Temporary US Passports: Do You Qualify For One?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Wed Sep 13 2017

There are several types of Limited Validity Passports offered by the US Department of State. Any passports issued for a period of less than 10 years for adults and 5 years for children is considered as one with limited validity, but that isn’t what many travelers think of when they need a temporary passport abroad.

Temporary passports issued in the United States are often done so due to a pending replacement of a naturalization certificate, gender reassignment, and a name change. There are also second passports for adults with a validity of four years instead of ten.

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What is a temporary passport?

What is a temporary passport issued outside the US? An emergency document, usually issued as a result of theft or loss of the previous passport with immediate travel plans. Such passports are usually given a limit of two days, but exceptions are made on a case by case basis. Although thefts of passports are not uncommon, issuing a temporary passport for US citizens is only done as needed; in many cases, travelers don’t need to learn how to get a temporary passport when they can pay for expedited processing of a replacement ten-year one.

How can you get an emergency passport?

Whether you are the victim of theft abroad or merely lost your passport with no possibility of getting it back (e.g. dropped it off Iguazu Falls), you still need to file a police report at the station closest to where the theft or loss occurred. Such a report isn’t always required, but it will make your claim easier.

Secondly, find the closest US embassy or consulate in the country where you lost the passport – naturally, you can’t leave until the matter is resolved. Bring the police report of your passport loss or theft as well as any other form of identification you may have. Many travelers keep copies of their passport identification page to strengthen their claim at the consulate.

In the event you were a victim of a crime or natural disaster and had all your cash and credit cards taken from you, e.g. lost in a flood, the embassy may allow you to borrow money for emergency travel back home.

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What are the restrictions on temporary passports?

Once a temporary passport has been issued, it’s generally done so to get the traveler back to the US. In some cases, if you provide your travel itinerary and reasons for travel, the consular section can make the emergency passport valid for up to one year at their discretion. These cases are rare, and it’s usually best to apply for a replacement ten-year passport if you plan on traveling for a while.

When travelers do use the emergency passport to complete their original trip, the consular officer must list all the countries to which they’re traveling, with specific entry and exit dates; those with loose plans will not be accommodated. In addition, any visas that were present in the lost or stolen passport will most likely need to be reissued.

Would you get an emergency passport abroad, or just apply for a replacement?