Americans in Israel struggling to get their passports renewed have an easier time traveling now, after the U.S. State Department said it will allow Americans to travel with expired passports.
Citing the pandemic-exacerbated backlog of requests, the Biden administration will allow Americans whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2021 to travel back to the United States using that passport until December 31, 2021.
“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 department said in a statement.
Chaim V’Chessed suggested Americans in Israel take advantage of this new rule to return home, as the American Consulate in Tel Aviv and the American Embassy in Yerushalayim are experiencing significant delays.
Renewal of passports for people ages 16 and older must be done by mail in Israel, and typically takes between 4 to 5 weeks. Those who need their passports more quickly are encouraged to include a note with their application with their travel dates and a request for an emergency one-year passport.
For those who can renew their passport by the mail, the Embassy will not offer appointments. The new State Department rule is expected to ease the delays in the Embassy and Consulate and make it easier for people who need appointments for registering newborns and other necessary documentation.