Emergency Passport Guide (USA)
Some urgently need a passport to travel abroad due to an emergency case. This is what the emergency passport is for. Below we’ll cover what you need to know about getting an emergency passport in the US.
Table of contents
- Emergency passport: what is it?
- Emergency passport vs. standard passport
- How quickly can you get an emergency passport?
- Is it possible to issue an emergency passport on the same day?
- What qualifies you for an emergency passport?
- Documents needed for an emergency passport application
- Instantly get a US passport photo online
- Emergency passport cost
- How to exchange an emergency passport for a normal one?
Emergency passport: what is it?
An emergency passport is a temporary passport intended for urgent travel — within 72 hours due to a life-or-death emergency. The applicant must show a document proving the qualifying emergency to apply.
Emergency passport vs. standard passport
Emergency passports are limited in validity — only one year or less. Unlike regular passports, emergency passports cannot be extended. Emergency documents also do not have electronic chips.
Emergency passports, by nature, are only available to those who qualify for a life-and-death emergency. One of the reasons why is the speed of the service.
How quickly can you get an emergency passport?
Emergency passports can be issued within 72 hours of the application appointment. Note that the passport agency, US embassy, or consulate cannot guarantee an appointment is available for emergency application.
Is it possible to issue an emergency passport on the same day?
The official issuance period for emergency passports is 72 hours or 3 days. Depending on the case and the issuing authority, this period can be within one day.
What qualifies you for an emergency passport?
In the US, what qualifies you for an emergency passport is if you need to travel internationally in 3 business days because your immediate family member outside of the United States has died, is dying or in hospice care, or has a life-threatening disease or injury.
Here are the family members who qualify as immediate: parents, legal guardians, children, spouses, siblings, or grandparents.
Documents needed for an emergency passport application
To apply for an emergency passport, here are the documents you need to provide:
- Get a documental proof of the emergency, such as a death certificate, statement from a mortuary, or a letter from the hospital, with hospital/clinic letterhead, signed by the doctor/medical professional, explaining the relative’s medical condition;
- If the documentation of the emergency is not in English, it must be translated by a professional translator;
- Proof of international travel within the next 3 business days, such as an itinerary or airline ticket;
- Passport application;
- Valid passport photo
- Valid government-issued photo identification (such as a driver’s license or identification card).
Instantly get a US passport photo online
US passport photos have to follow strict requirements to be accepted. To avoid wasting time and resources, we recommend you trust the editing of your photo to a professional tool that guarantees that your photo will fully satisfy the parameters.
Keeping in mind that you need the passport done quickly, it is important to get the complaint passport picture immediately.
For this, you can use the passport online tool Visafoto, which has been processing US passport pictures since 2013. Just upload a portrait of you in decent lighting, with a proper dress code, and adequately posed: look straight to the camera and keep a neutral expression. Visafoto will take care of the rest of the formatting.
What’s left is then to print the photo based on the template you will get from Visafoto, making the process quicker and more affordable while guaranteeing compliant results.
Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.
You will get two files from Visafoto: a digital photo for electronic applications and a template ready for printing.
Emergency passport cost
The fees for emergency applications are the same, which is $130 for a passport book. If applicable, a $35 processing fee is paid to the acceptance facility.
How to exchange an emergency passport for a normal one?
If you were issued an emergency passport for urgent travel, you must apply to exchange it for a regular one as soon as possible. To do so, the passport must have been issued less than 12 months ago — highlighting the urgency of replacements, and does not have an endorsement on page 11 stating, "The Department of State must approve a full validity passport."
To exchange it, submit by mail these documents:
- Completed form DS-5504;
- Your emergency limited validity passport;
- One passport-sized photograph.