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Should I renew my passport and can I keep my old one?

by Geraldine
(Kula, Maui Hawaii)

Question: My passport expires in 5 years from now. However, I travel a lot and only have 2 (not consecutive) blank pages left and India requires a visa -- and two consecutive pages. However, I have my Chinese Visa in my current passport and would will be traveling back to China next year.

Time frame of my travel plans:
November this year- Japan/China
January next year- India (visa required, need two consecutive pages for their visa)
March/April next year- China (I have a multiple entry visa that expires next year)

It appears that I need to renew my passport to get an India visa stamp for my travel in January because I do not have two consecutive pages for the stamp.

However, I still need my old (existing) passport because it has my Chinese visa stamp and I will be traveling to China November and March or April next year.

What shall I do?

Answer: Effective January 1, 2016, The U.S. Department of State no longer issues additional visa pages. This service has been discontinued to enhance the security of U.S. Passports and to adhere to international passport standards.

So even if your passport has 5 years of validity left, you would have to apply for a passport renewal.

China also requires 2 blank visa pages for entry so you will need to do this before your November trip. Since routine renewal service takes 4-6 weeks, you will need to expedite the process.

Expedited renewal by mail will take 2-3 weeks so you might not get the new passport in time using this method. Your best option will be to apply at the Honolulu Passport Agency or through a private passport expediter. I recommend applying for the 52-page passport instead of the regular 28-page version.

You may apply for an India visa once you return.

The old passport with the valid China visa will be returned to you. You may verify via the Chinese consulate whether you need to apply for a transfer of the visa to the new passport or if you can simply present both the new passport and the old one with the visa.

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