Dear Tammy, Cheri and Bety:
I heard that starting January 1, 2016 that you can no longer add pages to your passport? Is this true?
Michael, Sun Lakes AZ
Yes, that is true. Starting in 2016, if you run out of space, you’ll have to buy an entirely new passport with either the standard 28 or the expanded 52 leaves.
The change is a security decision, one of several in the passport’s 2016 design. Though U.S. passports have contained biometric data since 2006, the new design will have the data chip embedded on your information page, a polycarbonate layer to protect that chip, a cover that’s harder to bend or damage, and new security-enhanced artwork and watermarks. Interestingly, as Qartz.com explains, “2016 is also the year that the last non-biometric U.S. passports will expire, so by the end of the year, all valid US passports will be e-passports with the biometric chip.”
Here are a few other important things you need to know about your passport:
Check your expiration date right now. If you have eight months or less, renew it now. Passports are usually valid for 10 years, but you really have to renew it in its ninth year since many countries won’t let you enter if you have fewer than six months before your passport expires.
The price is the same — $110—whether you buy a 28-page book or a 52-page book.
You can easily renew by mail (and avoid an additional processing fee by doing so) if your most recent passport is undamaged and was issued when you were 16 or older (and within the past 15 years). Even if you’ve legally changed your name, you can still do the entire passport renewal process by mail.
You have to send in your old passport to get a new one. Don’t panic if it doesn’t get returned with your new one — it will be, but usually in a separate mailing.
If you have a travel question or problem you would like to submit, please contact Tammy Sikorski, Cheri Sigurdson or Bety Dar at El Sol Travel-located at 10325 E. Riggs Road, Suite 105, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248. Call 480-895-9362, or e-mail [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] View our web site at www.elsolvacations.net.