Federal Register, Volume 80 Issue 224 (Friday, November 20, 2015)
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 224 (Friday, November 20, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72591-72592]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-29618]


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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Parts 22 and 51

[Public Notice: 9350]
RIN 1400-AD76


Elimination of Visa Page Insert Service for U.S. Passport Book 
Holders

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: On April 29, 2015, the Department of State published a notice 
of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed eliminating the visa page 
insert service for regular fee passport book holders beginning January 
1, 2016. The Department is finalizing the proposed rule without change.

DATES: This rule is effective January 1, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Holly, Passport Services, 
Bureau of Consular Affairs; 202-485-6373: PassportRules@state.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On April 29, 2015, the Department of State published a NPRM that 
proposed eliminating the visa page insert service for regular fee 
passport book holders beginning January 1, 2016. See 80 FR 23754. As 
explained in the NPRM, the effective date of this rule coincides with 
when the Department expects to begin issuing an updated version of the 
Next Generation Passport book. The primary reason for eliminating visa 
page inserts is to protect the integrity of the Next Generation 
Passport books. Further discussion of the reasons for the rule is in 
the NRPM.

Public Comments

    The Department received only one public comment in response to the 
notice of proposed rulemaking. The following analysis addresses the 
comment.
    The commenter expressed concern that eliminating visa page inserts 
would be a considerable inconvenience. The commenter wrote that due to 
the extent of his travels, eliminating visa page inserts would require 
him to renew his passport every three or four years, even if he is 
issued the larger 52-page passport book. The commenter also wrote that 
running out of visa pages in his passport would cause some of his 
multi-year visas to expire, requiring him to renew his visas early or 
possibly carry his expired U.S. passport until the visas in it expire.
    The Department recognizes that eliminating visa page inserts may 
pose an inconvenience to a very small number of U.S. passport holders 
whose travel requires the issuance of multiple visas. The Department 
has a policy in place to permit the issuance of a second regular fee 
passport to individuals who require their first passport books for 
travel while their visa applications are pending with foreign 
governments. (See 7 FAM 1310 Appendix R c(2) http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/94669.pdf).
    The commenter questioned if visa page inserts present a genuine 
security concern. As described in the NPRM, an interagency working 
group studied the issue and determined that the elimination of visa 
page inserts added value to the security features of visa page inserts 
that far outweighed the inconvenience caused by the elimination of this 
service, for which there is very limited demand.
    Finally, the problems the commenter describes are very rare among 
U.S. passport holders. The average U.S. passport holder uses six or 
fewer visa pages. Ninety-seven percent of all U.S. passport holders 
will have used 17 pages or less by the time they renew their passports. 
Less than one percent of U.S. passport holders will have used more than 
32 pages when they renew their passports. On average, people who apply 
for visa page inserts for a U.S. passport do so seven years after the 
passport was issued and 17 percent of these individuals had the smaller 
passport book to begin with. Accordingly, while the Department 
certainly understands the commenter's concerns, it still expects the 
overall impact of this rule on U.S. passport holders to be minimal, and 
to be outweighed by the security concerns discussed in the NPRM.

Regulatory Findings

    The Regulatory Findings included in the NPRM are incorporated 
herein. See 80 FR at 23755.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Parts 22 and 51

    Consular services, Fees, Passports and visas.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of State 
amends 22 CFR parts 22 and 51 as follows:

PART 22--SCHEDULE OF FEES FOR CONSULAR SERVICES--DEPARTMENT OF 
STATE AND FOREIGN SERVICE

0
1. The authority citation for part 22 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  8 U.S.C 1101 note, 1153 note, 1183a note, 1351, 1351 
note, 1714, 1714 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 11 U.S.C. 1157 note; 22 
U.S.C. 214, 214 note, 1475e, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219, 6551; 
31 U.S.C. 9701; Executive Order 10718, 22 FR 4632; Executive Order 
11295, 31 FR 10603.


Sec.  22.1  [Amended]

0
2. The table in Sec.  22.1 is amended by removing and reserving item 
2c.

PART 51--PASSPORTS

0
3. The authority citation for part 51 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  8 U.S.C. 1504; 18 U.S.C. 1621; 22 U.S.C. 211a, 212, 
213, 213n (Pub. L. 106-113 Div. B, Sec. 1000(a)(7) [Div. A, Title 
II, Sec. 236], 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A-430); 214, 214a, 217a, 218, 
2651a, 2671(d)(3), 2705, 2714, 2721, & 3926; 26 U.S.C. 6039E; 31 
U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 652(k) [Div. B, Title V of Pub. L. 103-317, 
108 Stat. 1760]; E.O. 11295, Aug. 6, 1966, FR 10603, 3 CFR, 1966-

[[Page 72592]]

1970 Comp., p. 570; Sec. 1 of Pub. L. 109-210, 120 Stat. 319; Sec. 2 
of Pub. L. 109-167, 119 Stat. 3578; Sec. 5 of Pub. L. 109-472, 120 
Stat. 3554; Pub. L. 108-447, Div. B, Title IV, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 
Stat. 2809; Pub. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638, 3823 (Dec. 17, 2004).


0
4. In Sec.  51.20, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  51.20  General.

    (a) An application for a passport, a replacement passport, or other 
passport related service must be completed using the forms the 
Department prescribes.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  51.56, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  51.56  Expedited passport processing.

    (a) Within the United States, an applicant for passport service 
(including issuance or replacement of a passport) may request expedited 
processing. The Department may decline the request.
* * * * *

    Dated: November 12, 2015.
David T. Donahue,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2015-29618 Filed 11-19-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4710-06-P