Our passports were stolen almost 4 years ago when our house was burglarized. Since passports are good for 10 years and we knew that we would be doing a lot of traveling, we requested the larger passport with more pages. A normal passport has 28 pages with 17 blank pages available for visas and entry/exit stamps. The larger passport has 52 pages with 43 blank pages. That may seem like a lot, but when traveling to countries such as China, they will use one full page just for their visa and most of another one for entry/exit stamps.
Why are blank pages important? Some countries have restrictions that may prevent you from entering the country if you don’t have enough blank pages in your passport. Sometimes, they even need to be consecutive pages. If you don’t have enough pages, you could be turned away or deported, so you should check your passport before taking any international trips. If you are running out of blank pages and your passport is expiring soon, it’s best to get a new passport. However, if you have several years left on your passport, but you’re starting to fill it up, you can have additional pages added. You could use any of the passport services that you find through an online search, but it’s probably just as easy and cheaper to submit it yourself.
You will need to send your passport, along with form DS-4085 and a check or money order for $82*, to the passport processing center in Philadelphia. The address is on the form. Alternatively, you can call 1-877-487-2778 and schedule an appointment at one of the 27 regional passport agencies in the U.S and submit your passport in person. You can have 24 or 48 blank visa pages added for the same price. Expedited service is available for an additional fee. If you are overseas when you run out of pages, you’ll need to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
* current fee at time this was written.