Two Passports – is that possible and why?
Certain countries don’t get along that well and others require visas that need some time to get. So what can you do when your passport is at an embassy and you need to travel? —> Get a second passport! At least in Austria it’s possible to own two passports. Who’s eligible, why get one and what the differences are, that’s all covered in this post:
Why can you get two valid passports?
Like already mentioned, some countries aren’t the biggest friends, that can lead to long waiting times at immigration or even denied entry. Some countries also require you to get your visa before travelling, and when they see certain passport stamps you won’t get the visa.
Israel doesn’t stamp your passport when arriving at their international airport in Tel Aviv – luckily! Because after having visited Israel you could frame that passport and put it in your living room. It won’t be of much more use afterwards. Additionally the Israeli don’t like to see other Middle Eastern country stamps in your passport. They did question me a lot when I travelled to Israel with my United Arab Emirates’ stamp.
But it might have other reasons too:
Imagine you plan a trip to China or India, or any other country that requires you to get a visa at the embassy before the trip. This can take up two months or even longer, depending on the embassy, if you hand in all required documents.
Now imagine you have another trip planned and you need your passport, but it’s at the embassy. So you can either cancel the trip or take advantage of a second passport.
How to get two passports?
It’s pretty simple. Just like applying for your usual passport. In Austria, you can apply for it at any public authority that issues passports.
So what is the difference to the normal passport?
The usual passport for adults in Austria is valid for 10 years – well to be exact 9,5 years because most countries require a validity of at least 6 months when you enter.
A second passport is valid for either maximum 3 or 5 years. Depending on whether you need it for business or private reasons. If you need it for vacation purposes only, it’s gonna be a maximum of three years. If you need it for business reasons and have a written statement from your company maximum of five years it is.
For me, it was kind of easy since I’m self-employed and I wrote that document myself. It only contained the following sentence:
Miss Viktoria Urbanek requires a second passport due to frequent travelling.
The lady at the authorities office wasn’t too pleased with this short statement, but she accepted it either way.
How much is the second passport?
Unfortunately, it costs just the same as the normal one. That’s currently approx. 76€.
What you need to pay attention to when you own two passports
Officially speaking you are only allowed to travel with one passport at a time. That means that you can’t use one passport when you arrive in eg. Colombia and use the other one to leave Colombia afterwards. That can lead to sever problems when leaving the country or getting back in again. This can even lead to not being able to get into the country. So better not try it.
While my secondary passport rests well in my backpack, my main passport is doing all the hard work.
Why do I own two passports?
Three basic reasons:
First, when I prepared everything for my round the world trip, I needed to get a bunch of visas. So my passport travelled from embassy to embassy for about five weeks. Five weeks without a passport would mean only EU travels. But I needed to go to Israel and other countries in the meantime. So I got a second passport.
Second, when I’m travelling oversees or for a longer period of time I always take both passports. The second one always remains in the hostel or hotel. So if it happens that I lose my passport or it gets stolen, I always have another passport to continue travelling with – without having to deal with getting a new one at an embassy or consulate.
Third, my main passport is getting full and depending on how the officials stamp it might be full soon or even sooner. When it’s full while I travel I still can use the other one.