U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. State Department announced Tuesday that they would allow some U.S. citizen travelers to use recently expired passports to return to the United States.

Key Points:

  • Under a change that will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2021, U.S. citizens may use passports that expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, to return to the U.S., if:
    • They are a U.S. citizen;
    • They are currently abroad seeking to return to the U.S;
    • They are flying directly to the U.S., a U.S. territory, or have a short connecting flight through another country on their way to the U.S. or a U.S. territory;
    • Their expired passport was originally valid for 10 years (or five years for travelers who were 15 or under when the passport was issued); and
    • The passport is undamaged and in the traveler’s possession.
  • Travelers cannot use expired passports to travel from the U.S. to a foreign country. They also cannot use expired passports to travel from one foreign country to another foreign country, except when catching a connecting flight to return to the U.S.

BAL Analysis: While the change will ease travel procedures for some U.S. citizens returning to the U.S., it only applies to a limited number of travelers, as described above. BAL continues to urge individuals to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel, as travel restrictions may change with little notice and could affect travelers’ ability to re-enter or return to the U.S.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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