There are some travel hacks that make sense—like using the Mobile Passport app to breeze through any customs line or booking a flight on a Tuesday when airfare might be cheapest—but what about obtaining a second U.S. passport?
This week, Million Mile Secrets dove into the process of obtaining a second passport; if you’re a frequent traveler or in a time-crunch, you might benefit from having another form of identification while headed overseas.
Still, you’re probably fine with a single passport and there’s a good chance you aren’t even eligible to get a second one. Here’s what you need to know about getting another passport and the very rare occasions in which you might need one.
You might need a second passport if you’re waiting on a travel visa
In order to obtain a second passport, you must be eligible to apply for one of three reasons, as Million Mile Secrets writes:
- If you have a stamp from a country which will deny you entrance to another. For example, Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon will deny entry if an Israeli stamp or visa is found in your passport.
- If frequent international travel makes it difficult for you to send away your passport for a visa because you need it to visit another country.
- If your job requires you to travel constantly, such as a pilot or reporter.
In other words, second passports are generally reserved for those who really need it. In the instance of travel visas, you might need to send your original passport to a local embassy, which explains why having a second passport may become necessary, especially with an imminent trip.
If your reason for applying doesn’t fall under any of these circumstances, unfortunately, you can’t obtain another passport (meaning you can’t simply apply for a spare one because you’re afraid you might lose your original).
If you do qualify, you’ll have to provide proof of your eligibility by having a statement and any other supporting documents (like a travel itinerary) ready when applying for a second passport.
You should know that there are some limits to the second passport, too. For instance, it’s only valid for two years and can’t be renewed. Also, be sure to use the same passport when entering a country as you are when exiting or you might run into issues at the airport.
You’ll have to provide proof of citizenship and pay additional fees
Even if you do qualify, you should know the State Department doesn’t make the process easy and examines each request (and possible denial) on a case-by-case basis.
You can apply by mail and send all forms to the National Passport Processing Center, though you could also make an appointment at the closest U.S. Passport Agency near you to apply in-person. (Do an online search for a local agency to be sure.)
If you’re still interested, here are the steps you’ll have to take, as written by Afar:
Complete the Passport Application Form DS-82 by mail or online. To complete this form—the same one used for the passport renewal process—you must already have a valid and undamaged 10-year passport.
Provide proof of U.S. citizenship plus a newly taken passport photo. If you will need your primary passport during the application process, you can submit a certified copy of your birth certificate or state-issued ID card. The standard U.S. passport photo size is 2 x 2 inches and all photos must be printed on photo-quality paper, according to State Department guidelines.
Submit a “Second Passport Request Letter” addressed to the U.S. Department of State. This letter must describe and justify the specific reason that the applicant needs a duplicate passport (proof of travel plans, such as a flight itinerary, should be cited). The applicant must sign the request letter and include a statement noting that any loss or theft of either the primary or secondary passport will be immediately reported to Passport Services or the nearest U.S. embassy, consulate, or consular agency.
You’ll also have to pay an additional fee of $110 in the form of a check to the State Department.
There are also online services that will do some of the legwork and expedite the process on your behalf, though they may charge you a steep fee. You can also pay to have your second passport expedited to you directly; just be sure to specify this on your application and pay the additional cost.