U.S. passport, CRBA and travel information for U.S. citizens following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

U.S. citizens are required to enter and exit the United States using a U.S. passport. If you are overseas and your U.S. passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.

You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if:

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
    Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

All other passport rules and regulations remain in effect. The Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any bearer in accordance with 22 CFR 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b)

This page was last updated on May 26, 2021

All travelers from the United Kingdom to the United States must provide a negative COVID19 test result. For more information please see CDC’s website.

Emergency procedures and travel restrictions may change rapidly due to the impact of COVID-19. If you are in the United States or another country and your U.S. passport has expired or is due to expire, you should renew your passport before you travel to the United Kingdom.

Please visit the UK government’s website for important information about international travel from the UK. This includes guidance information for foreign nationals wishing to return home, and information about holiday (vacation) travel for foreign nationals living in the UK.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the U.S. Embassy in London is offering limited passport and citizenship services. The Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh continue to offer emergency appointment services only.

Adult passport renewals

Most passport renewals for adults do not require an in-person appearance. Embassy London is still accepting routine adult passport renewal applications by mail for all citizens in the United Kingdom. Please click here for information about how to apply to renew your adult passport. This includes information for residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland and what to do if you need to renew your passport in an emergency.

Replacing an emergency limited validity passport for a full-validity passport

You can apply to replace an emergency limited-validity passport with a full-validity passport by mail, even if the limited-validity passport was issued to a child. Please click here for instructions.

In-person appointments for certain passport and citizenship services (including CRBA)

Please check the webpage for the passport or citizenship service you require for information about appointment availability and how to book an appointment. Please be aware that appointment availability is extremely limited. The appointment calendar shows all available appointments in real-time, including any new appointments and appointments made available due to cancelations.  If no appointments are available when you first check, keep checking the calendar regularly. These appointments can only be booked through the online calendar, not by email or telephone, which is why it is important to keep checking the calendar. We do not operate a wait list.

How to request an emergency appointment

You may request an emergency appointment if either of the following scenarios apply:

  • You reach five working days before your booked, urgent overseas travel date and you have been unable to book an appointment despite checking the online calendar regularly
  • No standard appointments are taking place for the service you need and you have booked, urgent travel in five working days

Please click here to contact us five working days before the date of travel. Please include the following information in your request:

  • The full name of each applicant, and the passport or citizenship service they require.
  • The date, time, and point of departure of the overseas travel.

If you’ve requested an emergency appointment or have a scheduled emergency appointment, please monitor your email (including junk and spam folders) and telephone (including voicemail) in case of any further updates.

Social distancing guidance for attending an emergency appointment at Embassy London

You will go through airport-style security screening. Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), everyone should wear a face mask if they are aged 11 or over. You can choose to buy a mask or make your own. Click here for information about how to make a face covering (sew and no-sew tutorials are available).

You must not bring laptops or bags above cabin-baggage size to your appointment because they not are permitted into the building and there are no storage facilities available. To save time, we recommend that you keep the number of small bags and belongings that you bring with you to a minimum.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, please use our contact form to cancel your appointment.

If you have recently entered the UK, your appointment must take place more than 10 days after your arrival in the UK.

Application processing times and status checks for adult passport renewal applications

The average processing time for a passport application is approximately three weeks, and it takes approximately four weeks for CRBA plus first passport applications to be processed. All timescales are provided for guidance only as processing varies in each case.

If additional information or documentation is required, you will be advised during the appointment (if applicable) or by letter. Processing of your case can only begin once everything required has been submitted. The processing times stated above begin from the date on which all required information and documentation is received by the Embassy.

We are unable to check on the status of your case unless the standard processing times have passed from the date on which you submitted all the necessary information and documentation.