U.S. Stops Issuing Passports with Exception for Life-Or-Death Emergencies

U.S. Stops Issuing Passports

U.S. Stops Issuing Passports

The U.S. State Department has stopped issuing passports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an exceptions for people who have a “qualified life-or-death emergency.” This was announced in a April 3rd update to passport policies. Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 days).

“Because of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer in-person service at passport agencies or centers for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours”, the statement says.

To prove that you have a life-or-death emergency, you must provide:

  • passport application with supporting documents
  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional. Documents must be translated or in English.
  • Proof of international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket, itinerary) specific to the emergency

You could still be able to apply in person for a U.S. passport at some acceptance facilities that are still taking these applications, or you can renew through the mail. But the State Department warns that you should expect significant delays receiving your passport and your citizenship evidence documents. It also urges people to consider waiting to apply until normal operations resume.

If you applied and requested expedited service on or before March 19, 2020, we made every effort to meet our commitment of 2-3 weeks door-to-door service. However, due to limited staff, we are still working on a small portion of incomplete expedited applications submitted on or before March 19. You may experience additional delays. If you applied and requested routine service on or before March 19, 2020, you should expect significant delays receiving your passport and your citizenship evidence documents.

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