State Dept. to extend measure allowing use of expired passports to help Americans return home

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The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday that it will continue to temporarily allow Americans to use expired passports to "return from abroad directly to the United States" amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"U.S. citizens currently abroad whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use their expired U.S. passport for return travel to the United States until March 31, 2022," the State Department said in the announcement. "Certain criteria apply, and we encourage U.S. citizens to confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport."


The move, made in an attempt to further "lessen travel difficulties created" by the pandemic, is a coordinated effort between the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and commercial airlines.

As of Dec. 6, U.S. citizens seeking to fly back to the country, regardless of vaccination status, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the 24 hours before their flight's departure time.

In May, the State Department announced it would allow U.S. citizens abroad to use an expired passport to regain entry until Dec. 31. At that time, the expired passports were required to be undamaged, unaltered and in the traveler's possession.

For the last year, the State Department has warned Americans against traveling abroad as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In November, the State Department issued level four "do not travel" advisories to South Africa and seven nearby countries amid the spread of the new omicron variant in the region.

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