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U.S. extends acceptance of expired passports to March

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- American citizens will be allowed to return to the United States on expired passports through the end of March, extending a COVID-19 relief measure originally set to end this month, the State Department announced Tuesday.

The measure allows U.S. citizens who have passports that expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, to use the documents to return to the United States through March 31, 2022. The ability to use expired passports was put in place to assist travelers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and was originally set to expire Friday.

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"To lessen travel difficulties created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and commercial airlines are working to facilitate the ability of U.S. citizens to use certain expired passports to return from abroad directly to the United States," the State Department said in a statement.

The expired passports, however, can't be used to travel from the United States to an international destination or between two foreign countries beyond a layover en route to the United States.

The announcement comes one day after the State Department increased its fees for passports by $20.

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