US embassies & consulates abroad to cease issuance of additional passport pages

The National Passport Information Center of the US Department of State (DOS) has confirmed that, as of January 1, 2016, US Embassies and Consulates abroad will no longer issue additional passport visa pages to US citizens.

US passports
Primarily utilized by frequent business travelers and rotational global employees, the additional pages extend the life of a passport should it run out of visa pages.The implementation date of this announcement aligns with the rollout of the new "Next Generation" US passport which will feature significant design changes and security upgrades. During the months and weeks leading up to this deadline, US Embassies and Consulates abroad will slowly begin to phase out the availability of additional passport page inserts with December 31, 2015 as the final closure date of this service.Additional visa page inserts will remain available to applicants filing by mail (Form DS-4085) from within the US and Canada.

What's Changed?

With the support of an interagency working group, the DOS cites four primary factors behind the change:
  • Security Concerns – with the "Next Generation" US passport being rolled out in 2016, the DOS felt as though the "the addition of visa page inserts could reduce the effectiveness of these new security features ."
  • Use – the interagency working group found that most US citizens requesting additional passport pages held the smaller, "standard" 28-page passport book rather than the larger, 52-page book available.
  • Costs – producing and providing additional passport page inserts, especially given the new security features on the "Next Generation" U.S. passport cannot be justified given the availability of the 52-page passport book.
Thus, US citizens will no longer be able to obtain additional passport page inserts for their US passports through US Embassies and Consulates abroad. Rather, these passport holders will be required to undergo a full passport renewal should they run out of visa pages.The National Passport Information Center strongly recommends that frequent international travelers or those who may become frequent travelers, obtain the 52-page passport initially in order to avoid any possible immigration difficulties while abroad.Applicants may choose the 52-page book option for no additional cost when applying for a new passport and US citizens renewing their passports abroad will automatically be granted this larger booklet. These larger passports are still issued with the standard 10-year validity.Although these changes may sound minor, there are many immigration considerations that must be taken into account as of January 1, 2016. Depending on the country in question, US nationals residing abroad who renew their passports and hold either a business visa or a Work/Residence Permit may be required to complete certain immigration formalities in order to maintain the validity of said visa or permit.These processes may include, but are not limited to: carrying both the new and old passports together, notifying local authorities of the new passport and its details, and/or applying to have the visa/permit transferred to the newly renewed passport.

How these changes affect you

Sponsoring companies and US citizens living abroad must pay close attention to the number of visa pages they have left in their passports. Many countries require that foreign nationals keep at least two blank visa pages in their passports for visa and permit stamping, as well as entry/exit stamps.Should a US citizen residing abroad urgently need even a business visa and if he/she does not have a sufficient number of passport pages available, their immigration process will be delayed while their passport is being renewed.US nationals who are frequent international travelers or who may become so are encouraged to apply for the 52-page passport booklet either as soon as they notice a lack of blank visa pages in their current passport, or upon the standard renewal of their current passport. There are no additional costs to obtain the 52-page book.As the DOS will continue to provide additional passport page inserts to applicants filing by mail within the US and Canada even after January 1, 2016, there remains some flexibility to this new procedure change. However, US citizens living abroad will not have easy access to this continued service.For more Re:locate news and features on immigration, click here and for more on the US, click Lector | Warning to Reader This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment's notice without any warning. Please contact an immigration specialist or client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management team.Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department ( with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material

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