State Department plans to eliminate option to add passport pages

27 May 15

UNITED STATES

The U.S. State Department has proposed a rule that would eliminate the option of adding extra pages to U.S. passports beginning on Jan. 1, 2016.

Currently, American citizens can apply for either a 28-page or 52-page standard passport and then request to add visa pages to them while they are is still valid if passport holders need more pages for visa stamps.

According to the proposed rule, inserting pages is a security concern and elimination of the option would coincide with a 2016 rollout of the Next Generation Passport, which incorporates new security features “designed to protect the integrity of U.S. passport books against fraud and misuse.”

To accommodate frequent travelers, the State Department began issuing the larger 52-page passports in October 2014 to all overseas applicants at no extra cost, and Americans applying domestically can request the larger passports on the application form at no extra cost.

The Department will accept comments from the public for 60 days and intends to implement it on Jan. 1, 2016.

BAL Analysis: U.S. passport holders who expect to require extra pages should apply before the rule change or apply for a new passport containing 52 pages ahead of travel plans. Additionally, it is important to note that some U.S. passport agencies have already begun asking travelers to request new passports instead of processing requests to add additional passport pages. Although full implementation is not expected for several months, some U.S. passport agencies may still ask for new passport applications in lieu of adding additional pages. Travelers should plan accordingly.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.