Message to U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria (April 1, 2022)
Subject: Extension of Use of Certain Expired U.S. Passports for Direct Return to the United States
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 June 30, 2022.
You qualify to travel on your expired passport 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 five years.
- Your expired passport is undamaged.
- Your expired passport is unaltered.
- Your expired passport is in your possession.
You do not qualify to travel on your expired passport 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).
While urgent travel back to the United States may be accomplished on an expired passport that qualifies, you will need to renew your U.S. passport, most commonly by mail, in the United States before you can depart the United States again. For planning purposes, routine passport processing in the United States can take 8-11 weeks. For an additional $60, domestic applicants can request expedited service. Domestic applicants also may request 1–2-day delivery of their completed passport for an additional fee.
See www.travel.state.gov for our current processing times and schedule of fees. Adults with 10-year passports can renew them by mail instead of appearing in person at a domestic passport acceptance facility. If you have urgent international travel plans, you may be eligible for an appointment at a domestic passport agency or center. Appointments are limited and must be scheduled by phone. For more information, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html
If your U.S. passport expired on or before December 31, 2019, please see our website for information on how to renew your passport before traveling. Emergency temporary passports may be available in some cases for urgent travel.
Actions to Take:
- All U.S. citizens should enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and ensure you can be located in an emergency.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Bulgaria.
- Refer to our website for the latest Alerts and Messages for U.S. citizens.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19, including testing requirements to return to the United States.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
U.S. citizens needing assistance should contact the Embassy by email at ACS_Sofia@state.gov or by phone at+359-2-937-5100 during normal business hours. For after-hours emergencies (that is, the arrest, death, or danger to the safety and security of U.S. citizens), please call +359-2-937-5101.
- U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria
+359-2-937-5100 (business hours)
+359-2-937-5101 (after hours—emergencies only—arrest, death, or danger to the safety and security of U.S. citizens)
- State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Bulgaria Country Information
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