Have you seen those spy movies where a protagonist has a safe-deposit box with multiple passports and a few wads of cash in multiple currencies? You know, the ones that usually have a few high-speed car chases and a shootout in the end?
Although these films are usually a lot of fun, it’s unclear how the character got all those passports and carried loaded firearms across international borders. Of course, this is all just a movie.
These Hollywood tales may have you wondering whether someone can have multiple passports in real life. Although we can’t explain everything you see in Hollywood films, we can help you find out how many passports a person can have.
How many passports can you have?
The U.S. is one of more than 60 countries that don’t prevent their citizens from simultaneously holding citizenship of another country, be it by birth, descent or naturalization.
So if you’re a U.S. citizen who is also a citizen of another country, you can hold two passports at once. In fact, it’s possible to hold three or four passports if you’re a citizen of multiple countries.
Because not all nations allow dual citizenship, including India, Japan or Kazakhstan, you should check whether the other countries’ laws permit dual nationality to make sure your paperwork is legal.
Advantages of dual citizenship
Being a citizen of two or more countries at once comes with some unique advantages, including:
You can live and work freely in both countries without time limitations or applying for visas. In other words, you can avoid the lengthy and costly process of obtaining visas and work permits before moving to and being able to work in another country.
You can receive medical treatment or education in either country.
You can avoid visa fees if one of the passports you hold doesn’t require a visa for a certain destination.
You can choose which passport to use if a country you want to visit imposes travel restrictions on one of the countries whose passport you hold.
Can a U.S. citizen have more than one passport?
Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to hold passports from multiple countries simultaneously, you might be wondering, “Can you have two passports from the same country?”
You are allowed to hold two U.S. passport books at once if you meet the following criteria:
You could be denied entry to a country because there’s proof in your passport showing you’ve traveled to certain countries.
You travel extensively and need to apply for multiple visas at once.
You submitted a passport for visa processing, but it hasn’t come back in time for your next trip overseas.
You need a special validation for travel to a restricted area or country.
It’s possible that some of these situations may apply to you at one point. For example, you mailed your passport to the Consulate General of Algeria in New York for a group trip later in the year, but it wasn’t returned in time for your upcoming family vacation in the Dominican Republic.
Another scenario is you want to visit certain Middle East countries, like Lebanon, but you’ve traveled to Israel and there’s evidence of the trip in your passport, even though Israel doesn’t issue passport stamps.
Let’s say that you crossed a land border between Aqaba, Jordan, and Eilat, Israel, and have a stamp from Jordan. The only way you could have obtained that stamp is by crossing a land border from Israel, and to Lebanese immigration officers, that’s considered proof of travel to Israel and you may be denied entry.
Traveling with two passports can help you avoid potential crossing issues, especially if your goal is to visit as many countries as possible.
How to get multiple passports
If you need multiple U.S. passports for one or more of the reasons stated above, you can apply for a second limited-validity passport book. You can usually apply by mail, but some situations require an in-person application.
To apply for a second passport book, follow the steps:
Fill out a renewal application form (DS-82).
Submit a signed statement that explains the reason you are requesting a second passport.
Provide a new passport photo.
Calculate fees and prepare a money order.
Mail your complete application.
A second U.S. passport book is valid for four years, unlike a regular passport that provides 10 years of validity. It costs $130, the same as you’d pay for a standard passport renewal. Add in the expedited fee of $60 if you need a quicker turnaround.
Can you have multiple passports recapped
Dual citizenship allows you to travel freely between two or more nations, and having the option to live and work in these countries gives you more freedom of where to reside.
Additionally, having passports of multiple countries can unlock the world by offering more visa-free options and help you save money as a result.
Holding two U.S. passports can save you time with visa processing, especially if you travel often and need to send your passport to different consulates.
Switching up the passports strategically can also help you face fewer visa refusals and open up more travel opportunities if you’re trying to visit every country in the world.