The appointments can be made by calling the National Passport Information Center, at 1-877-487-2778, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. “Wait times to reach a customer service representative can be long,” the department said on its website. “Last-minute in-person appointments are still extremely limited.”
The last-minute appointments are generally restricted to people who need to travel for life-or-death related emergencies, State Department officials said in a statement earlier this month. Americans seeking passports for nonessential travel are being offered “very limited appointments,” and are required to show documents indicating their travel is within 72 hours, the department said.
Thursday’s announcement came about 16 months after pandemic lockdown restrictions started forcing many people to abruptly abandon their travel plans.
The pandemic also led the State Department to significantly reduce its passport operations in March 2020 in order to protect its staff from contracting Covid-19, the department said. This led to hundreds of thousands of American passports expiring.
Now, as travel restrictions are easing in Europe, Canada and elsewhere, a number of those passports still need to be renewed. And government officials are still working through the backlog.