Last week the Minimalist in me had a battle with the James-Bond-Wannabe in me. The subject was getting a second US Passport. I have mentioned here before that I own less than 100 possessions (99 as of last week) and I try my darnest to keep it that way. Usually this works in my favor as one of my strongest values is freedom. (Less stuff = more freedom.)
Unfortunately, after talking to a friend about one of my upcoming life list items, he pointed out that having only one passport would likely prevent me from checking that item off my list. OH HELL NO! I have already decided that not completing my list is simply not an option so I hoped online and started doing some research. Thus the reason for this post and for my 100th possession, a second passport.
Reasons To Get A Second Passport
- You travel a lot and you are worried that the time required to send in your passport to acquire visas will prevent you from accomplishing your travel goals.
- You travel between enemy countries and the issuance of one visa might prevent you from being allowed into another country. (This is the case with Israeli and anti-Israeli countries)
- You are worried about your primary passport getting stolen/lost/damaged and you want a backup.
- You want to be more like Jason Bourne.
- A mixture of all of the above. (This was my reason :-p)
The Process For Getting a Second US Passport
Like most instances where you need to file paperwork with the US Government, this process isn’t straightforward. While most requests for an initial passport from US citizens are honored, requests for second passports are not nearly as commonly accepted. Details below:
Requirements and Forms
- You need to send your current valid US Passport in to get a second passport.
- You need to send in a letter of explanation to explain why you need a second copy. (See pro tip below)
- You need to send in a letter of authorization if you are having an agency take care of the logistics. (I recommend paying an agency to take care of the actual filing and handling.)
- You need to send in two identical and valid passport photos.
- You need to send in two copies of evidence of immediate travel. (I recommend airline confirmation e-mails as they are the easiest to get.)
- You need to file, print and then send two copies of US Passport Renewal Form (#DS-82).
- You need to send a check to the US Department of State for $170.00 (wah wahhh) with your birthday in the memo line.
- You need to send in a check for any other associated fees that may be required by the agency you have filing your paperwork.
Pro Tip: The US Government is MUCH more likely to grant you a second passport if your letter of explanation addresses the 2nd reason (enemy countries) as explained before. You can use this to your advantage as the evidence of immediate travel does not need to be traveling to one of the sensitive countries mentioned in the letter of explanation.
I have found it is more time efficient and just a overall better experience to use an agency that specializes in visas and passports to do this kind of work. I am not affiliated with TravelVisaPro but I have only had success with them in the past.
Once you send in the correct paperwork it is not a sure deal. If the US Department of State decides to approve your request, you can expect to get a new passport in addition to your old passport in anywhere between two days and two weeks (it largely depends on how much you pay the agency).
After that, you have one less obstacle preventing you from completing your life list! What. Up.