What to do if your passport is expired?
You won't be allowed on a plane if your expired passport is found. Even if you do manage to board, the port authorities at the destination will have you return to the U.S. with the first flight available.
If you have the time and resources, you should apply for a passport renew. It will take between 8 and 11 weeks to process your application, plus the time it takes to mail it. Learn more about renewing your passport .
You can also apply for an emergency passport to allow you short-term travel within the United States in certain circumstances (e.g., a life or death emergency)
You cannot fly internationally if you don't have a valid passport.
Emergency Passport expiration - Different options
Although it is a general rule that an expired passport cannot be used for travel, there are some differences between international and domestic travel and different modes of transport (planes, ships, etc ) and between countries.
Travel with an expired passport for emergency purposes - within the US
An expired passport is not valid for domestic flights. You will therefore not be allowed to travel with it.
You don't need to have a passport to travel within the United States. Many forms of photo identification are accepted. Even if your passport is expired, you can still board domestic flight by using another document such as a driver’s license.
However, domestic flights will not be allowed to take place until the Real ID Act goes into effect on May 3, 2023. While you won't need to have a passport, it is important to ensure that your document has been validated.
International travel with expired passports - emergency travel
There are several options if your passport is expired and you need to travel abroad.
An emergency passport is required if you wish to travel back to the United States. A passport that has expired or any other type of ID will not work. You will need to contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to obtain this document. You will need to provide the following information:
- A passport photo
- Another type of photo ID
- Documentation proving US citizenship
Within a few hours you will receive an emergency passport which will allow you to return to the U.S. To travel outside of the U.S., your passport must be renewed once you have returned to the U.S.
The situation may be more complicated if you are traveling outside the U.S. This document will allow you to travel for three business days outside of the country if there is a life-threatening emergency.
The following documents are required by the Department of State to issue this type of passport:
- A hospital statement detailing the nature and urgency (translated if in another language) to be used as proof of emergency.
- You can prove that your travel plans will not last more than three business days (like airline tickets).
- The passport application form and supporting documents
In 72 hours, you can get an emergency passport.
You can request an expedited pass if you are able to wait 5 to 7 weeks. You will receive a regular U.S. passport this way.
You won't need your passport to travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean by sea or land. All you will need is a government-issued photo identification (Enhanced driver's licence, Trusted traveler card, passport card).
To be allowed to return to the U.S., however, you must have a valid passport. Border officials may decide to hold you until you can prove your citizenship if you don't have one.
Closed-loop cruises, which start and end in the same U.S. ports, are exempt from passport requirements.
Only valid passport books will be accepted for air travel to these countries.
Precautions for an expired passport
To avoid problems with an expired pass, you should renew it at the latest 6 months before its expiry. This is especially useful if you travel internationally frequently.
Keep a copy of any documents you may need for an emergency passport.
If you have a passport-related emergency outside the United States, make sure to locate the nearest U.S. Consulate and save their contact information. They will be able to assist in almost all situations.
Traveling with an expired passport for emergency purposes - summarising
An expired passport cannot be used as a travel document.
You can travel within the United States with a government-issued ID photo ID.
A valid passport book is the only acceptable document for international travel. You will need an emergency passport if your passport book is lost, stolen, or expires.
Keep a copy of all documents and renew your passport every 10 years. This will ensure that you have a relaxed and stress-free travel experience.
Can I travel to my country with an expired passport?
No. If your passport has expired in another country you will need an emergency passport from the nearest U.S. Embassy.
Is it possible to travel in an emergency without a passport?
International flights require a passport. Other forms of ID are permitted on domestic flights. You can apply for an emergency passport if your passport has expired. This is only available in certain cases by the Department of State.
Is it possible to travel with an soon-to-expired passport?
This passport is valid for domestic flights. International travel requires a passport that expires when you return to your home country.
What is an emergency when you need to travel with an expired passport?
An expired passport cannot be used as a travel document. You can apply for an emergency passport in case of life-threatening circumstances.
What happens if your passport is expired?
You won't likely be allowed on the plane. However, port authorities will immediately send you back if you reach another country.
What is the life expectancy of an emergency passport?
An emergency passport generally lasts 3 business days. It will not be valid for entry into the United States if issued by an embassy/consulate.