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New Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Talk About Travel When Thou Knowest Not of What One Speaks!

Broadcaster Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams aboard a 777 Flight Simulator at British Airways Flight Training Center at Heathrow Airport with Senior Flight Officer Amit Sani about to “take off” with Stephanie as co-pilot!

Every time. .  EVERY TIME. . . newscasters speak about “all things travel,” I want to jump through the TV or radio and grab them by the neck! The current news about Paul Manafort is already fraught with drama and if the news folks stayed focus on the relevant facts, that would be quite welcomed. But today’s big story is that, according to the MSNBC report I just heard, “Paul Manafort has three (3) passports with different numbers!” Can you imagine!

People, let me be the first to inform you that YOU TOO CAN EASILY HAVE TWO (2) PASSPORTS, EACH WITH A DIFFERENT NUMBER AS THAT’S HOW PASSPORTS ARE ISSUED! And if you travel extensively and needed to have a third passport, I suspect, never having done it, that the Passport Service would accommodate that special need!

Now, why, you ask, would anybody need two. . . or maybe three. . . passports?

Firstly, every passport is individually issued and if you lose or misplace your US Passport, the replacement, like a replaced credit card, will have a different number so having two, or three, passports, each with a different number is how it works and has no special value to be a story UNLESS the passports are counterfeit, black market, manufactured by some underground organization, are bogus and/or exist for the purpose of fraud.

But yes, you can have more than one passport and extremely well-traveled people often have two passports and it seems logical that the need for a third would result in an additional passport being . So why is this not news?

There are countries in the world that won’t let you in if you if you have a stamp of entry on your passport from a country they view as an enemy or with whom they have an adversarial relationship. Such is the case in the Middle East where, if you have a stamp on your passport that displays you have visited Israel, you will be denied entry into Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya. Chances are good that you will also be denied entry into Kuwait, Algeria, and  Iraq.

If you have a reason to visit any of the countries in BOLD letters above, and you also need to visit Israel on the same trip, the trick is to go to Israel LAST and then you beat the system! But once that trip is over and you need to make another trip to the Middle East, that stamp from Passport Control when you entered/exited Israel will be a barrier to your visiting any of the aforementioned countries. The US State Department, which governs US Passport services, recognizes the nuances of international travel and understands the need of US travelers to be able to travel where they need to go to without barriers to their progress and, therefore, it is legal. . . and recommended. . . that anyone who wants to go to Israel or any other country that would impede the ability to then go to other countries may apply for a second passport with the intention of using one  of their two passports for all travels to Israel or any other country that some other destinations might use as a reason to deny entry to the travel.

For whatever crimes Paul Manafort may be accused of, it probably would be best to focus on those and not blow up a tale about the number of passports he has, something that, on the surface, appears to be perfectly legal and something that so many people who travel extensively for business or pleasure possess. If these passports are using different names in an effort to pretend to be someone else, as you’d see in an episode of “Jason Bourne” where he has a backpack filled with passports from multiple countries and each bears his photo with another name and identity, that would clearly be illegal.  But having two US Passports to expedite  your travels is something you can apply for today! And, given that the US Passport Service is sensitive to the needs of passengers, my guess is that if you explained that you now have a stamp on both passports from a country that won’t be acceptable to another place you need to visit, the likelihood is good that you’d be issued a third passport but I’m going to defer to the wisdom and knowledge of Brenda Sprague, a frequent guest on my radio shows, Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and Travelers411, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, a division of the US State Department and get her opinion on the subject of multiple passports. If things go right, we’ll get her back on the air with me very soon, in her very busy schedule, to bring us all up to date! You can hear interviews with Brenda Sprague archived if you click on this link.

Also note that there are people with dual citizenship so if  you have roots in Ireland, for instance, or if you were born in another country and have become a US citizen, you can carry a passport from your “motherland” and you could have two US Passports if you indicate you need that second one because of political differences between a country you visited and the next place you want to go so,  you, too, could have three passports. . . all with different numbers!

If you want to nail Paul Manafort for misdeeds, go after him for something that makes sense and don’t dilute the story with how many passports he has unless there’s some illegality about the passports such as that they are forgeries or some other meaningful arguments. If the Department of Justice wants to be sure that he doesn’t take off for parts unknown, it would, of course, be important to know how many passports he has and confiscate all of them. I suspect if you traveled as much as he does you’d need three passports too so there’s not really a story in today’s news story! Don’t waste air time with a non-story and leave the impression that there’s something nefarious in having more than one passport. One day, I suspect, I’ll have the need for a second passport too! I can’t imagine that becoming national news!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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