After several months without providing any service to users, because of the Covid-19. Finally, The American Passport Agency in Miami returns to its activities in part.
The American Passport Agency in Miami resumes operations: first phase
Since the pandemic erupted, the processing of American passports has been suspended unless applicants had a life-or-death emergency and needed to make an international trip within the next 72 hours.
During phase one of reopening, consular authorities “will continue to prioritize customers who need a passport within the next 72 hours (3 working days) for life-or-death emergencies only,” the Department said, explaining the restoration of passport services.
But unlike before, citizens can now request an appointment for passport issuance.
“Customers should wear cloth hubs in all common areas, including our lobbies, and observe strict social estating,” the agency warned.
“A limited number of our employees will return to work, allowing us to resume processing a limited number of requests we have already received. We encourage customers to wait to submit new or renewal requests, as delays will continue in phase one.”
MIAMI PASSPORT AGENCY ENTERS PHASE ONE OF OPERATIONS
During phase one, the agency will operate as follows:
▪ Limited Staff
▪ Personal Appointments at the Emergency-Only Agency
▪ Will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis
▪ There will be delays in processing
Some agencies elsewhere in the country have already entered the second phase, which has more staff in the office. In the third phase, people with two-week travel plans will be able to make an appointment.
CHANGES IN U.S. PASSPORT SERVICES
For life-or-death emergencies, the authorities define “serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, brother, aunt, uncle, etc.) that require travel outside the United States within 72 hours.”
The requirements are:
▪ The passport application form (Form DS-11) next to supporting documents.
▪ Proof of emergency life or death as a death certificate, morgue statement, or letter signed by a hospital or medical professional. Documents must be translated into English.
▪ Proof of international travel, such as air ticket reservation or itinerary.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO RENEW YOUR PASSPORT
For the renewal of the American passport you do not have to make an appointment, but it can be done by mail. According to the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, there are four eligibility requirements for passport renewal:
- Form DS-80 U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals, which must be completed on the Department’s website and then printed and signed. The instructions are on page 2 of the form.
- A 2×2-inch color photograph, taken in the last six months. Photo failures are the most common reason for refusal. Official indications on the conditions of the photograph to avoid unnecessary delays can be found in this link in English.
- The most recent American passport, which must have been issued in the last 15 years, and the holder has been over 16 years of age on the date of issue.
- Payment of the corresponding fee, according to the procedure. A passport book costs $110, and a passport card for land or sea travel to Mexico and Canada (passport card), $30.
If it is not an emergency request, however, “you will experience delays before receiving your new passport and returning your previous passport,” the agency said.
STATE DEPARTMENT WITHDRAWS RECOMMENDATION TO AVOID INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL BY COVID-19
The State Department raised the Level 4 Travel Warning urging U.S. citizens to “avoid any international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.”
Instead of urging restricting all travel, the federal agency now suggests that people contemplating travel specifically read each country’s transit alerts and follow the websites of U.S. embassies abroad to read updates on the impact of COVID-19.
On the other hand, for those abroad, U.S. embassies and consulates, in addition to providing emergency passport services, in some cases have resumed routine passport services for American citizens, as well as visas for foreigners.
To obtain a passport abroad you must contact the nearest embassy or consulate.