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getting new passport pages
March 31, 2008 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I am getting ready to go on a trip this summer, and I've noticed that I may be running out of places for entry/exit stamps in my passport (my next trip will involve a lot of entry/exits to different countries and the US). If I run out of places in my passport upon reentry, will this present a problem? And is there any way to get new passport pages without sending my passport in for four-six weeks?

So, it appears that on the Department of State's webpage, the only way for me to get new passport pages is to mail in my passport and wait several weeks. Is it possible to do this in person at the DC Passport Office? I would prefer to do that rather than risk it being lost in the mail.

Also, I was wondering, if I happen to run out of spaces (like, the places for entry/exit) - can that actually prevent me from re-entry in the US? I've read that in one or two places, but that seems a little ridiculous.
posted by waylaid to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total)
 
I don't know about the passport offices in the US, but many (all?) embassies and consulates will add pages on the same day if you visit in person. You may want to call ahead and/or check the embassy's website, as I do not know if processing time differs by location. Here's the page for Singapore, for example.
posted by blue mustard at 11:29 AM on March 31, 2008


The State Dept website describes the procedure, including how you can pay an extra $60 for slightly faster service. If you follow the relevant links there it looks like you overnight it to them, wait 3 weeks, and they overnight it back to you.

Typically the in-person appointments at passport agencies in the US are if you are travelling within 2 weeks, and you need to make an appointment and show them your ticket (or other proof of travel need).

If you don't mind the wait, but don't want the passport to be in the mail, you can give it directly to a person at a passport agency (I believe I have used the central one in DC for this). In my case, they then mailed the new one to me a couple weeks later; they might possibly be able to hold it for you in person there if you're really mail-phobic?.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:34 AM on March 31, 2008


According to this link it will cost $60 and can be done in 2 weeks to get new visa pages to add to your existing passport. if you go in person to the passport office, but no they cannot stop you from reentering the US if you are a US Citizen http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds4085/ds4085_2662.html
posted by kanemano at 11:35 AM on March 31, 2008


My fiancee and I worked with A. Briggs in the past to get a new passport in two weeks when the wait was something like three months and they managed to pull it off. That was nice, but what was best was the safety net. They knew exactly what was needed and could double check things before taking it in, guaranteeing I wouldn't need to go back and wait in line six hours again, or whatever. You might try them. It sounds like they can cut the time down to four days if needed.

We were able to go down to our local office rather than shipping them and such. I found out from the people there that high level people in our state go through them for the reasons stated above. No idea if it's true though, and I've only worked with one office in the north east.
posted by jwells at 12:18 PM on March 31, 2008


What blue mustard said. Check ahead at a couple of the places where you will be, but my experience is that this is no hassle at a US consulate abroad. Service while you wait, and free!

I have no idea about the "prevented from re-entry" to the US thing.
posted by jaruwaan at 12:28 PM on March 31, 2008


Sorry. To complete that thought:

I have no idea about the "prevented from re-entry" to the US thing, but I rarely receive a stamp in my (USA) passport when re-entering, so I don't see why *that* would be an issue.
posted by jaruwaan at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2008


@jawuwaan.

Really? I have at least five - for 1 out of every 2 trips, more or less. Where are you traveling to?
posted by waylaid at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2008


Do it at a consulate if you can, I got same-day service twice.

Your only worry is being out of space for visas (more important) or entry/exit stamps from other countries (and even that is unlikely to be a problem: it might involve a small bribe at worst, and they'll probably just stamp over something).

Stamping on re-entry to the US has been inconsistent for me. Do not worry about being prevented from re-entering.
posted by deeaytch at 12:58 PM on March 31, 2008


My passport is completely full with one space remaining and has been for several years. No one cares. The Indonesian visa I got last year was put right on top of a bunch of stamps, and all of the stupid new in/out stamps I get when transiting through Europe get put on top of each other.

There is still that one page with one empty space remaining, but with few exceptions the person just stamps the first page he opens the passport to, particularly US Customs agents, who have the annoying (to me) habit of not opening the passport to the page I've marked with my forms and instead choosing a different page to stamp.

