The U.S. Department of State has announced that it is reducing passport services during the coronavirus outbreak.
The department issued a travel alert advising all U.S. citizens to avoid international travel during the pandemic and urged travelers that are currently abroad to return home immediately.
Now, the State Department is curtailing passport services to life-or-death emergencies.
“Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer service for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours,” said the statement.
To qualify for a life-or-death emergency, travelers must show that there is a serious illness, injury or death in their immediate family that requires international travel within 72 hours.
In order to obtain a passport, travelers need to show:
—A passport application with supporting documents
—Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional. Documents must be translated or in English.
—Proof of international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket, itinerary)
Travelers needing an emergency passport can call the National Passport Information Center 877-487-2778 (888-874-7793 TDD/TTY) on Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.