INSIDER SECRET: If your current passport has stamps for specific countries or you need to send it away for visas while continuing to travel, getting a second passport may be right for you.

Most US citizens won’t ever need to have two valid US passports at a time, but there are some people who would benefit from having two. It’s not widely known, but you can actually get two — if you meet one of the conditions.

Eligibility

Here are the circumstances in which you’re eligible for a second passport:

  1. If you have a stamp from a country which will deny you entrance to another. For example, Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon will deny entry if an Israeli stamp or visa is found in your passport.*
  2. If frequent international travel makes it difficult for you to send away your passport for a visa because you need it to visit another country.
  3. If your job requires you to travel constantly, such as a pilot or reporter.

*Israel doesn’t typically stamp passports anymore. However, this is a fairly recent change and we’ve heard reports of MMS readers still having their passports stamped at Israel land crossings.

How to Get Your Second Passport

In order to apply for the second passport, you’ll have to show proof that one of these situations applies to you. This should come in the form of a statement that clearly outlines the reasons why you need a second passport and any supporting documents that can prove it, like the relevant visa stamp or flight documents. Additionally, you’ll have to bring along your original passport, a second government-issued ID, two new passport photos (not the same ones in your original passport), a completed copy of the DS-82 passport form, and the fee ($110, or $170 if you need it expedited).

While you can apply for your second passport via mail, in person or through an agency, we’ve heard reports of some readers having their primary passport canceled when applying through mail, so it may be best to try to go in person or let an external company handle it. Make sure the timing is right, too, because you’ll have to submit your original passport, which will keep you from traveling internationally until you get it back (hopefully alongside your brand-new second passport).

If you’re applying while abroad, some US embassies may not be familiar with this procedure, so you’ll have to make it abundantly clear that this is a second passport and that you still need to keep your primary passport active.

But Will it Get Approved?

When you submit an application for a second US passport, there are no guarantees you’ll get it. If you’re approved, expect to wait four to six weeks to receive your second passport unless you paid the $170 for an expedited one. To check the status of your application, you can fill in your last name, birth date, and last four digits of your Social Security number here and click “submit.”

Once You Have Your Second Passport, Do This

Your second passport will have its own number and is valid for four years (recently changed from only two). Remember that if you have Global Entry and you plan to travel using your second passport, you’ll have to log into your Trusted Traveler account to change your passport number in the Update Documents section. Don’t forget to change it back afterward, too. It may be possible to save both passport numbers in your Trusted Traveler account. In order to do this, you’ll need help from a staff member at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.