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 upwards of 8 to 11 weeks, not including shipping back and forth (although once the process of electronic renewals for passports is streamlined, that should help immensely!).
The passport situation is even worse for U.S. citizens who live in other countries. When their passports expire, they’re supposed to get them renewed at their nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
Unfortunately, many of those locations are closed, are offering reduced services due to COVID, or (not said but I bet), are having problems hiring people. So back in May 2021, they changed the rules so American citizens would be allowed to return home from other countries through the end of 2021, even if their passports had expired.
At the end of 2021, things weren’t any better, so they updated the rules so Americans could fly back to the U.S. through March 30, 2022, even if they had an expired passport.
Welp, March 30th is almost here, and guess what? In order to, “…lessen ongoing travel difficulties created by the global Covid-19 pandemic,” the State Department has just extended the rule again. According to the State Department’s most recent press release, “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 June 30, 2022.”
The State Dep’t did recommend that travelers should confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport before finalizing travel arrangements.
You still can’t use your expired passport to get from the U.S. to another country. In fact, to enter most countries, you’ll have to have at least 6 months left before expiration (but these countries allow you to have less than 6 months). American citizens who are abroad are also not allowed to use an expired passport to travel to another country, except for an airport connection en route to the U.S. or a U.S. territory.
But if you’re coming back to the U.S. and your passport is expired, you’re still good – at least through June 30th. Welcome home!
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