Updated May 26, 2021 11:39 AM IST
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Chaim V’Chessed has dealt extensively with the difficulties involved in obtaining US passports. In fact, this is a worldwide problem, affecting American citizens both at home and abroad. The problem has been felt particularly acutely in Israel, where the Jerusalem Embassy and Tel Aviv Branch Office have struggled to provide passports for the tens of thousands of American citizens living in this country.
Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, Chaim V’Chessed has worked hand in hand with Amudim, headed by the unparalleled Rabbi Zvi Gluck. Rabbi Gluck is a long time leader on issues related to international travel and governmental relations.
Rabbi Gluck, along with Rabbi Aaron Kotler of Beth Medrash Govoha, held prolonged discussions and meetings with the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, US Customs and Border Patrol, and the US State Department regarding the ability for US citizens to be permitted to travel on expired US passports. We are pleased to announce that on Monday, May 24, the US State Department announced that, indeed, such a policy will be implemented. Effective immediately, under many circumstances, US Citizens will be permitted to travel using expired US passports. This dispensation may only be used one time.
You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:
- Your US passport expired on or after January 1, 2020
- 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 and unaltered.
- Your expired passport is in your possession.
You do not qualify for this exception if:
- Your US passport expired before January 1, 2020
- 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 or altered.
- Your expired passport is not in your possession.
Note: If you carry a valid Israeli passport, you will be able to travel to the United States with your expired American passport, and then return to Israel with your Israeli passport. If you do not possess dual citizenship, you will need to obtain a new US passport before returning to Israel, as Israel will not grant entry to travelers with expired passports.
Furthermore, visa holders should bear in mind that if they obtain new passports in the United States, they will need new visas and/or entry permits to be permitted to re-enter Israel. And, at the current time, it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain visas while abroad.
When traveling back to the USA on an expired US passport as detailed above, we strongly advise the following:
- Arrive at the airport about 4 hours prior to flight departure time, to allow for any potential extra processing or verification time.
- Be aware that upon arrival in the USA, there is a high likelihood that you will be required to undergo a brief secondary screening process from United States Customs and Border Patrol.