A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Friday, May 28, 2021

U.S. Citizens May Return Using Expired Passports Until 2022

The COVID pandemic has caught travelers worldwide off-guard, leaving some stranded in a foreign country and with limited help from backlogged consulates. U.S. citizens are no exception. If processing times to renew your U.S. passport are holding you back from returning, this could be your way to get home. 

Starting May 21, 2021 until the rest of the year, U.S. citizens abroad holding an expired passport will be able to use it to return back to America. The passport must have expired on or after January 1, 2020 to qualify for this exception. 

The expired passport must be undamaged and in the traveler's possession, and its validity period must have been either 10 years or 5 years for a traveler 15 years-old or under at the time of issuance. The returning flight must be directly to the U.S. or have only a brief stop at a foreign country for a connecting flight to the U.S. 

Be aware that for one to enter the country, the U.S. requires a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours of flight departure. 

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