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Topic: My experience getting an emergency US passport  (Read 586 times)

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My experience getting an emergency US passport
« on: July 16, 2022, 04:21:34 PM »
I thought it might be useful to forum members to share my recent experience getting an emergency passport at the London Embassy.

I had a flight to the US booked for a Friday to see my dad who was in his final days.

About midday on the day before the flight I couldn't find my passport.  I spent an hour looking, but then shifted to figuring out how to get a replacement.  It was Thursday and if I couldn't get a replacement by Friday I'd have to wait over the weekend and Dad would surely be gone by then.

The US Embassy in London website made it clear you have to have an appointment.  They offer an emergency service for people traveling within 5 days.  I found this by clicking here:

https://uk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/u-s-passports/emergency-passports/

So I clicked through, filled in the boxes and submitted.  A box popped up after I submitted saying it might be several days before I get a response, but a few hours later I received an email saying I had an appointment at the embassy at 8am the next morning!

The email contained the detail of what you need, which was the following:

Form DS 11 (downloadable from the website) completed but not signed.
Form DS 64 (downloadable from the website) completed.
Passport picture (there's a machine at the embassy but they recommend bringing one with you)
Application fee of $165 (credit cards accepted)
Proof of US citizenship (I didn't have my birth certificate - my US drivers license was accepted without question).

I arrived early at the embassy.  My name wasn't on the visitors' list, probably because it was a last minute appointment.  They had to call the office to verify my appointment which took a few minutes but then I was admitted.

Once I arrived to the passport office, things went smoothly.   I submitted the documents, waited briefly, paid the fee, waited briefly, the agent reviewed my application with me, waited about 20 minutes and the new passport was in my hand.    It took about 45 minutes.

I was able to book a flight for the next day.  My father passed peacefully about 30 minutes after I arrived.  It was an emotional few days!

The emergency passport is only valid for a year and isn't widely accepted in other countries without a visa.  They recommend you exchange it for a full passport quickly, which you can do from the US or the UK.  I did it from the UK.

The embassy website explains how to get it exchanged.  You have to mail in an application form, the emergency passport, proof of citizenship and a return envelope.  There's no fee.

The website indicated the process should take about 3 weeks.  When 4 weeks had passed, I emailed the embassy (londonpassports@state.gov) and got a response the next day saying my new passport had been sent to their mailroom.  I received it  2 days later.  The passport start date was 2 weeks earlier - not sure why it took 2 weeks for it to get to the mailroom!

I hope this is helpful to anyone in a similar situation.  It was stressful, but everyone at the embassy was kind and compassionate which made it a bit easier.


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Re: My experience getting an emergency US passport
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2022, 08:11:12 PM »
Thanks for sharing. I'm very sorry for your loss.


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Re: My experience getting an emergency US passport
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2022, 01:02:30 PM »
I’m so glad that it worked out.  Your dad waited for you.  Got quite teary reading this. I’m glad you were there and will be thinking of you. 


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