Thursday, July 15, 2010

Additional Passport Pages

I got my passport back from the State Department. I sent it to Philadelphia, PA on 6/29 and it was supposed to take 4-6 weeks so I was surprised to receive it back today. Interestingly (or not), it was mailed back to me from Charleston, SC. There was only one address to send in the passport... did the office in PA resend my passport to SC to be processed? Not too efficient if that's the case.

My passport was issued back in 2006 so it's the older version (no chip) with the soft cover and light blue pages. There are only 14 pages for visas and stamps (pages 8 through 21). With visas taking up an entire page, I was already on page 19. I heard that if you only have one set of pages left, the Chinese consulate won't issue you a visa. The insert adds 23 pages (not counting the "cover") so I should be good until my passport expires in 2016. The new pages are the same as the ones in the "new" passport so they have background pictures on each page.

My current Chinese L (tourist) visa expired on Tuesday to I have to spend $140 on another one if I'm going to go to China in September. It will be my 5th Chinese visa in the same passport... which means I'm carrying a ~$800 booklet. At least these extra pages were free since I sent it in before the State Department started charging $82 for the service. Seems like a lot of money for a few pages of color paper, though they sew it into your current passport nicely.


I took a picture of my passport showing the different pages and was going to upload it here... then I noticed that one of the expired China visas was visible and you can see my passport number. I was too lazy to blur it so no pics.

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