For some US passport holders, getting a second US passport is essential for certain areas of travel. The downside of the second US passport is that they have only been good for 2 years. With many countries not allowing entry if your passport expires in 6 months or less, that basically means your passport is only good for 18 months (to many countries). As someone who has had to get a second US passport twice because of this time limitation, this new experiation time frame for second passports comes as great news!
A Second US Passport Now Lasts Twice as Long
Until very recently, a second US passport would last only 2 years. With a recent change, the US State Department has made a change to allow new second US passports to be good for 4 years instead of the past 2 years! Since it takes a little bit of a process to get it in the first place, it is great news that it will now have a 4 year expiration!
Here is the text from the State Department’s website concerning second passports:
The issuance of a second, concurrently valid passport should be considered an exception to regulations and is approved on a case-by-case basis. The second valid passport will be limited in validity for four years and cannot be extended.
Unlike the regular passports, if you have a continuing need for a second passport after your earlier second passport expires, you will need to apply for one all over again and show your travel documents as proof of a need to obtaining a second passport.
So, if you do need a second US passport, what do you do?
How To Apply [Or Reapply] For A Second US Passport
To be eligible for a second US passport, you must demonstrate that you fulfill one of the two reasons they look to for such applications:
- Visa applications – some countries require your passport to be submitted for a visa and it can take a while to issue it. If you have travel during that time, you will need a second passport for your other travels.
- Diplomatic issues – there are some countries that are at diplomatic odds with each other and will not allow entry to a US passport holder if there is a stamp from the other country.
Letter Of Explanation
To make application, you will need a letter explaining your need for the second passport under one of the possibilities above. If it is for business, you will need a letter from your employer explaining the issues at hand. Here is an example of such a letter:
TO: U.S. Department of State
I, the undersigned, am the bearer of valid U.S. passport
number_________________ issued on ________________.
However, in view of restrictive entry policies and/or the
time delay required to obtain visas for my current (and
future) travels, it is impossible for me to obtain all
necessary visas or to complete my trip using one passport.
I am therefore requesting the issuance of a second United
States passport. I understand the passport will be valid
only for two years.
Should either of my two passports be lost or stolen, I will
report immediately the circumstances of the loss to Passport
Services, or if abroad, to the nearest U.S. Embassy,
Consulate, or Consular Agency.
There are a few options for how to make application for a second US passport. Here are some options:
- Application by appointment at a US Consulate or US Embassy
- Application by appointment at a US Passport Agency
- Through a company that will make application on your behalf (such as allied passport)
I have applied for one with a US Passport agency. Since any application being made at a Passport Agency is treated as an expedited passport, you can expect to receive it back in a very short window of time. You will need to pay the expedited fee, however.
I have also applied at a US Consulate. Be aware – you may have to be more clear beyond the letter of explanation. This was the case with me and it most likely had to do with the fact that I was applying because of diplomatic issues between countries and not about the time frame for applying for visas. They made it clear – a second US passport is for necessary conditions, not for the convenience of the traveler. It is for situations that absolutely require it. So, if you plan on applying for a second passport for the sake of diplomatic situations, make sure that are able to show itineraries to countries that are not on good terms.
However, that is an issue as well but just not an immediate one. Since I am in a foreign country with a passport that has a residency permit in it, I am not able to surrender that passport for a visa since I need to have it with me all the time. Since there are some places that I go to on short notice, having a second passport for visa applications helps with that as well.
What You Need
- Completed Passport Application – Form ds-82
- 1 Passport Photo
- Your Regular, Current Passport (must be sent in with the application)
- A Statement declaring your need for the second passport and your assurance that the loss or theft of either passport will be promptly reported (a copy of what I sent is above) – I submitted copies of my reservations that proved why I needed a separate passport
- Fee for the passport (here is the good part – if you apply for your passport at a passport agency, you can actually use a credit card. That is different from applying at the Post Office where you must have a check). If applying at a Consulate or Embassy, you may need to use a bank check – not cash or credit card.
Make sure when you give your other passport that you make sure they do not cancel it! If it is your main, current passport, ask them to put a note on it to ensure they do not punch holes in it or else it will be cancelled.
Contrary to what some people have thought, you can register both of your passports to your Global Entry account. You can add the document to your account within your GOES profile. You can also stop in at a Global Entry office and have them add your second passport. I can verify that both passports work with Global Entry seamlessly.
A second US passport can be necessary for the traveler. If you have already received one and need to apply for another one, the conditions here are good for either a new second US passport or another second US passport if the first one expired. It is great news that the length of validity of the second US passport is now at 4 years – I just wish that it had happened when I applied for my second passport last year. 🙂
HT: The Points Guy