Most US citizens have just one US passport for travel. In fact, under most circumstances, it is not legal to hold multiple US passports. Some individuals do have a second US passport due to their jobs positions. For example, diplomats often carry a diplomatic passport in addition to their regular US passport. In addition, individuals may carry a second passport in the form of a no-fee passport or an official passport, in addition to their regular passport.
However, it is possible for individuals to get a second US passport from the US Department of State in some situations. Although the US Department of State does not issue a second US passport to every applicant, the agency does in some situations. Most commonly, a second US passport is issued because a traveler needs to travel frequently and may not have time to apply for the required visas between trips outside of the United States. For example, if a US citizen has a visa pending and requires a second passport, the US Department of State may issue a second passport. As well, if you are traveling to a country which needs to hold on to your passport while processing your visa, you may be able to get a second passport so that you can continue to travel while your visa is pending.
In some cases, a second US passport is issued when a traveler is traveling between politically conflicted countries. In this case, a second passport acts as added security and allows US citizens freedom of travel. For example, if a traveler is traveling to Israel and then to a country which does not allow travelers from Israel to enter, the Department of State will sometimes issue such a traveler a second passport so that the US citizen can travel freely to both countries.
Second US passports, unlike primary passports, are valid for only two years. However, they can be extended before they expire, if the traveler needs a second passport for longer than two years. To apply for a second US passport if you need it, you will need to file DS-82, along with filing fees, passport photos, a copy of your current passport, and other required documentation. If your current passport will expire within the year, you will generally be required to renew your current passport first before applying for a second passport. In addition to form DS-82, you will also need to submit a letter of explanation to the US Department of State explaining why you require a second US passport.