If you are an American citizen – including a naturalized citizen – who had a baby outside of the United States during the past 15 months, you may have a long wait to get a passport for your newborn. According to a report in the NY Times, appointments at local embassies for U.S. citizens overseas are nearly impossible to get because many consulates continue to have Covid restrictions and staff reductions and are closed except for emergency situations. As a result, Americans who recently had a baby abroad may have a long wait for a passport so they can travel to the United States.
Approximately 9 million U.S. citizens currently live abroad, and “immigration lawyers estimate more than 100,000 can’t get travel documents to return to the United States.” According to the NY Times, Mexico is believed to have more American expats than any other country and “the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City showed zero available appointments for passport services, even with emergency circumstances.”
In most countries, Americans must apply for travel documents in person, unlike applications within the U.S. that can be submitted by mail.
The NY Times further reports that online appointments are illegally being resold in many countries. The U.S. State Department prohibits reselling immigration appointments, and on January 14, “the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a notice to registered passport courier companies warning them of consequences for pay-to-play offerings for appointments.”
Illinois immigration attorney Mario Godoy said the State Department backlog is impacting applications abroad and in the United States:
“Our immigration law firm expects the USCIS backlog to continue for at least another year. The processing times are improving, but the backlog caused by the pandemic is still affecting processing times. We hope the Biden administration will take action to add staffing to reduce the backlog.”
To ensure that every step of your immigration process has the best opportunity for a successful outcome, a skilled immigration attorney can put their experience to work for you and review your circumstances to help you make the decisions to help you succeed. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.