Passport and verified travel documents. (photo by Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon)
As of July 1, the United States’ Department of State is ending its pandemic-era rule that honored expired passports due to delays in processing.
According to Travel + Leisure, the rule allowed U.S. citizens to return to the United States even if their passports had expired on or after January 1, 2020.
Now, the State Department urges anyone traveling with an expired passport to “please contact your nearest U.S. embassy or Consulate to apply for a U.S. passport.”
The current processing time for receiving a new passport is eight to eleven weeks, with expedited processing taking five to seven weeks. The fastest way to renew a passport is still via mail service.
Those renewing their passports or getting one for the first time might receive a new, next-generation version of the U.S. passport. Either way, travelers now have the option to choose a different gender identity than male or female, designated with the letter “X”.
Travelers who have a currently expired passport or one that is set to expire six months or sooner from their anticipated travel dates are highly encouraged to renew their passports sooner rather than later. They can expedite their passports for a fee of $60, which is encouraged for people traveling internationally within the year.
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