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Running out of pages in your passport but still have a while before it expires? It's an issue that many business travellers face, especially now that Australia has axed the larger, 66-page ‘frequent traveller’ passport.
Rather than shelling out for brand new passport years before yours expires, however, you may be able to maximise its life by affixing a simple sticky note over any pages you’d rather keep blank to reserve them for future visas.
For example, most visas require at least one completely blank passport page – some even demand two adjacent blank pages – so if an immigration official whacks a stamp onto your last blank or ‘double blank’ page, you’d need an entirely new passport before applying for any new visas, potentially requiring replacements of the visas you already have, too.
However, if you notice your passport is starting to fill up, grab those sticky notes, write a short and polite message, and stick them in your passport.
I’ve been travelling with these in my passport for over a year now to preserve my last remaining ‘double blank’ page, and all the passport officers I’ve encountered have been most obliging.
Some smile, some laugh and some say nothing at all, but whatever their approach, the interaction has always finished with their stamp being placed somewhere other than those valuable blank pages: typically near other stamps to maximise space, which I always appreciate.
On my last visit to the United States, the border official even asked if there was a certain page I wanted my stamp placed on, just in case I was also saving space elsewhere for other, larger passport stamps.
Thanks to this approach, I still have room in my passport for one more large visa, and I expect these simple sticky notes will have extended my passport's life by around two years by the time it truly becomes full and renewing becomes necessary.
Just one tip: don’t physically write on your passport visa pages (even in pencil), because doing so could render your passport defaced and invalid if you encounter a particularly zealous immigration official… at least with sticky notes, there are no markings to the passport page and they can be easily removed!