Americans Can Now Use Expired Passports to Re-enter the U.S. Until End Of March

The Deadline Has Been Extended Due To Backlog from COVID-19.

Close-up of American passport
Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images

American Citizens currently abroad may return back to the United States with an expired passport until the end of March extending the previous deadline.

U.S. citizens currently abroad with a passport that expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020 may be able to use their expired passport until March, 31, 2022, the State Department announced last week, citing delays in passport processing due to the pandemic.

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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," the State Department's announcement read.

Due to the pandemic, consulates and embassies around the world were forced to cut back staffing, leading to an "unprecedented" backlog of passport service appointments, according to the State Departmenent.

Specifically, some consulates are posting wait times of more than two months for processing passport renewals and there is still a "significant" backlog of applications, The Associated Press reported in May, when the extension was first announced.

Expired passports that will be considered OK for travel must not be damaged and must have been originally valid for 10 years. Additional criteria may still apply and Americans should check their passport status online before making final travel arrangements.

A condition currently in place says travelers cannot use their recently expired passports to travel from the U.S. to an international destination nor can they travel to a foreign country with the passport for any length of time longer than a connection between flights.

At this time, the State Department reminds those returning home that they will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 24 hours of their flight's departure, in order to enter the U.S.

For those looking for a first or new passport, the price has increased $20, the Washington Post reported last month. A new passport for adults aged 16 and up costs $130, and an additional application fee of $35, a renewed passport costs $130. These prices increased in December, for more information on passport pricing and requirements, visit the State Department site.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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