The U.S. State Department has had a slowdown in processing passports for years now. What used to take just a couple of weeks can now take well over 3 months.
If you live in the U.S. and think that’s bad, things are even worse for U.S. citizens who live abroad. When their passports expire, they’re supposed to get them renewed at their nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
Unfortunately, most of those locations are closed or offer reduced services due to COVID. So back in May, they changed the rules such that American citizens would be allowed to return home from other countries through the end of 2021, even if their passports had expired.
Welp, it’s a new year and COVID is still around. If anything, the Omicron variant is making the possibility of full service just about ANYWHERE something to hope for, never mind Embassies and Consulates overseas.
With that, the State Department has extended the time that U.S. citizens can return to the U.S. with an expired passport.
U.S. citizens currently abroad whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use their expired U.S. passport for return travel to the United States until March 31, 2022. Certain criteria apply, and we encourage U.S. citizens to confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport at https://travel.state.gov/
content/travel/en/ traveladvisories/COVID-19- Country-Specific-Information. html prior to finalizing travel arrangements.
They also remind travelers that recently expired U.S. passports, “…cannot be used to travel from the United States 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 United States or to a United States territory.”
And IF your passport is about to expire (or already has), here’s how to find out what countries you can visit, depending on when your passport’s expiration date is. And here’s how to renew an expired passport (it differs, depending on when your passport expired).
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