How to Get an Emergency Passport for a Funeral

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • An emergency passport is issued for life-or-death situations, such as family emergencies outside the U.S.
  • Immediate family members can apply, and an expedited process is available for urgent travel.
  • To obtain the emergency passport, gather required documents and schedule an appointment at a regional passport agency.

The death of a loved one can be a very difficult time, especially if you are abroad when a family emergency happens. Not only do you have to deal with the grief of losing someone you deeply care about, but you are also in a situation that requires getting an emergency passport.

How to get an emergency passport for funeral, though? Keep reading to see how you can obtain the document so you can travel as soon as possible.

When Can You Get an Emergency Passport?

An emergency passport is, as the name suggests, a type of passport that can only be given to an individual for a life-or-death situation. The Department of State mentions that this passport can be issued to someone in the following scenarios:

  • An immediate family member outside the U.S. suffered a life-threatening injury or is dealing with a life-threatening illness
  • An immediate family member outside the U.S. passed away

According to the Department of State, immediate family members are children, parents, legal guardians, grandparents, siblings, and spouses only. Relatives such as uncles, aunts, and cousins are not classified as immediate family members. Therefore, if the situation involves one of them, you will not be able to apply for an emergency passport for the funeral.

However, you may still request an expedited process for obtaining the passport even when there is no life-or-death emergency. If you can call the regional passport agency and make an appointment and then apply, you may be able to travel within two weeks. All you need is to show evidence of the urgency using the plane tickets and the travel date.

You must also bear in mind that there is a limited number of appointments, so you are not guaranteed to get an expedited passport.

How to Get an Emergency Passport for a Funeral

The untimely death of a loved one can be devastating, leaving you and your family to make funeral arrangements. If you do not have the money for a funeral, you will have to consider funeral loans. And if you are in the U.S. while your immediate family member who passed away was in a different country, you will have to get your emergency passport.

How do you get the emergency passport for a funeral, though? Well, you should make an appointment at one of the 26 regional passport centers and agencies of the U.S. Department of State. Keep in mind that you should not do this at a passport application acceptance office like a post office.

Also, the appointment can only be made if you call 1-877-487-2778. The appointment can be made up to 2 weeks before you have to leave, but you must also ensure that your departure is within 3 days of your appointment. This is because once you get the passport, it will be valid for only 3 days in order to leave the U.S. Afterward, it expires in 12 months, so you must come back to the U.S. within one year.

Before setting an appointment, you also have to gather all your documents to ensure you are qualified for an emergency passport.

The documentation you must get includes:

  • A DS-5504 limited-validity passport application form
  • A passport application form that you completed (DS-11 for application or DS-82 for renewal)
  • Passport photographs
  • All the supporting documents like U.S. citizen proof, photo ID, and so on
  • Photocopies of the supporting documents
  • Evidence of the life-or-death emergency (statement from a mortuary, a death certificate, or a letter from a medical professional or hospital with a signature)
  • Evidence of the imminent international travel, such as airline tickets

In case you have a life-or-death emergency proof in a different language, you are required to get a professional translator to provide a translation. Having it notarized is not a necessity, though.

Once you have all the necessary documents, you should reach out to the regional passport agency and then tell them about your situation and why you need to travel abroad urgently. They will make an appointment for you if you qualify. At the same time, you must keep in mind that they will not be able to guarantee that you’ll obtain your emergency travel document before the departure date.

Advice for Getting an Emergency Passport for a Funeral

Before you get an emergency passport for a funeral, you must know a few things. To begin with, make sure you are aware of how long passports are good for.

Also, you should consider asking if you can get the hospital statement or death certificate in English if it comes from a different country. This will be great as you will not have to spend time looking for a professional translator. But if you cannot obtain it in English, you should start searching for a good translator immediately.

Make copies of all the documents because you never know whether the passport agency will want to keep them or not.

Moreover, remember that you might not need an emergency passport if you need to go to Mexico, Canada, or part of the Caribbean. All you need for sea or land travel to these territories is an enhanced driver’s license, passport card, or a trusted traveler card instead.

What Documents Are Needed for an Emergency Passport?

If you want a smooth emergency passport application, then you should get the right documents right away. Here is what you will need:

  • Two passport photos that are 2” x 2” and are taken on a white background
  • Application form (DS-11 or DS-82)
  • Identity proof (a government-issued photo I.S. or a driver’s license)
  • Original/certified birth certificate or an expired original naturalization certificate or U.S. passport
  • Travel itinerary
  • Letter of Authorization
  • 24 Hour Passport & Visas
  • Money Order or Certified Check payable to the “U.S. Department of State”

How long it takes to get a passport for an emergency depends on when you can gather all the documents to submit the application.

Emergency Passport FAQ

At this point, you may still have some concerns regarding emergency passports for funerals. Here are some questions with useful answers:

Can I get an emergency passport in one day?

You may be able to get your passport in one day if you apply for the emergency travel document through certain passport agencies. Some are specialized in offering 24-hour passports and visas.

How long does it take to get an emergency passport?

Usually, an emergency passport is given within 72 hours or 3 business days. The sooner you apply for it, the sooner you will be able to obtain it.

Read More

Final Thoughts

Getting an emergency passport for a funeral is possible if you have close family members abroad and one of them passes away. Your emergency passport will allow you to travel urgently so you can be there to say goodbye to your loved one. You must get the right documents and apply immediately, and you should be able to obtain the document.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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