Take a minute now, and pull out your passport. Check the expiration date. Do you have several years left before it expires? Good. Now flip through the pages, and count how many completely blank pages marked “Visas” are left. If you are running low on blank pages, the time to add pages is now! On November 19, the US State Department officially announced that as of December 31, 2015, they will no longer add pages to valid US passports. Starting on January 1, 2016, if you run out of blank passport pages, you will need to renew your passport.
Why Are Blank Passport Pages Necessary?
When you travel internationally, your passport may be stamped upon entry and exit of each country. Most countries want you to have at least one blank page for these stamps. South Africa, for instance, requires that you have two blank pages side-by-side, and if you will enter South Africa more than once on your trip, you will need a set of two blank pages for every entry! If you go to a country that requires a visa, it is even more crucial to have blank passport pages. The majority of countries that require visas will need you to have two blank passport pages side-by-side, one for the visa and one for entry stamps. At the very least, you will need one completely blank page for your visa sticker, as international law forbids consulates from putting visa stickers over top of entry stamps or on amendment pages.
Time is Short – Use a Passport Expeditor!
With only one month before the US State Department permanently discontinues additional passport pages service, there is no time to waste! Standard passport service by mail takes up to 8 weeks to process, and the State Department has not clarified what will happen to additional passport pages requests that are in process at the start of the new year. If you need extra pages, we recommend you use expedited service to make sure you get your passport pages in time. The most reliable way to ensure your additional passport pages service is completed before December 31 is to use a registered passport expediting company like www.G3Passports.com or www.RushMyPassport.com. But don’t wait to contact them – many services are telling us that they are experiencing high volumes as travelers hurry to have pages added to their passports before the deadline.