Emergency Passport for a Funeral

Emergency Passport for a Funeral

All citizens of the United States need a passport to fly outside the country. Sadly, however, sometimes people need to travel internationally at a moment’s notice for a family emergency. But what if you don’t have a valid passport? Can you get one in time for your flight?

In some cases, yes: it is possible to apply for an emergency passport for a funeral (or a life or death emergency). You will be able to leave the country almost immediately. However, the matter must be extremely pressing or the Department of State will not grant your request.

So if you are in this situation, keep reading this article. We will go over all the steps you need to take in order to obtain an emergency passport.

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When can you get an emergency passport?

According to the Department of State, an emergency passport can only be issued for a life or death emergency, namely:

  • The death of an immediate family member outside of the US.
  • A life-threatening injury or illness of an immediate family member outside of the US.

The Department of State classifies as “immediate family members” only parents, grandparents, legal guardians, children, spouses, and siblings. In all other cases (such as aunts, uncles and cousins), they will not grant the release of an emergency passport for a funeral.

Expedited passports

Even if you don’t have a life or death emergency, you are still allowed to request an expedited process to get your passport. If you need to travel within 2 weeks, you can make an appointment at your regional passport agency (1-877-487-2778) and apply. You will need to provide proof of urgency, with the travel date and plane tickets. Bear in mind that the number of appointments is limited and you might not get one.

Find out more about passports from these articles:

How to obtain an emergency passport for a funeral

If you need to get a passport immediately, you must make an appointment at one of the U.S. Department of State’s 26 regional passport agencies and centers—NOT a passport application acceptance office such as many US post offices.

You can only make an appointment by calling 1-877-487-2778. You can make the appointment for up to two (2) weeks before your flight, but your departure must be within three business days of the appointment. The passport will only be valid for 3 (three) days to leave the US; it will expire in 12 (twelve) months, so you need to return to the US within a year.

You will need to get all your documentation before setting an appointment, to make sure that you qualify. For an emergency passport for a funeral you will need:

  • a completed passport application form (DS-11 for application, DS-82 for renewal);
  • limited-Validity Passport application form DS-5504;
  • all the supporting documents (photo ID, proof of US citizenship, etc.);
  • photocopies of your supporting documents;
  • passport photos;
  • proof of the life or death emergency, such as:
    – death certificate
    – statement from a mortuary
    – a signed letter from a hospital or a medical professional.
  • proof of the imminent international travel (like airline tickets).

If the proof of life or death emergency is in a foreign language, you will also need to provide a translation by a professional translator. It’s not necessary to have it notarized.

After you gather your documents, call the regional passport agency at 1-877-487-2778 and explain your situation. If you qualify, they will make an appointment for you; however, they cannot guarantee that you’ll have your emergency passport before your flight. 

Emergency passport for a funeral – helpful advice

If you need to get a passport for a life or death emergency, there are some steps you can take to make sure that you have all the required documents in the shortest time possible.

First of all, as soon as you obtain them, make a copy of everything, in case the passport agency needs to keep them.

Secondly, if the death certificate or hospital statement comes from a foreign country, ask if you can get it in English beforehand; this will save you the time you would spend looking for a professional translator. If this is not possible, start looking for a translator right away; the documents shouldn’t be very long and, under the circumstances, you should be able to get a translation in a short time.

Remember that if you have to go to Canada, Mexico, or part of the Caribbean, you might not need to get an emergency passport: for land or sea travel to these countries, US citizens can just use a passport card, an enhanced driver’s license, or a trusted traveler card.

Passport Photo Online

Whatever process you decide to take, you are going to need a passport photo, fast. With Passport Photo Online you can take a picture for your emergency passport at home, using just an Android or iOS device.

Our AI will scan it and tell you if it meets all the government requirements for an official photo. If it does, we’ll edit and resize it and email you a ready-to-print JPG. Have your ready-to-cut passport pictures printed for pennies at thousands of places across the USA.

With PPO, you’ll have one less thing to worry about and you can apply for the emergency passport right away.

Emergency passport for a funeral – wrapping up

As you can see, you have a few options if you need to leave the country on short notice for a sudden family emergency.

If you have enough time, the best course of action is to make a request for expedited service; it will be simpler to obtain and you get a regular passport with a full ten years of validity. Remember that this service is available for both new passports and renewals.

In cases of life or death emergencies, you can apply for an emergency passport and get it in as little as 24 hours. Just make sure to have all the documents you need and call the passport agency as soon as possible.


What is considered a life or death emergency?

The Department of State classifies a “life or death emergency” as the death or life threatening illness or injury of an immediate family member.

What kind of proof is required for a life or death emergency passport?

According to the Department of State, the only acceptable documents are: a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary or funeral home, or a signed letter from a hospital. If they are in a foreign language, they need to be accompanied by a translation.