Globetrotters, jet-setters, and road warriors rejoice – the US State Department has just changed the validity of second valid passports! On June 2, 2016, the State Department officially announced that effective immediately, all second valid passports issued to US citizens will be valid for four years instead of just two.
What is a Second Valid Passport?
Second valid passports are limited validity US passports. They allow a US citizen to hold two valid passports at once, and are issued to travelers who can demonstrate they have one of the following travel situations:
- Middle East travel. If you’re planning a trip to a country like Iran or Libya, you won’t be allowed to enter if you have entry stamps from Israel in your passport. You can get a second valid passport and use that for your Middle East travel
- Conflicting travel. What happens if you have two trips back-to-back, and the second one requires a visa? If you need to have your passport in process at an embassy to get a visa at the same time you have other international travel, you can get a second valid passport.
Because they are meant to deal with a single, temporary travel situation, second valid passports are only valid for a limited period of time. Up until now, second valid passports have been issued with no more than a two year validity. Since so many countries enforce the “six month rule” – meaning you need to have at least six months validity on your passport when you enter the country – second valid passports wound up only being useful for 18 months at a time.
For people whose jobs require them to travel internationally all the time (think pilots, travel writers, and executives for major international companies), second valid passports are a lifesaver. Many people who travel for a living have had to renew their second valid passports every year and a half to make sure they’re always able to travel and get the visas they need for future travel. The State Department’s decision to extend second valid passport validity to four years means that these limited validity passports can be used for more than twice as long!
Existing Second Valid Passports
If you currently hold a second valid passport, the State Department’s announcement doesn’t change the validity of your current passport. It will still expire on the date printed on the passport! The good news is that the next time you apply for a second valid passport, you’ll be able to get one that will be valid for four years.
Are Requirements for Second Valid Passports Changing?
Although the validity of second valid passports has changed, the procedures and requirements to get one remain exactly the same. You will still need to submit Form DS-82, the same form used for passport renewals, and your valid ten-year passport. You’ll also need to submit proof of your travel plans that show that you have one of the travel dilemmas described above. Check out our page on Second Valid Passports for all the details!
Getting a second valid passport can be a bit trickier than doing a more common passport service like a passport renewal, so if you need help, we highly recommend that you contact a passport expediting service for assistance with your processing. Although you might be getting a second passport for the first time, a reputable passport expediting company will have helped hundreds or even thousands of travelers get a second valid passport. They will be able to guide you and make sure that you can show the right kind of travel documentation to qualify for a second valid passport. They’ll also be able to get your new passport for you very quickly… which you’ll probably need, to get you ready to jet off on your next trip!