Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
Biden administration said on Monday that Americans with expired passports can fly back home using them to board planes between now and December 31.
“To alleviate travel difficulties and unprecedented appointment backlogs created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are working together to facilitate U.S. citizens’ return to the United States,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement. “U.S. citizens currently overseas whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use their expired U.S. passport for direct return travel to the United States until December 31, 2021.”
The administration said certain criteria apply, encouraging U.S. citizens to confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport prior to finalizing travel arrangements.
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“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (DHS CBP) officers will accept for admission certain expired U.S. passports, thereby assisting U.S. citizens who have been affected by appointment backlogs at embassies and consulates overseas caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Recently expired passports cannot be used to travel from the United States to an international destination or 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.
The State Department continues to strongly recommend U.S. citizens reconsider travel abroad and postpone their trips if possible. We also remind U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States that proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within 72 hours of their flight’s departure, is required for air travel to the United States. For those wishing to renew their passport upon their return to the United States, current processing times can be found (here).”