Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! In this post, we continue to share with our readers some important new updates regarding travel to the United States for Americans with expired passports currently overseas.
Our readers may remember in May of 2021, the State Department announced a policy that would enable stranded U.S. Citizens stuck overseas, to use their expired passports to make a direct return to the United States, provided their passports expired on or after January 1, 2020. The policy was to be in effect until December 31, 2021.
This temporary form of relief was granted in response to the extensive waiting period to renew a U.S. passport from outside the United States. Unlike Americans inside the United States, those abroad are required to apply for passport renewal in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Due to the limited operational capacity of U.S. Embassies and Consulates during the global pandemic, many Americans were finding themselves stranded abroad.
On December 21, 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Carrier Liaison Program issued a press release informing U.S. Citizens that the State Department is extending this policy through March 31, 2022.
What criteria do I need to meet to use my expired passport for direct travel to the United States from overseas?
If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may now use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until March 31, 2022.
You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
- You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
- Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
- Your expired passport is undamaged.
- Your expired passport is unaltered.
- Your expired passport is in your possession.
You do not qualify for this exception if:
- You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
- You 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.
- Your expired passport was limited in validity.
- Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
- Your expired passport is damaged.
- Your expired passport is altered.
- Your expired passport is not in your possession.
Despite these regulations, travelers should be aware that the Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any traveler in accordance with 22 CFR 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b).
Travelers who wish to return to the U.S. should contact their airline for specific information about testing requirements for travelers. Quarantine and COVID-19 testing guidelines are country specific.
COVID-19 Travel Information: For more information, please visit the State Department’s COVID-19 Traveler Information webpage.
- May 2021 Blog Post: U.S. Citizens Stranded Abroad Can Now Re-Enter with Expired U.S. Passports
- CBP Press Release: Travel of U.S. Citizens with Expired Passports Extended
- DOS Update Return Travel on Recently Expired U.S. Passports
- DOS COVID-19 Traveler Information
- New York Times Article
- List of Embassies and Consulates
- Youtube channel
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