New US Passport Changes to Become Effective January 1
Effective January 1, 2016, Americans will no longer have the option of adding extra pages to their passport after filling up the existing pages. Due to “security concerns,” according to the U.S. State Department, the new passport changes will give frequent travelers an alternative to requesting extra passport pages.
When applying for a passport, travelers who fly frequently will be able to opt for a new 52-page passport, offering almost two times as many pages as the current 28-page passport. The 52-page passport and current 28-page passport will both be available to travelers beginning January 1, each costing $110.
Other Passport Changes: Mobile Passport App
In addition to the doing away with extra passport changes, a new mobile passport app may become the alternative to typical passports within the next year. Mobile Passport, available for iPhone and Android, allows users to keep passport information on their phones, use a “selfie” to verify their identities, and obtain a digital receipt to present at security and customs, making the entire customs process much quicker and more convenient.
Currently, the Mobile Passport app is available at five U.S. airports including Atlanta, Chicago-O’Hare, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle, and it is planned to expand to an additional 20 U.S. airports in 2016.
Other Passport Changes: Revoking International Travel for Those Behind on Their Taxes
In another move affecting international travel, Congress is considering a new bill that would grant the State Department the right to withhold passports of anyone owing more than $50,000 to the IRS. There are certain exceptions, but some American expats could be greatly affected if the new bill is passed. If passed, this rule will become effective January 1, 2016.
Don’t Forget Current Passport Rules
In addition to any of these new changes that will or may go into effect beginning next year, also be sure to keep track of current rules and restrictions regarding international travel with your passport. Depending on your criminal history, past flight history, or remaining passport validity, you could face some inconveniences while traveling or be prohibited from leaving and/or entering certain countries.