What Happens If You Run Out of Passport Pages?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Mon Dec 4 2023

When you apply for a passport, you have two options. The first type of passport book has 28 pages and is best for people who travel infrequently. The second option has 52 pages and is best for regular travelers who need enough room for visa pages. Regardless of your passport choice, you will likely run out of passport pages at some point. So, what happens if you run out of passport pages?


What Happens If You Run Out of Passport Pages?

Whenever you leave the U.S. and enter a foreign country, customs officials must stamp your passport to record this movement. They do this on the passport pages such that anyone who looks at your passport can tell when you entered and left a country. Failure to get these stamps is a crime. Moreover, customs officials will not allow you into a country if your passport pages are full or are not enough to meet the blank page requirement in the destination.

Passport pages fall into two categories. The first is the visa pages, which customs officials use for entry and exit stamps. The second is the endorsement pages, which contain unique information regarding your entry. Customs officials can still use these pages, but not for visa stamps. So, when your passport pages are full, the endorsement pages cannot serve the role of the visa pages.

So, what should you do if your passport pages are full? Before January 2016, the U.S. government allowed passport holders to add more pages to their passports without getting new passports. However, since 2016, this has no longer been possible as the passport authorities wanted to increase passport security by barring the addition of pages. Now, your only option is to renew your current passport to get a new one with 28 or 52 pages.


What Happens If You Run Out of Passport Pages While Traveling?

Travel often paves the way for other opportunities. For example, your trip to Canada may be so exciting that you decide to get on a cruise to Mexico, only to realize you don’t have enough passport pages to fly back to the U.S. So, what happens if you run out of passport pages while traveling? You have two options in this case:

  1. Renew your passport: An easy way to deal with running out of pages in your passport is to apply for a new one. You can do this through the nearest embassy or consulate. Note that you will need to submit your current passport for processing.
  2. Get an emergency passport: If you are short on time and need to continue with your journey or fly back to the U.S., you can get a limited-validity passport within days from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. This passport allows you to buy time before you can renew your passport once you are in the U.S.

You may wonder, “What if my passport is full but not expired?” Even if your passport is still valid, you need to renew it to increase its visa pages.

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How Many Blank Pages Needed in a Passport?

While your passport may have a few pages left, it may not be valid for international travel due to blank page requirements. So, how many blank pages needed in a passport? This question depends on the following factors:

  1. The destination: Countries have different blank page requirements. For example, if your passport has one blank page and you want to visit a country that needs two pages, you can get turned back at customs.
  2. The number of destinations: Suppose you want to visit two countries, which require at least two blank pages each. If you have three blank pages, the first destination may deny your entry as your passport does not meet the blank page requirement in the next destination.

The best way to avoid issues at border crossings is to renew any passport running out of pages before your next trip.


How To Get More Passport Pages?

Dealing with a passport running out of pages is relatively easy, as you can renew the passport and continue with your trip. Here is how to get more passport pages:

  1. Check if you are eligible for passport renewal: Your passport should be in good condition, issued in the last 15 years, and have full validity. Additionally, you should have been 16 when getting the passport and should have documentation supporting your legal name change (where applicable).
  2. Submit the required documents to the nearest passport office: You need a complete DS-82 form, two passport photos, and your most recent passport.
  3. Pay the renewal fees and wait.

You should get a new passport in ten to thirteen weeks using routine processing. But with TVP, you can expedite the process to just a few days.