and the the visa I have right now in China has expired so I can’t extend my visa I only have to get a new passport sent from my country to China to extend my visa able me go out, it’s a week now I haven’t received my new passport and everyday that counts is an overstay I have to pay 10,000 RMB, I’m stranded I can’t register in any hotel because I have no visa, I have no where to go ,my embassy is not helpful at all
    Where will I get all this money to pay omg…. I came on a business trip what can I do please advise me

  4. So, we have passports that do not expire until 2025. Our book has only one page left, but we also have work permits for Uganda in our passports. We go frequently to Kenya and can’t be without our passport for any length of time. Not sure how to proceed. The American Embassy here in Uganda clearly does not exist to help American citizens, not sure what to do any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. I do not have experience with work permits, Connie Jackson; but what I do know is this: you will need a new passport if your current one only has one page left. Apply for it from Kenya; and you should get the larger 52-page passport. I am not sure how frequently you travel to Kenya; but you just might fill up that new passport over the next seven years if you travel frequently enough.

      When you apply for a new passport, your old one must be submitted — but once it is officially canceled by the United States government, it is returned to you.

      The wild card for me is the work permit. My question is: will the Ugandan government consider a work permit in a canceled passport still valid if you present it along with the new passport — or will you be required to go through the motions of applying for another work permit, which would cost you time, money and effort?

      As different countries have different policies, my suggestion is that you contact the government of Uganda as soon as possible and ask the aforementioned questions. If you do find out the definitive answers, please follow up here with them. I may even write an article pertaining to this issue to assist other readers of The Gate.

      Please accept my apologies, as I wish I could be of more help to you…

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