Embassies of the United States, including the US Embassy in Beijing will discontinue adding pages to American passports as of December 31, 2015, with holders required to apply for new documents after that point, the US Embassy informed the Beijinger by email.
"For cost and security reasons, the U.S. Department of State has begun phasing out the option of additional visa pages for US passports. Beginning October 1, 2014, all Embassies/Consulates worldwide will issue only 52-page passport books for full-validity passports. The thinner 28-page book option is no longer available. Requests for additional visa pages will be accepted for existing passports only through December 31, 2015. Starting January 1, 2016, applicants who need extra pages will need to apply to renew their passports and be issued the standard 52-page book," the US Embassy posted.
For US passport holders, this sucks. Whereas adding pages to an existing passport is currently a 20-minute errand at the US Citizen Services offices, it’s now about to become the same hassle that citizens of other countries including the UK must accept. Fifty-two pages provides quite a bit of room for entry and exit stamps and visas, but for frequent travelers, it means applying for a new passport much sooner than the 10-year validity permits.
Travelers, especially Beijing-based, frequent, international travelers will now have to plan for their annual 10 business-day visa renewal, plus the occasional passport renewal. Holders of a 10-year China visa may find themselves not one, but two passports beyond the original that holds the visa itself. Don’t forget to take off your belt and shoes.
A version of this article appeared on theBeijinger.com on September 3, 2015.
This article is first appeared on theBeijinger.com on December 2, 2015.