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28 replies
U.S. PASSPORT FEES (NEW)
funkyj
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Sorry in advance admins, but not sure where to put this so many will see (feel free to move this where ever):

Just a heads up, I went to renew my US Passport today and luckily I got in just before the fee changes.
As of July 13, all the fees will me increasing.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: extra pages will NO LONGER be FREE, instead it will be 83 bucks for extras. Luckily, the chick noticed my book was full and told me to handwrite a letter requesting a larger booklet be sent due to my extensive traveling. So, go to your passport service offices now to add pages NOW.

Smile

Don
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Thanks for the heads-up. I knew fees were increasing, but did not realize that adding pages was going to cost me in the future. http://travel.state….

Cil
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Thanks Funky, I meant to post this, but forgot.
And it’s too late for my spouse, he let his passport expire.

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shock horror, OMG it’s gonna cost more.

Oh shit I only have an Aussie one with enough pages for a few years, what will I do??

funkyj
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Cil wrote:
Thanks Funky, I meant to post this, but forgot. And it’s too late for my spouse, he let his passport expire.

Cil, my passport expired back in October and I just went to renew (in person) yesterday… He can still do it!

Kayling05
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Fortunately, my passport doesn’t expire til 2017 so I’ve still got a while…

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
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Cil
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funkyj wrote:
Cil wrote:
Thanks Funky, I meant to post this, but forgot. And it’s too late for my spouse, he let his passport expire.

Cil, my passport expired back in October and I just went to renew (in person) yesterday… He can still do it!


Thanks Funky, he says he’ll do it tomorrow. Smile

luv_the_beach
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funkyj,

Do you think extra pages are worth it? My passport expires in 2011, which means I gotta get started with renewing it. In that time I’ve had it, I’ve traveled almost entirely to/from and within Schengen. So that probably explain my few entry/exit tamps. You have been to Thailand, Australia, India, etc. Even so, do you think that you’re starting to run out of pages?


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Cil
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Luv, FWIW: My kid ended up having to get extra pages, and other than a couple trips, he was almost exclusively within Schengen.

Don
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Visas, and the visa process, take up lots of pages. 1 visa covers an entire page, and “paperwork received” stamps take up an entire page, and temporary enter/leave permissions (while they take forever to renew your visa) take up an entire page. I’ve got 2 years left on my current passport and I’m not sure I’m going to make it without getting even more pages added.

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Eric,
As Don said, visas take up pages, I had one for Australia and one for India. When I handed my passport over the other day I had ONLY the back page left…. I too have traveled mostly within the Schengen… Also, every time I have flown into London and then took the Eurostar to Belgium (and reverse), that is another stamp. There were more times than not that I did not get a stamp, one time being in Italy when I simply walked through the wrong line (oops, said EU peeps).

A passport lasts 10 years and I plan on getting a LOT of travel in by time I am 40! After that I suppose I will settle down. So yeah, it is worth it to get extra pages before they start charging.

Smile

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Oh man it never occurred to me that I might run out of pages before mine expires, but this is a distinct possibility! It sucks too how some officials don’t care if they take up 4 boxes with one misplaced stamp. I’ve found the Europeans are usually good about not doing this, but the Americans are practically braindead about it.

Actually come to think of it, my passport is pretty beat up, too. I got mine a year or two before they started making them more sturdy, so it’s kind of all bent up and stuff since I keep it exclusively in my moneybelt while abroad.

Although, another thing I’ve found a bit strange is how some places just randomly DON’T stamp your passport. Last year I flew Icelandair from Boston to Keflavik to Munich and while I got entry and exit stamps in Iceland, I got nothing in Germany. In fact the only two stamps I received last year were in Iceland, and I didn’t even leave the airport!

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Feicht, my guess is that since Iceland is part of Schengen, you cleared Schengen border control there. Used to be I’d clear Schengen border at ultimate (Schengen) destination, but I’ve honestly lost track in recent years. The US, on the other hand, does border control at first point of entry — except when originating from some airports in Canada and Ireland (and maybe a few Caribbean, IIRC) which have US border pre-clearance.

