Full Passport Already?
As a full time traveler and part time freelancer I never thought this day would come, but my passport is full. This post is all about how to get a new American passport, tips about passport renewal, and also how to get a new passport once it has become full. Without further ado, lets get into it.
I am an American and have been traveling extensively for the last four years. I feel extremely thankful for all of this travel and have used my passport privilege to really explore and make travel and experiences my top priority. I am not just a tourist though I might add, I am a traveler. I work abroad and do things such as volunteering, workaways, teaching, community events, and travel with local experiences in mind. Because of this over the years I have had a lot of opportunities in different countries, which has allowed me to explore different cultures through slow travel and in the end get a full passport. What to do when your passport is full
For American nationalities who get a full passport, regardless of if it is expired or not you will need to apply for a new passport. There were a lot of mixed things I read about this topic online, but from first hand experience if your passport is full, you have to get a completely new passport. You cannot just add additional pages. If the passport is full, then it is time to get a brand new one. If your passport is full and not expired, you must get a new one. (American nationalities)
How to get a new passport
The things you will need to apply for a new passport are very straight forward. It is the same process as when you got the passport to begin with, however if you are abroad while your passport becomes full it gets a bit trickier. Here is what you need to know: If your passport becomes full while you are traveling abroad you need to apply for a new passport as soon as possible. Getting a new passport will take approximately 2-3 weeks, so plan accordingly. Next, research the nearest U.S consulate in the country you are in and check out their website. See if you are eligible for mail in services for a new passport. If not, make an appointment ASAP and apply in person. After you have either checked for mail in services for passport renewal or in person then you will need to do the following:
- Passport photo 2x2 inches plain background taken within the last 6 months
- fill out the passport renewal form (available on the consulate's website or at the consulate)
- Reliable address to mail your old and receive new passport at
- 130- 160 USD can pay with local currency, USD, or credit cards (Visa and mastercard only usually. The fee for the passport varies depending on the shipping cost for the country you are currently in.)
Tip of advice: As soon as you realize that your passport is or will be full you must plan accordingly. Because while you are waiting for a new passport, they will cancel your current passport, meaning you cannot travel, fly, or go abroad while you wait. I highly recommend you keep track of how many pages are left in your passport and ensure that you have around 2-3 full pages left when you apply for a new passport.
The reason is because, once your passport becomes this full many countries will deny entry or just refuse to stamp entrance. Because of this, its important to think ahead. When you realize you have two pages left, you will need to stay put to wait for about a month to apply for a new passport and receive your new passport.
When you apply for a new passport they will keep your old passport while they are processing your new one. While you wait for your new one, you cannot fly or apply for any new visas. Make sure while you wait you have a plan that will accommodate the 2-3 week waiting period. Such as accommodation and a visa. Expert Advice: For frequent travelers, when you fill out your application you can apply for the frequent traveler passport at no extra cost. When you fill out the form select the 52 page passport, rather than the 28 page passport. It is no extra cost, and if you frequently travel it is best to select this option.
This full passport kind of surprised me, as I never knew it would become full so fast. In my head, I was thinking my passport is valid for ten years, so the thoughts of it becoming full did not cross my mind. In fact, I hadn't even realized it was full until, well it was full. You might be wondering okay, so your passport is full, where did you travel to? I got to travel to: Mexico Cayman Islands
Singapore Some people have said to me, I was expecting for it to be more countries. Why is it so full? The reason is I visited Thailand and Laos so many times as well as different work visas for Thailand. In South East Asia, it is very common for visas to take a full page. When I reflect on my full passport it has got me reminiscing my travels and I must say, I feel so extremely thankful. I wouldn't change anything and to travel is to experience the world and has left me with more curiosity than when I began this journey. I don't regret this lifestyle and in fact I hope that my adventurous spirit inspires others to get out of their comfort zone and see and try something new too. I get that travel can be daunting and intimidating, but instead of wondering what if, try thinking of now. I personally don't wish to live a life with regrets or what ifs and somedays. This philosophy and way of thinking has changed my perspective tremendously to be proactive and just go for it. For my life, I don't want to be old and be thinking of all the dreams I never pursued, so instead I am living them in the now. You can dream big and dream anything you desire, the real win in life is to actually give it a go. Check out my guides on how to go abroad here. Get your free checklist on how to go abroad and what you will need before moving abroad here.
It is a rather spontaneous approach, but leaves me with no what ifs and somedays, but instead endless stories of my experiences. I dream it and dream it into existence. Why? It is simply because I do not fear the failure or the tribulations that pursuing your dreams will take. Failing is all apart of life, and it actually is a fast approach to learn as you go. I enjoy slow travel the most, which is why I don't have a bucket list. I prefer this method as it allows me to adapt to the culture, learn some of the language, make local friends, and also get involved in the community.
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Overall, I have found that slow travel has allowed me to integrate into countries more and create relationships. Furthermore, slow travel allows for a deeper understanding of the place you are residing in. I lived for three whole years in Thailand, but didn't stay in just one city. I lived in the North for about a year, in the central area in a village outside of Bangkok, and in the tourist area in the South on an island. All of these experiences allowed me to learn a lot about the different regions of Thailand, the different ethnic groups, different Thai accents, and the differences in food. Thailand is an extremely popular destination for travelers, yet many stick to the exact same locations. I realized this early on when arriving to Thailand, which is why I chose to live in a village for around a year. I lived in the province of Nakon Pathom and you can check out the guide here. I wanted to live here for numerous reasons including: language learning, local culture, small town feel, cheaper cost of living, accessibility to Bangkok, and for a simpler lifestyle. For those who want to explore Thailand I have travel guides on more destinations you can visit here.
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