Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Because of fears of the spread of the Coronavirus, the United States has stopped issuing new passports, unless the situation is an emergency or a “life and death” issue.
In a statement, on its website, the US State Department asked Americans to avoid international travel during this period. In line with this, it announced that it will only provide passports for citizens who have a qualified emergency.
Examples of emergencies include travel due to serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in the immediate family.
Applicants traveling outside the United States must submit their application within 3 days, and they will have to provide “evidence of an emergency” such as a death certificate, a statement from the morgue, or a letter signed by a hospital or medical specialist.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that requests received on or before March 19 will be reviewed.
Individuals who need to renew their passports for international travel in the future can continue without the usual option for expedited service, that is, for an additional fee of $ 60, according to the State Department website.
The passport review usually takes 6 to 8 weeks, and the statement indicates a possible delay in regular service for renewals submitted after March 20. The statement does not provide any information about the expected delay times.
The Corona virus has infected more than a million people worldwide, and has killed more than 60,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The United States is currently the most affected among the countries of the world, with more than 300 thousand injuries and at least 8,000 deaths.
The chief infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fuchi, stressed that all states must undergo the procedure to stay at home.
To date, 40 states have issued “stay at home” orders urging Americans not to leave their homes.