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If you’re like me and constantly traveling, one of the issues you might run into is that your passport gets filled up pretty quickly – especially if you travel to countries that require visas that take up an entire page. Although it will be valid for a few more years, my passport is pretty much filled up now and it takes immigrations agents several minutes to find some free space in it for a stamp- and even more time when I leave for the immigration officials to find my entry stamp. My current passport is also several years old, so it doesn’t have the current chip technology in it that expedites the immigrations process.
I’ve also recently had issues scanning it at Global Entry kiosk and even airline check-in kiosks, so I thought I’d have to get a new one and be stuck here in the States for a few weeks while I sent away for it and lose all those valuable visas and stamps that I’ve collected over the years. However, it is possible to hold two passports- here’s how:
TPG reader Steve works at Allied Passport & Visa and I’ve used them several times to get visas and most recently for a second passport and while they charge fees, they’ve saved me time and money which can make it more than worthwhile. You don’t need to use an agency, but if you want to avoid trips to passport offices/consulates, using one can make a lot of sense.
- Complete Passport Application Form DS-82. Applicants requesting passport service must now use an online version of the form DS-82, rather than handwriting the required personal data. Click here to get the Passport Wizard.
- Include two recent professional passport photographs of yourself.
- If using a visa agency, include two letters authorizing Allied Passport & Visa to act on your behalf at the Passport Agency. You can e-mail Allied at email@example.com for the form. Also include the Allied Passport & Visa order form. Click here for this form.
- Submit your most recently issued valid 10 year passport. Your passport won’t be cancelled, but be sure to plan accordingly and do not to apply for a second passport if you are taking an upcoming trip within 2 weeks. All 10 year US passports are considered proof of citizenship (passports issued for less than 10 years are not considered proof of citizenship by themselves).
- Include proof of the departure date from the USA such as a flight itinerary.
- Explanation of Requirement for Second Valid Passport. This is a letter signed by the applicant addressed to the Passport Agency explaining why a second passport is necessary Click here for sample
Approval of a second valid passport in determined solely by the US Passport Agency based on the applicant’s requirement for the passport and they charge $170 for expedited processing or $110 for regular processing, which takes about four weeks.
Reasons To Get A Second Passport
As I mentioned, one of the reasons I need a second passport is that my current one has deteriorated a bit and can slow me down through customs and immigrations. The State Department also lists several other reasons you might be eligible for a second passport including:
You may sometimes need another passport if a foreign country denies you a visa due to political tensions because you have stamps in your passport from another specific country, such as Israel (some countries won’t allow you in if you have an Israeli passport stamp).
When a passport needed for immediate travel is unavailable due to prolonged delays in processing a foreign visa application or some other foreign government process for which the passport is needed; or the need to obtain multiple visas on a current or ongoing basis as is often the case with flight personnel, executives of multi-national corporations, or journalists.
A second passport may also be issued to prevent the cancellation of a current passport containing a valid visa.
A passport issued to replace a lost or stolen one, or one that is temporarily unavailable (like locked in a safety deposit box and inaccessible to you) are not considered second passports.
Note that there are some restrictions however to second passports including that they are only valid for two years, and cannot be renewed – when it expires you have to get a new second passport. If it fills up, though, you can have pages added if necessary.
Speaking of adding extra pages, I know a lot of you are probably wondering why I don’t just do that with my primary passport. But I’ve already added pages to it (you can read about my experience doing so at the US passport office in Manhattan here – it basically took me a single day to do) and that’s part of why it’s not functioning so well at kiosks, plus those pages are already filled up.
I plan to get a second passport in the next few weeks since, as I mentioned, my current passport is getting very full and not having the chip in it is becoming more and more of an issue. I don’t want to give it up entirely for the processing time getting a new one would take since I do travel internationally so frequently, so getting a second passport is a great option for me to have that means I don’t have to put my travels on hold while updating my credentials.
Do any TPG readers have second passports? Any tips for a first time applicant?