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How do I get emergency renewal passports for our children and are they required?

by Evan
(Fairbanks, Alaska, USA)

Question: We are traveling to Japan in less than a week for a family emergency as my wife's father has died (my wife is Japanese with a valid US Green Card). We have six children ages 8, 7, 5, 3, 2, and 8 mos. and wish to travel as a family.

Our oldest three children have expired US passports, and all six children have valid Japanese passports. The airline agency just informed us that we need US passports for the children to reenter the US. I had thought they could travel with either US or Japanese passport to either country as long as they were with us (their parents).

Is a temporary (one-time) certificate available for emergency travel of dependents? Any other suggestions?

Answer: U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport in order to re-enter the United States. Temporary certificates do not exist.

You have two options. One, expedite the passports before the trip to Japan. You can do this by scheduling an appointment for each child and visiting the nearest regional passport agency. If you are unable to go to a regional agency, you can employ the services of a registered expediting service. Note, it would be necessary for each child to appear with both parents at an application acceptance facility if you opt for passport courier service.

The second option would be to travel to Japan and obtain the new passports at a U.S. embassy or consulate there. Depending on how long you will be in Japan, you might be issued emergency, limited validity passports. These could be replaced with full-validity passports after you return to the United States. Click the links below for more information.

Regional Passport Agencies

Expedited Passport Services - Passports for Minors

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan

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