Alert: U.S. citizens who have a U.S. passport that has expired on or after January 1, 2020 may use their expired passport to return to the U.S. until December 31, 2021.
Expired passports cannot be used to travel from the U.S. to an international destination or to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the U.S. or to a U.S. territory.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who qualifies and does not qualify for this exception?
Travelers qualify for this exception if all of the following are true:
- They are a U.S. citizen.
- They are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
- They are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on their direct return to the United States or to a United States territory.
- Their expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if they were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, their expired passport was valid for 5 years.
- Their expired passport is undamaged, unaltered, and in their possession.
Travelers do not qualify for this exception if:
- They wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
- They are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
- Their expired passport was limited in validity.
- Their expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
- Their expired passport is damaged or not in their possession.
How many embassies and consulates are not providing passport services?
- Throughout the pandemic, our U.S. embassies and consulates have prioritized services to U.S. citizens overseas. Our embassies and consulates are currently providing emergency passport services, and in some cases routine passport services, to U.S. citizens overseas. Services currently available are provided on each embassy and consulate’s website.
- We are committed to meeting emergency and routine overseas demand for U.S. passports, while safeguarding the health and safety of our staff, visitors, and the integrity of the adjudication process.
Why not allow personal appearances for passport applications by video conference, or waive the personal appearance requirement?
- By law, certain overseas services require personal appearance for oaths or signatures, and at many posts applicants must pay fees in person.
- Allowing travel on certain recently expired passports will alleviate demand at consulates and embassies overseas adjudicating passports, allowing staff to focus on passport applications requiring personal appearances, such as first-time applicants and children born overseas to U.S. citizens.
What options exist for U.S. citizens whose passports have not yet expired but cannot obtain an appointment at their nearest embassy or consulate?
- Each U.S. embassy and consulate has different procedures for submitting and processing an application for a U.S. passport.
- In a limited number of countries, you may be eligible to access some services by mail. Check the U.S. embassy or consulate webpage for more information.
- If you live in Canada, for example, you may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. You may write a Canadian mailing address on Form DS-82, and Passport Services will mail your new passport to that address. Please see Applying for a U.S. Passport from Outside the United States on travel.state.gov for detailed information about how to apply from Canada.
- In most countries, you must apply in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate for all passport services. Allowing travel on certain recently expired passports will alleviate demand at consulates and embassies overseas adjudicating passports in the event you cannot easily obtain an appointment.
Can individuals with a recently expired visa travel to the United States?
- This exception is for U.S. passports only and does not apply to visas.
What are wait times to renew a U.S. passport in the United States?
- Customers applying for routine service can expect to receive a passport in 10-12 weeks.
- If customers need their passport in less than 10-12 weeks due to international travel plans, they can pay an additional $60 fee to expedite their passport. Customers can expect to receive a passport in 4-6 weeks when applying for expedited service.
- Most acceptance facilities such as post offices, clerks of court, and public libraries are open and accepting passport applications. Applicants should verify the operating status and specific procedures for any acceptance facility.
- Appointments at passport agencies and centers for urgent travel are extremely limited number and are generally reserved for life-or-death circumstance.
Can U.S. citizens be denied entry at the border?
- We refer you to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for information on border entry rules.
Can dual U.S. citizens travel to the United States on another passport if they can't meet these criteria?
- S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a valid U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. We refer you to DHS for further questions on their authorities to waive this provision.
What about minor children of U.S. citizens who have not yet been documented and have been unable to obtain an appointment for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?
- This change in passport acceptance procedures applies only to U.S. passport holders who meet the criteria outlined above. Please follow the instructions on the relevant Embassy or Consulate’s website to make a CRBA appointment.
What if your passport expired earlier than 2020 and you have not been able to travel to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate during the past year because of the pandemic? Are you not able to travel on your expired passport? Why not?
- This policy only applies at this time to U.S. citizens whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020.
I need to stop in a third country en route to the United States. Can I use my expired U.S. passport?
- Expired passports can only be used for those who are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on their direct return to the United States or to a United States territory.
Does this mean that U.S. citizens at home can travel abroad with expired passports?
- This policy is only for U.S. citizens who want to return home to the United States. U.S. citizens already in the United States may not depart from the United States to an international destination with an expired passport.