How to Get a Second Passport & Why You Might Need One

When it comes to planning an international trip, among the many things on your packing checklist – and probably the most important – is your passport. Most travelers know that a passport is typically required for international travel, but what many people don’t know is that they may be able to obtain a second U.S. passport in certain cases.

Why would I need two U.S. passports?

Most travelers do not have a need for two passports, but having a duplicate passport can be helpful in the following situations.

  1. You sent your passport away for a visa and need to leave for an international trip right away. Having a backup passport lets you leave for an immediate trip when your passport is not with you (e.g. it’s been sent away for a visa).
  2. You are traveling to a country that prohibits travelers with passport stamps from certain countries from entering their country. Having two passports gives you the ability to have stamps for politically sensitive countries on different passports.

How to Apply for a Second Passport

When applying for a duplicate passport, you must be able to explain and prove your need for a second U.S. passport. This should be done in a brief letter. To apply for a second U.S. passport, you will need the following documents:

  • A completed DS-82 or DS-11 form
  • A letter explaining the specific reasons you need a second passport
  • A statement agreeing to immediately report the loss of either passport to Passport Services or the nearest U.S. embassy, consulate, or consular agency
  • Your previously issued passport (must be valid and undamaged)
  • Two identical passport photos
  • Payment for passport fees

Even after submitting all of the required supporting documents, it is possible that your request could still be denied, as each submission is evaluated on a case by case basis. The process could also take up to 4 to 6 weeks unless you choose to expedite it for an additional fee.

If approved, a duplicate passport is only valid for 2 years, unlike your primary passport, which is valid for 10 years, but it may be renewed upon expiration if needed.

Another option instead of applying for a second passport is to apply for a passport card. Learn more about US Passport Cards.