The U.S. State Department this week said it would not be issuing or processing new passports and renewals because of the continuing impact of COVID-19.
“Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer service for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency,” the State Department wrote on an update on its website.
Those with “qualified life-or-death” emergencies, which include serious illnesses, injuries, or death in a traveler’s immediate family that require international travel within three days, would still need to have their passport application with all supporting documents along with proof of the emergency (a death certificate, statement from a mortuary, or signed letter from a hospital).
Those who were in the process of getting or renewing a passport before March 20 will still have their applications move forward, including those who opted for expedited service.
The update isn’t the other procedural change to travel IDs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced that there will be a 12-month delay in the enforcement of the REAL ID. The delay allows the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.