The Surprising Reason Why You Might Want to Get a Second Passport

While most Americans don't have a passport, there's a select group of travelers who have two. And we don't mean dual nationals.

There's a little-known State Department loophole that allows travelers to apply for a duplicate passport. And for some frequent travelers, it could be a good investment.

For those who travel to tumultuous regions, a second passport could allow entry that would otherwise be denied. For example, if traveling to a country that requires a visa, sometimes the request may be denied if customs sees the traveler also has a visa from an enemy country. Having two passports eliminates this concern.

Travelers who are constantly on the go can leave one passport at a consulate while waiting for a visa and take the other one on international trips. It also makes it easy to get home if a primary passport is lost while away — although it's still important to report the first passport as lost or stolen.

There are a few catches: A duplicate passport only lasts for four years. And there is no guarantee that requests for a second passport will be granted — it's considered an exception to the rule as opposed to a standard request. Travelers must send in a "duplicate passport request" letter detailing the reason why they are requesting a second passport. Each duplicate is granted on a case-by-case basis.

In order to get a second passport, travelers must fill out another application, take passport photos and send in their current passport, which will be returned with the new one. The cost for a second passport is $130.

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