US travelers will no longer be able to insert extra pages in full passports after Dec. 2015.
The US Department of State announced the change in a press release on Nov. 19, saying that “the decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards.”
Previously, after US passport holders filled all their visa pages with stamps, they could send their passports to a government office for additional pages to be inserted. Now, any frequent traveler who foresees the need for extra pages will have to request them before the passport is issued; a new US passport with 52 pages currently costs the same price as a standard 28-page passport.
Other changes will be introduced, as well. Starting in 2016, newly-issued US passports will have numbered pages in order to highlight any missing pages that might have been torn out to hide the holder’s travel history. Numbered pages could also make it more difficult for counterfeiters to use real pages in fake passports.
The passport policy change is unrelated to recent State Department warnings issued in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, says Beth Finan, a press officer at the Bureau of Consular Affairs. She emphasized to Quartz that numbering US passport pages was an idea that “had been in the works for a long time.”