In 2020, the U.S. government issued a new rule to help travelers. It was designed to remove a travel barrier, at a time when tests, paperwork and quarantine made travel a stressful process.
But that rule was recently repealed, meaning U.S. passport holders should immediately check their documents.
The US passport validity rule has been removed
During the pandemic, the U.S. State Department ruled that U.S. passport holders could travel using expired passports.
The policy applied to passports that expired on or after January 1, 2020.
This rule was originally supposed to end in March of this year, but then it was extended until June 30.
It was created because “hasn’t happened yet [passport] appointment backlogs“. In 2021, some passengers will have to wait up to 18 weeks to get their passports.
But beginning July 1, 2022, the State Department announced, those returning to the U.S. will need to hold a valid passport in order to to bypass boundary checks.
“If your passport has expired, please contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a U.S. passport,” the State Department said in an update of its website.
How to renew a US passport
If your US passport is about to expire, the government recommends filling out your renewal application form as soon as possible. This is especially important if the country you are going to requires your passport to be valid for at least 6 months for entry or departure.
Countries like Australia and Canada require your passport to be valid for the length of your stay, while others like China, Thailand, Egypt at Turkey need at least six months.
How long do passport applications take in the US?
The U.S. State Department estimates it takes eight to 11 weeks to process a passport application so far.
But if your trip is near, you can pay $ 60 (€ 60) to speed it up in five to seven weeks.
How are new US passports different?
If you want a renewal, you’re next The US passport will probably look different in your old. There are enhanced features in this one.
Called the ‘Next Generation Passport’ (NGP), this new iteration of the classic version has enhanced security features. This includes a “polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalization, and updated artwork.”
And your previous image will be turned into a laser-engraved, black-and-white image, with the page itself set to be more durable.
It should also be noted that the new US passport is more expensive – at $ 165 in total, $ 20 (€ 20) more than before the pandemic, when it was $ 145.