State Department Limits Passport Operations Due to COVID-19

April 20, 2020 | United States of America

In response to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the State Department has announced additional limitations to its U.S. passport operations.

At this time, the State Department is limiting its in-person services to individuals with a life-or-death emergency, such as serious illness, injury, or death in the immediate family, who must travel internationally within 72 hours. The State Department provides additional information here on what qualifies as a life-or-death emergency.

The State Department is still accepting regular passport applications at some facilities and by mail. However, the agency cautions that anyone who applies for a non-emergency passport or citizenship evidence documents can expect long delays beyond the regular 6-8 week standard processing time. Anyone who does not have urgent travel needs is encouraged to wait until the State Department resumes normal operations to apply. Expedited passport processing is suspended at this time.

Individuals who submitted passport applications before March 20, 2020 can also expect delays in receiving their passports. The State Department is still processing applications for expedited service submitted on or before March 19, 2020. The agency cautions that individuals who submitted expedited passport applications during this time may face delays beyond the standard 2-3 week processing period. Applicants who applied for routine passports should expect long delays beyond the regular 6-8 week processing time period. Individuals who have received a letter from the agency requesting additional information or documentation to complete the application process should still mail the required information to the agency, but they should also expect processing delays.

Some applicants must appear in person to apply for a passport, including first-time applicants and children under age 16. Those individuals should contact the nearest facility to determine the status of its operations, as some locations are currently closed for in-person passport services. Most post offices are still processing applications, but customers must make an online appointment first. The State Department is still accepting passport renewals by mail. People who need to renew a passport should follow instructions on the DS-82 renewal form and submit their passport application to an address for routine service rather than expedited service. The $60 fee for expedited processing should not be submitted.