Running low on blank visa pages in your passport? If you’re a frequent traveler, this is an issue you’ll need to deal with soon, as you’ll need at least one blank page marked “Visas” in your passport every time you enter a foreign country. You have two options: do an additional passport pages service or renew your passport. They are both relatively simple services that can be done directly by mail or just by sending your passport and completed application to a passport expediting service. They both cost a similar amount; the fees for passport renewal are only $28 more than to add pages. So how do you know which service is right for you? Passportinfo.com is here to help you figure it out. By answering a few questions, you can determine whether you are better off adding pages to your passport or renewing it.
UPDATE: Additional Passport Pages service is no longer available as of December 31 , 2015. If you run out of blank passport pages, you will need to renew your passport.
Question 1: When does your passport expire?
If your passport is two years or less from expiring, you are probably better off doing an early passport renewal rather than adding pages to your passport. Remember that most countries want you to have at least six months validity remaining in order to be allowed entry, so you should consider that the true expiration date of your passport is six months before the date printed. Considering the small price difference between adding pages and renewing the passport, you may as well go ahead and renew your passport now instead of having to pay the additional pages fees and the passport renewal fees soon after. The caveat is if you have valid visas that you need to continue to use, which leads us to Question 2.
Question 2: Do you have valid visas in your passport?
Some countries, like Brazil, China, India, and Russia, will issue visas that are valid for three, five, or even ten years. If you hold one of these long term visas, and you know you will need to continue to visit the country, it is worth your while to add pages to your passport so you can keep traveling without having to get a new visa. (Of the countries listed, Brazil will allow you to travel using a valid visa on a cancelled or expired passport, so long as you also have a valid passport).
Question 3: How many times have you had pages added to your passport?
If you have already had three regular-sized (24 page) inserts added to your passport, or two sets of inserts including a large 48-page addition, your passport will have to be renewed. Your passport has literally reached the breaking point – it is so thick that if they tried to add any more pages, the binding would break. A passport with a broken binding is mutilated and cannot be used for travel.
Question 4: Is your passport in good condition?
If your passport has seen significant wear or any water damage, and you travel frequently enough to require additional pages, you would be wise to renew your passport now and start fresh. When you apply for your passport renewal, you can ask for a large book that is the size of a standard book with one additional insert of extra pages. There is no additional fee to get the large book, you just have to mark the box that says “52 page book (non-standard)” on your DS-82 passport renewal application.