Update on U.S. Passport Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective September 28, 2020, the United States Department of State’s (DOS) Passport Agency has resumed routine passport services.

Routine passport services

Using routine processing, passport issuance is currently taking between 10-12 weeks.

Expedited passport applications

Expedited passport processing service has been reinstated as well. For a fee of $60, processing time is reduced to 4-6 weeks.

Appointment procedures

Most local passport acceptance facilities have now re-opened. However, the DOS encourages applicants to utilize mail-in service whenever possible to limit unnecessary contact and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To locate and contact a passport application acceptance facility, visit here.

Renewing U.S. passports today

You may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. To renew your passport by mail, visit here.

Emergent travel needs

In-person appointments at DOS agencies and centers remain restricted to applicants with a qualified life-or-death emergency who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.

What qualifies as life-or-death emergency?

According to the U.S. DOS, life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths within the immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) that require you to travel outside the U.S. within 72 hours.

To qualify for this type of expedited request, you must provide:

  • A passport application with supporting documents
  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional, or a statement for a mortuary (Documents must be translated or in English.)
  • Proof of international travel specific to the emergency (i.e. travel reservation, ticket; itinerary)

To make an appointment at a passport agency or center for a life-or-death emergency, you must call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. (1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY), Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, except federal holidays.

After hours, call 202-647-4000 to make an appointment. 

More questions?

For questions about citizenship and immigration matters during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the immigration lawyers at Murphy Desmond S.C. at 608.270-5550 or infoimmigration@murphydesmond.com.

Published October 9, 2020

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