A special program that allowed U.S. citizens to return to the country using an expired passport has ended.
Enacted during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the plan took effect due to delays in issuing new passports and other special circumstances.
The plan went into effect in May 2021 for anybody holding a passport that expired in 2020 or later, allowing them to safely return to the United States. The program ended June 30.
“Because the Department and the U.S. Embassy can now accommodate routine and emergency passport issuance to support U.S. citizens’ travel needs without excessive wait times, this measure will not be further extended,” the State Department said on its website. “Therefore, after June 30, 2022, U.S. citizens will no longer be allowed to use their expired U.S. passport to return to the United States.”
Huge backlogs remain in both renewing or receiving new passports. What normally used to take a few weeks to complete can now take a few months.
The State Department recommends those attempting to renew do so 6 months before their current passport expires.
Passports now take 8–11 weeks to process, according to the State Department. Expedited passports can be done in 5–7 weeks for an additional $60 fee.
In an effort to speed up the process, the State Department has launched some special passport acceptance fairs where officials will be on-hand to get the process moving.
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