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Second Passport Tips

How to Get Your Own Second Passport

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted January 6, 2015

Do you need a second passport?

If you do, you’re in great company.

Consider Albert Einstein, who opted for a second passport in 1933 to better his odds of becoming a U.S. citizen after the Nazi regime raided his house, confiscated his property, and seized his bank accounts.

Or Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, who used his second passport to build a residency in Austria, where he intends to live and become a full-fledged citizen.

There are a myriad of reasons for wanting a second passport, and few of them have anything to do with evading hostile political regimes or buying and living in huge mansions in the Alps.

Let’s examine the “whys” and the “hows” of second passports and see if they don’t help you expedite your need for an additional passport.

You Might Need a Second Passport If...

You spend a lot of time in other countries — If you’re a student studying abroad or if your professional career takes you to various international bourses, a second passport can help, especially in countries that require a student or business visa. As processing times for those visas can take a while, a second passport buys you time while the country in question handles your paperwork and processes your visa.

You plan to open foreign financial accounts — A second passport can also help if you plan to open foreign bank or brokerage accounts overseas. Again, they can buy you time as you go through the process of either gaining a visa or establishing second residency — two proven ways for foreign financial institutions to clear regulatory requirements and open accounts for you right away.

You want more political flexibility — Having a second passport gives you an out if the U.S government (or any government in a country you’re visiting) targets you in its crosshairs and, for whatever reason, revokes or cancels your passport.

You want more lifestyle flexibility — Owning an extra passport paves the way for residence in another country, which essentially gives you another place to legally hang your hat in the event you want or need to leave the U.S.

The most common reason many Americans need a second passport is that foreign countries require their first passport for visa processing, which can take weeks at a time.

If this sounds like a solution to an international travel problem you’ve experienced, you’ll need to take some actionable, concrete steps to gain that all-important second visa.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing just that:

Step #1: Acquire the necessary documentation — Here's what you’ll need for a second passport:

  • A valid U.S. passport
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of identity
  • Passport photo

Step #2: State your case — You’ll need a letter to the U.S. State Department detailing your reasons for needing a second passport (i.e., you’re applying for a visa in another country and that country needs your first passport for application processing).

Step #3: Get the right government forms — You’ll need to fill out Form DS-11 “Application for a U.S. Passport” through the U.S. State Department. Make sure to fill out the form completely, but don’t sign and deliver it until you’ve completed the entire passport submission process.

Step #4: Go to an approved agent — After completing Form DS-11, head to the nearest passport agency or “accepted agent” facility (you’ll likely have good luck with your local post office) and bring all the documents you need to get your passport application approved (see the list above). Also bring an itinerary for any specific trips you’re taking that require a second passport, including copies of airline tickets and travel dates.

Step #5: Get approved agent sign-off — Once you have an appointment with a passport agency or accepted agent (an appointment is highly advisable, as you may not be able to walk in off the street and get the help you need), produce your application and sign it, but only after you gain approval from the accepted agent.

Step #6: Pay any necessary fees — Once the application is signed off and ready to roll, pay any fees attached to the passport application. If you’re using an online or outside source for help, expect to pay between $70 and $300 (the price goes up the quicker you need the passport). You’ll also have to pay the standard U.S. State Department fee of $110 ($170 for expedited processing) before you can get sign-off. You may need a personal check or money order for the State Department fee, although some passport agencies can process your fee via credit or debit card.

Note that restrictions on second passports are different from first passports.

For example, second passports are only legitimate for two years and cannot be renewed. You’ll need to go through the whole process to get another one after the two years are up.

You can, however, add additional visa pages to a second legitimate passport.

Getting a second passport can be a big help for busy international travelers. Just plan it out, use your checklist to make sure you’re on track, and — like Einstein and Wozniak — you, too, can add to your travel wanderlust.

Until next time,

Brian O'Connell for Wealth Daily

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