I wouldn't think this would be an issue in any way, but if it causes you anxiety, by all means get a new passport.
posted by arnicae at 1:00 PM on March 31, 2008


Nobody cares unless you need a real, full-page visa. If you are traveling to a country that does not allow U.S. citizens in on a simple, stamped visa (i.e. not Europe, Australia et al.), TPTB may insist on having a full page in your visa pages to stick their sticker on. This happened to me in Germany; they would not process my work visa renewal until I got some new visa pages.

I went to the consulate and availed myself of their courteous same-day service--in and out in under an hour.

In sum: most European pleasure trips will incur no problem. U.S. re-entry will not be a problem. Even if you run out of visa space, country officials will just stamp those weird amendment pages at the back of your passport. And even though it says in your passport that those pages should stay blank, I asked at the U.S. Consulate in Germany and they said that is balderdash.

My advice? Wait until you leave, find a nice big U.S. consulate (U.S. citizens usually do not require an appointment), and drop in for some new pages. All they do is tape them in and put a little stamp at the back to show who messed with your passport and when.

Happy travels!
posted by laconic titan at 2:24 PM on March 31, 2008


One more thing: nobody cares about visa pages, but officials DO care about when your passport expires. If you're running out of visa pages, your passport is probably pretty old. MAKE SURE that the expiration date is at least a year from the date of your last travel day. Otherwise you do need a new passport before you go.
posted by laconic titan at 2:28 PM on March 31, 2008


Yeah I never get stamps. I've been to Thailand, Japan, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Dominican Republic... I think I only have a stamp from Thailand.
posted by thilmony at 5:01 PM on March 31, 2008


I'll back up jaruwaan. Half of the time I come back to the U.S. I have to ask them to stamp my passport.

I bet if you asked them not to stamp in order to save space they may not. I have a large amount of one-page visa stickers so my passports fill up fast. I have had extra pages added once (it took a few weeks for sure) but the next time I applied I simply asked for a 48-page passport. BTW, I think the U.S is one of the few countries that will add in new pages rather than requiring you to get a whole new passport.
posted by Bunglegirl at 6:31 PM on March 31, 2008


@laconictitan. No, my passport is from Feb 2005. I just travel a LOT. And I have a lot of full-page visas (Brazil, India)
posted by waylaid at 7:19 PM on March 31, 2008


I just requested a new passport and received it in two weeks.

I didn't pay for any expedited processing and this was in the second half of March, 2008.

If you are worried about it, why not just get a new one?
posted by Sheppagus at 1:27 PM on April 1, 2008


My passport is completely full with one space remaining and has been for several years. No one cares. The Indonesian visa I got last year was put right on top of a bunch of stamps, and all of the stupid new in/out stamps I get when transiting through Europe get put on top of each other.

There is still that one page with one empty space remaining, but with few exceptions the person just stamps the first page he opens the passport to, particularly US Customs agents, who have the annoying (to me) habit of not opening the passport to the page I've marked with my forms and instead choosing a different page to stamp.


I wanted to point out what arnicae said because it is my experience as well. That is, customs agents put their stamps in margins, or overlapping other stamps, or diaginally in the middle, overlapping many others.

This is despite having empty pages at the back of my passport. And, yes, US customs agents are the worst.
posted by vacapinta at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2008


I've found it interesting where and how each customs agents stamps my passport. My visa for Turkey in 1999 was a sticker that was about 1/4 of the page. The agent stuck it in the middle of the page right on top of two other stamps from other countries. I've had a few agents look at that and sigh.

That is, customs agents put their stamps in margins, or overlapping other stamps, or diagonally in the middle, overlapping many others.

Many do, but some don't. My Chinese visa sticker takes up one whole page and on the facing page are four stamps perfectly centered in their alloted squares. It makes me happy. Tajikistan's visa was beautiful, with a measured blank space for two stamps on the bottom of the visa sticker. Both stamps are perfectly aligned to the bottom of the sticker and each other. In East Africa the agents carefully managed to fit more than 10 stamps on a spread without disrupting any other stamps. Impressive.
posted by Bunglegirl at 4:20 PM on April 2, 2008


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