U.S. halts issuing new passports unless it's 'life-or-death'

The State Department has put a temporary end to the issuance of nearly all new passports until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Image of an American passport.
American passport
Last Updated:
April 4, 2020 - 5:09pm

The State Department is putting a temporary halt on the issuance of new American passports during the coronavirus pandemic, warning that unless it concerns a "life-or-death" situation, travelers should not expect to receive international travel credentials for the near future. 

The agency said Friday that applicants who wish for a passport are required to submit "proof of [a] life-or-death emergency," and that the emergency in question must necessitate travel outside of the United States within three days' time. Serious illness and immediate family deaths were some of the qualifying emergencies named by the agency. 

Passport applications received before March 19 will still be processed, the department said.

The government has implemented numerous travel restrictions since the pandemic began, including a ban on flights from China and hard-hit parts of Europe. The president has indicated he may consider tightening restrictions on certain domestic flights, as well.