I have an American passport. When I received my French student visa 2 years ago, I also received work authorization for the duration of my study abroad. The work authorization is a two/three page document which the consulate folded and stapled over pages 12-13 of my passport. Is it okay for me to remove the document and take out the staple from my passport or should I leave it in? I would really like to use pages 12 and 13.

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    Why do you want to use pages 12 and 13 so bad? – Ant Mar 12 '18 at 17:25
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    As an added motivation for why one might want to do this, staples tend to damage anything softer than the staple that you might be carrying in a pouch with your passport - papers, photos, ID or credit cards, etc. I hate documents with staples on them and would be really annoyed to have them on my passport. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Mar 13 '18 at 0:54

I disagree with the other answer. My passport is a cheese full of staple holes. Authorities from all other the world (especially Japan immigration officers who are quite keen on staples) have attached and detached countless pieces of paper to/from my passport over the years. Tax-free receipts, immigration cards, permits of all kinds, anything. Some are still there, some are not. I have never been asked a single question about that, by any country, over my latest 15+ international trips. As long as your passport is legit and you can explain everything, I would not worry too much about it. Seriously, most passports are full of holes. This cannot be a red flag per se, otherwise you get half of people arrested. I cannot imagine a scene where some officer takes you to an investigation room just for ‘that staple in your passport’. He will have other concerns for sure. What’s more, many countries don’t even stamp passports or leave a record of your travel at all. Passports are very bad travel records to begin with. That being said, I strongly advise against removing a visa (which could be a red flag).

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    To augment that last part of your answer: Do not remove pages in your passport. There are numbered for a reason and if one is missing, that looks suspicious. – DCTLib Mar 12 '18 at 9:38
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    This is surely the right answer but 15 isn't a whole lot of trips to base it on. Even if those were all to different countries, it's still only about 7.5% of the world's countries and it's only one entry to each so maybe you got lucky. – David Richerby Mar 12 '18 at 9:43
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    Absolutely correct: documents that are stapled on the pages of the passport, and not glued, can be removed after they have served their usefulness. – PatrickT Mar 12 '18 at 15:52
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    You are supposed to remove the Japanese tax-free receipts when you are going through the airport. For example, at Haneda there is a desk near the passport check gates where they have staple removal tools for you to detach the receipts and place them in a box. That's how the shop gets their tax refund. If you don't the shop has to pay the tax they didn't charge you. – user Mar 12 '18 at 16:02
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    I removed the staples from no end of stapled-in I-94s from my passports over the years, and never had the slightest issue. I always asked the US immigration officials not to staple them in, and about half of them were kind enough to comply, but half didn't. – MadHatter Mar 13 '18 at 1:28

I wouldn't, as similar questions ("Can I remove “attention” sticky note in passport" for example) have resulted in answers with personal experiences where the absence of something which has obviously previously existed in your passport has raised the concern of an immigration official.

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    That was a removal of a visa. – user58558 Mar 11 '18 at 21:07
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    @greatone it really doesnt matter, removal of anything from a passport will raise the same concern that the passport holder is hiding something. And staple holes scream "something was here". – Moo Mar 11 '18 at 21:21
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    I agree that I wouldn't try it, but that being said, I have had immigration rip their stuff out from my passport before, leaving staple holes behind. – martin Mar 12 '18 at 1:04
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    -1. Removal of stamps or stickers is obviously a bad idea, but removing stapled attachments that are no longer needed is totally fine. For example, until recently Japan stapled both departure cards and tax-free receipts to your passport, but there is zero reason to keep these once you have left the country. – lambshaanxy Mar 12 '18 at 7:04
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    This is not good advice. Like @jpatokal says many countries for example staple your departure card into your passport (Thailand is another one) which is then REMOVED, by immigration, when you depart. Thailand also staple in receipt of notification of address reporting for longer-term visa holders, and this is removed and replaced with a new one every 90 days. You shouldn't remove visas, no, but there is no issue with removing stuff that is stapled in, and it's unavoidable. My passport is full of staple holes, and this has never been an issue travelling anywhere. – Ivan McA Mar 13 '18 at 6:29

As 2 other answers are already stating 2 opposite viewpoints and there are certainly 2 major quite opposite opinions, my advice would be, if in doubt, to leave the removal of these stapled documents to the officers.

If you're told that you don't have blank pages in your passport, ask them to remove the old stapled documents from those pages or do it yourself in front of the officer. This way you won't be considered hiding anything and you'll have free space in your passport. At least this is what I have done before I could get a new passport.

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    Um.., where in the answer did I say that you can add pages to US passport? – gdrt Mar 12 '18 at 14:33
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    I'm not sure why the downvote. If in doubt, this sounds like it would be fair advice. And different countries have different methods for stamping visas, some don't really care if there's much free space, while others are picky about the visa not overlapping anything else, so even if you think you've got room left, a picky customs agent might feel otherwise. Long story short, though, just get a new passport anyways if you're that low on space. – thanby Mar 12 '18 at 17:50

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