December 8, 2015

December 8, 2015
Say Goodbye to Your Extra Passport Pages

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear is back home and helping recruit sponsors for children living with HIV who would like to attend our holiday parties called Teddy Bear Touchdowns.

As of 2016, the U.S. government will force frequent travelers to get new passports instead of add extra pages. A longtime bragging right of frequent fliers is about to disappear: The U.S. government announced that effective January 1, travelers will no longer be able to get extra pages added to their passports. The State Department made the news official earlier this week, citing security concerns, but they did present an alternative: a new 52-page passport, twice the size of the standard 28-pager. Travelers can specify whether they'd like the current 28-pager or the supersized version, and both will cost the same —$110—to obtain or renew, minus any expediting charges you might add on. This is the second major passport related announcement the government has made in the past few weeks in addition to the government being able to withhold passports from people who owe significant back taxes to the IRS.

Some major passport changes are coming your way.

The extra pages decision isn't the only major change coming to passports in 2016 and beyond. Mobile Passport, a new app created in partnership with Customs and Border Security, made it easier for passengers coming through select U.S. airports such as Miami and Atlanta to pre-load their passport and flight info in the app, then take a selfie (yes, really) in order to speed through security. A new "cloud passport," where passport data is stored in the cloud just like your iTunes library, is being beta-tested on a small group of Australians and, if successful, could expand—and totally transform airport security as we know it.

At least we can hope this will expedite getting through customs... or maybe we're just dreaming and this will end up being another headache to navigate when traveling.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Tuesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab