Expect “Significant Delays” in Renewing Passport State Department Says

U.S. passports and gavel
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Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the U.S. State Department says it is “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.”

While you can still apply in person for a U.S. passport at some acceptance facilities and renew through the mail, the State Department says you should expect significant delays receiving your passport and your citizenship evidence documents. It adds to consider waiting to apply until the State Department resumes normal operations. Expedited service was suspended on March 19 and this service is currently not being offered to any applicants.

If you applied and requested expedited service on or before March 19, 2020, the State Department says it will make “every effort to meet” its commitment to the two- to three-week, door-to-door service. 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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Serious illness, injuries or deaths in your immediate family all qualify as a life-or-death emergency. To receive a passport for this, you will need a passport application (with its supporting documents), proof of the emergency, such as a death certificate or signed letter from a hospital/medical professional, and proof of international travel.

To make an appointment at a passport agency or center for a life-or-death emergency, you must call the State Department’s National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 on Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, except federal holidays or on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Call 202-647-4000 outside of these hours to make an appointment.

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