Getting a 52-page passport

By: Jane B. Holt
This item appears on page 16 of the September 2018 issue.

My husband, Clyde, and I had to renew our passports in June 2018, and we vaguely remembered reading something in ITN about a new procedure ("Extra Passport Pages Nixed," June '15, pg. 4). We found the Travel Brief through a search on the website.

The item stated that additional pages will no longer be added to existing US passports, noting, "Under the new rules, all new and renewed passports will come with 52 pages, 43 of which will be blank. The current standard US passport has 28 pages, 18 of them blank."

In fact, it's now the other way around. The "Standard" passport is 28 pages, and the "Non-Standard" book is 52 pages. Both options cost the same.

If you want a 52-page passport book, be sure to check the appropriate box on Form DS-82. (If you run out of pages before your passport expires, you must apply for another passport.)

The information about and the form for renewing by mail can be found on the US Department of State's website (travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/renew-by-mail.html).

At the top of Form DS-82 (U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals), you're given three choices: 1) U.S. Passport Book, 2) U.S. Passport Card or 3) Both. Beneath these choices are two boxes, one of which you need to select: Regular Book (Standard) or Large Book (Non-Standard).

If you want the 52-page book, you must check the "Large Book" box. (The word "large" is misleading, since both types of passports have the same dimensions, but the book with extra pages is thicker.)

We filled in the form online, then printed and mailed it along with the required photos and a $110 check for each of us. Our passport pictures were taken at a local camera shop, where we had to to remove our eyeglasses and were told to neither smile nor show our teeth!

We requested Routine Service, described as taking four to six weeks from the time of application, and we made sure we could track our US Mail Priority package (which contained both applications, each in its own envelope).

Once our package arrived at the passport office, we requested email confirmation to track the progress of the documents within the system. We received updates and were sent many emails with information on when to expect our new documents, along with a tracking number for each.

Our new passports arrived three weeks from the day we mailed the applications, and our old passports were returned two or three days later.

JANE B. HOLT

Hinesburg, VT