Integrity Legal

22nd June 2009

A common misconception among Americans is the idea that a United States Citizen is only allowed to obtain one Passport. Strictly speaking, this is not true. An American Citizen may obtain a second United States passport, provided they have a valid reason for doing so.

The relevant regulations currently manifest the long held position of the American State Department that no one ought to posses more than one bona fide United States passport at any time, unless the person is expressly permitted to do so by the State Department. The State Department recognizes that there are extenuating circumstances in which it may be necessary for one US Citizen to have two passports.

Allocation of a second passport is deemed to be a special dispensation and therefore a rare exception to normal State Department protocol. For this reason, issuance of second passports will only be approved after the applicant shows a justifiable reason why the duplicate travel document should be issued. Unlike some countries that issue second passports which are restricted to certain regions, an American second passport can be utilized for traveling anywhere on the planet in the same manner as a normal US passport. However, second United States passports will only be issued with a maximum validity of two years. At one time, second passports were able to be extended. Today, the validity of second passport cannot be extended.  Should a secondary passport expire, then a new passport application must be tendered in order to receive another secondary passport.

In cases where one is curious about obtaining a second passport, first understand that this is not something that the State Department does lightly. One must show a truly compelling reason to issue a second passport. In the past, people obtained second passports with relative ease. Today, it would seem that the State Department heavily scrutinizes those seeking a second passport and will make every effort to ensure that those seeking said travel document are doing so for a legitimate reason.

The reason for the heightened caution with regard to second passports probably has something to do with the increased administrative work that likely goes into keeping track of those Citizens who have dual passports. Further, immigration offices around the world, including Thai Immigration, often use an entrant’s passport number as a reference for that person while in the country. This would not be the only reference, but the presence of two passport numbers could make clerical work more difficult.

Understand that obtaining a second passport is not the same as obtaining additional US visa pages. Many expatriates need to obtain additional visa pages due to the fact that they have used all of their visa pages while being stamped in and out of various foreign countries. As a courtesy, most United States diplomatic missions will replace visa pages free of charge.

For more information about second US passports please see this link

For more information about American Visas from Thailand please see K-1 visa Thailand

(Please note that nothing in this post should be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this post.)


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.