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Passport Renewal at the US Embassy Thailand During COVID-19 Lockdown

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US passport renewal and we are discussing this specifically over the backdrop of this COVID-19 lock-down here in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Now we have actually had clients and a couple of them that have requested our assistance in getting their passports renewed while this lockdown has been ongoing. For those who are unaware, notwithstanding the fact that American Citizen Services was quite overworked at the beginning of this whole situation with issuance of what are called Embassy Letters that were being issued in order to prolong Visa status in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. That was before the so-called Visa Amnesty or automatic visa extension until July 31st kicked in pursuant to the announcement from Thai Immigration which was promulgated in furtherance of the Emergency Decree. They were quite busy I am sure getting that stuff done down at the US Embassy.

We have had a bit of a lull but one thing that has come up and we have been assisting clients with is renewal of US passports at the US Embassy. Just some general information for those who want to know about this, they can issue Emergency Passports but due to the fact that many of the facilities in the United States are closed down in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, they are not necessarily able to issue full passports, 10-year passports. So folks that obtain an Emergency passport, they are only going to be issued a 1-year passport. It is kind of a temporary thing. It is a good stopgap measure. For those who are about to run up on the 6-month window of the validity of their US passports, it is a good idea to get a new passport or get an emergency passport. The reason for that is a passport with 6 months or less validity kind of becomes a hobbled travel Document. Certainly it can always be used for return to the United States but other countries for example are going to have a lot of hesitance in issuing a visa to a passport with less than 6 months validity on it. We have seen this come up in matters pertaining Thai visas that are issued at a Thai Embassy or a Thai Consulate abroad; sometimes they won't even issue a Visa or where they would otherwise have issued a 1-year they will only issue a 90-day Visa in light of the fact that the passport has limited validity. So, if you are falling into the 6-month window where expiration is imminent, it is not a terrible idea to seriously consider getting one of these emergency passports under the circumstances. They are issuing these and in follow up after the lockdown abates, it looks like they are going to then turn around and assist in issuing a 10-year passport at no additional charge from the initial temporary emergency passport. So they are doing the best that they can and I think they are dealing with this kind of in an ad hoc manner because this is an unforeseen state of affairs that has arisen and I personally think it is about as good a solution as can be had under the circumstances. 

So as previously stated, it is possible to get a temporary 1-year passport while waiting for this COVID lockdown to abate, the Embassy to reopen and then subsequent to that, go ahead and get a 10-year passport issued thereafter.