Warning for Americans following rule change in passports
In 2020, the US government brought in a new rule to help travelers. It was designed to remove a barrier to travel, at a time when tests, paperwork and quarantining made taking a flight a stressful process.
But that rule has recently been revoked, meaning US passport holders should urgently check their documents.
During the pandemic, the US State Department ruled that US passport holders could travel on expired passports.
The policy applied to passports, which expired on or after Jan. 1 2020.
This rule was originally supposed to end in March of this year, but it was then extended until June 30.
It was created due to "unprecedented [passport] appointment backlogs". In 2021, some passengers had to wait as long as 18 weeks to get their passports.
But as of July 1, 2022, the State Department announced, those returning to the US will have to hold a valid passport in order to get past border checks.
"If your passport has expired, please contact your nearest US Embassy or Consulate to apply for a US passport," the State Department said in its website update.
If your US passport is due to run out soon, 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 such as China, Thailand, Egypt and Turkey need at least six months.
The US State Department estimates that it takes eight to 11 weeks to process a passport application at the moment.
But if your trip is fast approaching, you can pay $60 (€60) to get it expedited in five to seven weeks.