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Feight,

What Don said is exactly what happened. Because Iceland and Germany are both in the Schengen zone of countries, you entered the zone through Iceland. You only get stamped at the country where you enter Schengen, and once you’re inside the Schengen zone, you do not get stamped as you travel between Schengen countries. The Schengen Agreement was signed by several European countries and it entails hassle-free travel between countries that have signed the agreement:

Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

Flights between Schengen countries are treated as domestic flights, and the same goes for overland travel between Schengen countries (although they do sometimes spot check passports to catch illegal immigrants).

Schengen is not the same thing as the European Union, so don’t let that confuse you. Some Schengen countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland) are not EU members, and some EU members (Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria) are not in Schengen (although Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania are slated to join soon). And then there’s the EEA (European Economic Area) to make things more confusing, but this only pertains to EU/EEA residents, not visitors (a Norwegian citizen, for example, can live and work in the EU, even though Norway is not in the EU).

Don/funkyj/Cil:

Yeah, that makes sense. Visas do take up an entire page. I can also see now how Cil’s son got his passport filled up even by only traveling to/from/within Schengen: sometimes customs officials in both Europe and the US will stamp on a random spot on the page, taking up more than one box! I guess it also depends on how often you leave/enter Schengen as well.


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Luv,

That makes sense. A couple years ago though I had an actual problem when I landed in France and didn’t get stamped, then connected to Barcelona where I didn’t get stamped either. Later on in my trip, I tried to walk into Poland from Germany (Poland wasn’t yet part of Schengen I believe) and I damn near created an international incident with the border guards trying to figure how how I was in Europe without having received an entry stamp anywhere.

It’s kind of funny too because they stamped my passport at the border crossing leaving Germany, entering Poland, and re-entering Germany… in a manner that makes it look like I somehow arrived in Europe at Goerlitz, Germany.

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Your stamp should have a date on there, so it should be fairly obvious that your German exit stamp preceded your German entry stamp, and that your entry into Schengen was unstamped. I’ve entered Schengen through Paris Charles de Gaulle quite a few times, and they used to be lax on US passport-holders, just waiving us in. These past few years, it appears they’re been doing it properly. Sucks that something minor like this can cause you issues down the road.


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Feicht
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Yeah it was pretty crazy. When I arrived at CDG we were just all waved through because it was busier than hell. I basically got detained by guys with guns who apparently thought I was a terrorist that swam across the Atlantic or something. I couldn’t speak German very well back then so I didn’t know what was going on either, so it was kind of scary. Although I guess I’m lucky it happened in Europe and I got a stamp and everything, because coming back into America is usually a bigger hassle than anywhere else; I couldn’t imagine coming back with no passport-stamped proof that I’d actually left. One time, they gave me a hard time and basically threatened to strip search me when I wouldn’t go get “my other bag”; they didn’t believe me that I had been in Europe for a month and a half with just a backpack.

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Don
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Individual countries do have some discretion on how they want to enforce Schengen border laws. I have heard that some are quite lax with American passports, I guess because they generally pose little threat. Border controls can be tightened, too. Denmark tightened the border and customs control at Oresund Bridge during the Copenhagen climate summit. Not only are DK and SE both Schengen, but they have an additional economic and border alliance with other Nordic countries. Another example that comes to mind: in September crossing from NL to DE on train, after the first stop in Germany, plainclothes police boarded and checked every single passenger’s ID card or passport. I asked why; he said custom and border police. IIRC they had a dog, so probably sniffing for drugs on a train originating from the Netherlands.

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I hadn’t thought about this until Feicht brought it up, but does anyone know if they normally do extra searches on people with only carry-on’s for international flights? I’ve flown domestically with only a carry-on with no problem (everyone seems to do this nowadays to avoid the luggage fees) but internationally there is still a 1 free checked bag rule on most airlines. Is it seen as “weird” or “suspicious” when you don’t check a bag to go abroad?

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
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Good question. I’ve never checked a bag in my entire life, so I can’t really speak to whether my experience overall is more or less normal. I can’t really see how they would even know though unless they asked.

