The U.S. Department of State has announced that they will no longer add passport visa pages to U.S. Passports. The new visa page rule will go into effect on January 1st, 2016. Previously travelers had the option to add additional visa pages to their valid passport. The additional visa pages came at a fee of $82 ($142 for expedited applications) and would be added in packets of 24 additional pages. Travelers would add visa pages to their passport when they ran out of room for entry and exit stamps and visas. However with the new rule in place, all passports issued now will be the 28 page book with the option to select 52-page passport book for no extra cost.

Why is the U.S. Department of State no longer adding visa pages to passports? The decision was largely based on security concerns and the desire to implement higher security standards that fit more in line with international passport regulations.

Will this news impact passport processing times? It is likely that on top of the usual spike in applications and processing times around the holidays, passport applications will increase because of this announcement. Anytime there is a surge in passport applications, the processing times go up.

If you’d like to add visa pages to your passport, you have until December 31, 2015.  Beginning January 1, 2016, all U.S. passport applicants that want to add pages will need to apply for a new passport. If your passport is less than 5 years expired, you can apply for a passport renewal and request the 52-page book. If your passport is more than 5 years expired you will need to apply for a new adult passport request the 52-page book.