Do you remember when you could get extra pages in your passport? I definitely do as it was the reason why: 1) I was told by a gaggle of immigration officers in Kuala Lumpur that my passport looked fake and would no longer be honored in Malaysia; and 2) the woman at the passport office on K St. in D.C. told me, “No more pages, this passport is unacceptable,” right before she punched two holes in the cover. Those two former passports looked so worn because of extensive travel across Africa and to Brazil. It seemed every country I was interested in visiting needed to use one full page of my passport for visas on arrival or the ones that required visits and lines at the embassy. If only I had known back then that I could have applied for a second passport.

As I am a frequent traveler and have a problem with pages in my passport, I meet the State Department’s clause

The issuance of a second valid passport should be considered an exception to the regulations, and is to be approved on an individual basis only where justified.

What about you? Can you show a need for a second passport such as:

  • You are visiting a country where another country’s stamp could bar you from entry (think, you went to Israel and for some reason let them stamp your passport and now you want to go to Lebanon);
  • You are waiting for you local residency permit to be inserted in your passport but need/want to leave that country; or
  • You need to get visas simultaneously from multiple embassies for an eminent trip.

There are companies in America who offer assistance with obtaining your second passport some will even help it be expedited. Just Google “Second US Passport.” However, not all of us are in the States. If you are out of the country and need to get a second passport complete the following steps.

  1. Figure out where the nearest and most convenient American embassy or consulate with passport capabilities is located. I say most convenient because you need to wait for 10-15 working days for the passport to be issued. Today I was speaking with a friend about this very subject, despite the fact that the Embassy in Bangkok is closer it makes more sense for him to go to the embassy in Bali or Penang. This is because it is cheaper and more comfortable to wait for the passport in those places than in Bangkok.
  2. Call the Embassy and request an appointment.
  3. Go to the State Department Passport Portal and fill out the indicated form based on the questionnaire.
  4. Find a place where you can take American Passport Photos. According to the State Department site, many passport applications are rejected because of the photos. US passport photos must be 2″x2″ with the head size from chin to top of the head a minimum 1″ and a maximum of 1.375″.  The full face photo, no older than 6 months, should be in color, printed on regular photographic paper with a plain white background.
  5. Check the Embassy’s website to find out if you must fill out a specific form, swear out an affidavit, or simply write a letter in support of your request for a second passport.
  6. On the day of the appointment have all of your printed documents, your current unexpired passport, and $110 with you. Most Embassies accept: debit or credit cards; International Money Order in the exact U.S. dollar amount made payable to the “United States Disbursing Officer”; an American check drawn in U.S. dollars on a bank in the United States made payable to the “United States Disbursing Officer” or cash in U.S. dollars or the local currency equivalent.

Your new second passport is not “limited geographically, i.e. for travel in only a few countries. It will, however, be limited in time, valid for a period of two years. Thereafter, a new second valid passport must be applied for; second valid passports are no longer extendable.”

Good luck and happy travels.