With overseas travel limited for more than a year because of COVID-19 but now reopening as the pandemic subsides, Americans may want to check on the status of their passports, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) said.
“Don’t forget to check your #passports,” the congresswoman said on Twitter. “As summer approaches and international travel reopens, don’t forget to make sure your passport is renewed. Follow @TravelGov for the most up to date travel information.”
COVID-19 created an “unprecedented” backlog of appointments for passport applications, the U.S. State Department said.
As a result, the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security are allowing Americans who are in another country and have an expired passport to return to the United States under some circumstances.
“U.S. citizens currently overseas whose passports expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, may be able to use their expired U.S. passport for direct return travel to the United States until Dec. 31, 2021,” the State Department said. “Certain criteria apply, and we encourage U.S. citizens to confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport at COVID-19 Traveler Information prior to finalizing travel arrangements.”
In order to return to the U.S. with an expired passport, travelers must be U.S. citizens, fly directly into the United States or a U.S. territory and have only connecting flights through a foreign country on their return to the U.S., the State Department said. They must have their expired passport in your possession and it must be undamaged and unaltered. The expired passport must have been originally valid for 10 years or for five years if they were 15 or younger when it was originally issued.
However, expired passports can’t be used to travel from the U.S. to another country, the State Department said.
Meanwhile, restrictions remain on the number of non U.S. citizens who can travel to this country, Reuters reported.
At a recent news conference, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the government is “following the facts, the data and the science in making the decision as to when business and international travel actually can resume.”