Suppose a US citizen is stuck in another country with an expired passport, unable to renew the passport because of public health restrictions or for some other reason. Can the US citizen fly to the US with the expired passport?


Usually, the answer to this question is no, but the US has announced what might be called a limited-time offer:

Returning to the United States on an Expired U.S. Passport

If you are overseas and your 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).

  • 3
    Is this reflected in IATA? I’d copy their version as that’s what the airlines will go by.
    – JonathanReez
    May 26 at 5:30
  • 1
    I suppose it is also relevant for the question if the 'another country', in which the citizen is stuck, will allow the person to leave with an expired passort. That is not self-evident if there are exit immigration checks. May 26 at 9:51
  • And the airline needs to know about these rules. They could stop you from getting on the flight, even when they shouldn’t.
    – gnasher729
    May 28 at 18:07

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