Two Passports? All you need to know

two passports all you need to know

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.

zweitpass

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.

Hauptpass

Main Passport – valid for 10 years

Zweitpass

Second Passport – valid for 5 years

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.

Keep on travelling

This post is also available in: German

19 Comments

  • Very cool article. We did some research and it seems that Romanian citizens have the same right but you have to give the second passport back once you get back home. Practically, the only benefit of having a second passport is if you want to travel to two countries that are in conflict with each other. To make things more complicated, you have to prove that you actually visit those two countries (with a hotel reservation or something like that).

    The good thing is: Romanians can get more than two passports (depending how many they need), so there is no limit (it seems). We’re going to renew our passports soon and ask some questions because the extra passports might come in handy.

    • Viki says:

      Wow that’s interesting that you have to return the second passport!
      *no limit for passports* wooow! I’d make one just for at home 🙂

  • I don’t know if you can have a double passport in Italy but as far as I know you can request a passport that has more pages, paying a bit more for it!

    • Viki says:

      I can also request more pages to be added. I didn’t know you could actually get a second passport, I only really needed it once. But I’m glad I have a backup now!

  • danik says:

    Good post if you are from Austria. I am from United Kingdom and you gotta have a very good dam reason to have a second passport and frequent traveling isn’t one. I know this can’t be done in Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia etc unless you are a diplomat and even then, most of them cant have a second passport. :O

    • Viki says:

      In Austria it is the combination of travelling a lot and going to certain countries that don’t get along well. Imagine having to cancel a trip because some countries just can’t get along… Or having to issue a new passport every time you go to one of them…

  • jo says:

    This happened to us, my husband had an Israeli stamp in his passport and it stopped us from going to a middle eastern country. I can see the value in two passports!

    • Viki says:

      I know the feeling! I almost forgot the little paper slip in my passport that they use in Israel as a visa – luckily I was just travelling within Europe and they didn’t care where I’ve been before!
      Now they don’t stamp the passports anymore if you fly into Tel Aviv, but if you cross by land it really depends on the immigration officer at the border.

  • Jing says:

    I owned two kinds of Philippine passport when I was working for the Philippine government. One is used for official travels only and the other one for personal travels. You are lucky because in my country, we can’t have two personal passports at one time.

  • Brianna says:

    This is really interesting. I’m not sure how it would work for US citizens. But it certainly would be helpful to have a back-up, once the first starts getting filled! It’s also good to know that Israel won’t stamp your passport book. I’ve heard you can ask some places to stamp a small piece of paper that slips inside your passport, so the stamp isn’t permanently in your book.

  • Nathan says:

    This would be so handy. What I would really love is dual citizenship! That would be the best ever! I need to find me an EU partner.

  • Interesting – we have two passports, but from different countries. I have only heard of this with military families who have official passports and private traveling passports. Very interesting.

  • Elisa says:

    I have two passports from the same country for “business reasons” because I may visit countries that require long visa request procedures or require to be ready to be evacuated asap, lol. Usually I bring a letter from my company telling the reasons for the second passport but good to know that a reason for a second one could be “frequent traveler” . Thanks for the info!

  • Greg. says:

    We are thinking of getting a permanent residence visa in Mexico. Not quite the same as two passports, but some of the benefits are really similar.

  • Lara Dunning says:

    Sounds like you have a good reason for getting a second passport. Not sure I’d ever need two, or if the US even does that. Silly it costs the same but isn’t valid for the same amount of time.

  • Paul says:

    This would be really useful, but unfortunately I’m not sure it’s easy to do in the where I’m from in the UK!

  • Sienna says:

    That’s very interesting. I don’t think the US will give two passports but I could be wrong- as they don’t want someone claiming to need another one to sell or give to someone else. I do have two passports though as I have dual citizenship.

  • Ashlyn says:

    I wasn’t aware of this! I’m going to look into it and see if it’s the same in Canada, this could be very useful if my travel dreams come true!

  • This is very interesting and it’s a lot of information that you normally wouldn’t be able to find!

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