US Has Stopped Issuing Passports Except for Emergencies

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Is your passport expiring soon? It may be a long wait before you can apply or renew your passport. The US has stopped issuing passports except for emergencies.

US Has Stopped Issuing Passports Except for Emergencies

Gone are the days when you could walk into a US passport agency and get or renew your passport the same day.

Until further notice, US passport agencies and centers will only provide in-person service if you have a life or death emergency requiring international travel within 72 hours.

The US State Department defines life or death emergencies as “serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 days).”

Required documents include:

  • Completed passport application with necessary documentation
  • Doctor (other medical professional) or hospital signed letter, mortuary statement, or death certificate. English translation required.
  • Airline ticket, reservation, or itinerary for international travel

Appointments required.

To make an appointment call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm ET, federal holidays excluded, and on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm ET.

If you can’t call during those times, call 202-647-4000 to make an appointment.

Because of reduced hours, passport agencies in Atlanta, Connecticut, New York, and San Juan are temporarily closed.

Other Ways to Get a Passport

Here’s how to apply for a new passport or renew a passport without a life or death emergency.

Read 7 tips to get a passport.

Passport Acceptance Facility

If you need to get a new passport or have to renew your passport, you can apply at a passport acceptance facility. 

A passport agency processes and can issue a passport immediately. Whereas, a passport acceptance facility accepts and verifies applications before sending them to a passport agency.

Think of a passport acceptance facility as an intermediary. Like a mortgage loan officer who looks over your paperwork before they submit the application to the bank. Or an apartment manager who takes your rental application before sending it to the landlord.

Passport acceptance facilities include post offices, courthouses, and libraries. You can search for a passport acceptance facility.

Renew a Passport

If you’re eligible to renew your passport by mail (check renewal eligibility requirements) you can mail your application and necessary documents.

Eligibility requirements are a current valid undamaged passport in your current name (or documents reflecting a name change) issued at age 16 or older within the last 15 years.

Currently, expedited service is not available. Be prepared for long processing delays.

The US State Department is working hard to process expedited requests received before March 20, 2020, within 2-3 weeks. But expect delays.

If you didn’t request expedited service, expect even longer delays.


Unless you have a qualifying life or death emergency that requires international travel within 72 hours, the US State Department will not renew or issue you a passport.

Life or death emergencies include significant illness, injury or death to an immediate family member that necessitates international travel within 3 days.

You have to provide proof of the situation along with your passport application and apply in person at a Passport Center. Appointments required.

Passport facilities are accepting new and renewal passport applications for persons without life or death emergencies. Expect long delays in processing.

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Featured photo courtesy Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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