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I mean, when you check in with the airline and you don’t check any bags, can’t the airline flag you for further search on your boarding pass? I dunno, I heard that somewhere. Like, because they think it’s suspicious you aren’t checking any bags (also heard they can do this if you’re taking a 1-way flight, or if you paid with cash, or something else suspicious, since these are all terrorist-y things to do apparently). I’m a pretty boring looking white girl, so I doubt they’d flag me, but my ex (who is a pretty boring looking white dude, albeit kinda scruffy looking) ALWAYS got extra checks when going through security, so who knows?

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
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I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

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2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
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Interesting! I never thought about that. I don’t think I look especially “terroristy” but I guess I do look kind of rough… haha. Perhaps what keeps the pickpockets at bay might perturb airline security?

But really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen airport searches (in my situation) be anything but random. Hell, I’m not even convinced their x-ray machines even work properly because of this; a few years ago a friend and I flew across the pond with basically the exact same bag with the exact same luggage (including one aluminum tin of hookah tobacco each for a German friend) and my friend “set off” the alarm thing, whereas I didn’t. So I had to stand there for 15 minutes while they tore his stuff apart and lectured him about not bringing metal containers on a flight, while I stood there with the same guilty material in my own bag as well… un-harried by security.

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There has been many a time on a flight where I’ve forgotten to take out my 3-1-1 bag, or accidentally left something else liquid in my bag (typically makeup), or had something they think is too sharp (like nail scissors) and they’ve never done anything, I never get stopped. Don’t the extra searches sometimes have to do with your name being similar to someone on the black list? My ex’s name is fairly common (last name Smith) so maybe that’s why he normally gets stopped. My name is fairly unique so I dunno; I doubt there are any random terrorists named Kaylin or similar, lol.

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
London, Salisbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Inverness, Edinburgh, London
Requesting help with Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Rouen with $1500 for 15 days
Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

2008—Language study abroad in Paris, France
2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
2011— Teaching English in South Korea
2012— ????

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Interesting story, Feicht. All this security stuff does seem so random.
I never check a bag either, always do carry-on. The last time I traveled to Europe solo I felt REALLY scrutinized. This was in 2006, before the 3-1-1 rule.
Leaving the States out of Memphis, as well as and coming back home from Amsterdam, I was pulled out of line, wanded, questioned in private, etc.
I am a 50-something white woman who smiles too much. I have a weird last name, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I never did figure out the reason why they kept after me—there probably was no special reason at all. But I wondered about the fact that I just had a backpack.

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That’s interesting! I’ve always seen having extra luggage as just an unneeded annoyance, really. Unfortunately this next trip I take, I will be there for a year, so I actually have to bring a checked bag as well. If I get stripsearched then, I’m not sure what that will say about our theories here, haha. Although, I will have a one-way ticket, so I’m going to have to be sure have all my residency permit info and stuff on my person.

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The whole “terrorists only have carry-ons because they don’t need checked baggage” thing seems sort of ridiculous to me. If somebody’s planning on blowing up a plane with the c4 in their fanny pack, they probably wouldn’t feel any terrible loss if they destroyed a wardrobe along with it.

When everyone knows that airline security personnel are looking for cash-paying one-way-ticket-wielding carry-on-only bearded-and-keffiyeh’d men…the terrorists (and this is only my guess) will probably do their best to avoid those flag-raisers. So if I ever get strip-searched and detained because I’m able to pack everything into a small Kelty…well, guess that sucks for me!

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Well, the guy who tried to blow up the plane on Christmas was a one-way-ticket (paid in cash) carry-on-only guy. He didn’t have a beard but he did have explosives in his shorts, so I guess that whole no checked bags thing is still a pretty good indicator.

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
London, Salisbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Inverness, Edinburgh, London
Requesting help with Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Rouen with $1500 for 15 days
Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

2008—Language study abroad in Paris, France
2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
2011— Teaching English in South Korea
2012— ????

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great! funkyj thanks for posting this and letting us know

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Thanks 4 the info funky i didnt no the pricing had gone up spam link removed by moderator