Life-or-Death Emergencies

You may qualify for a life-or-death emergency appointment if you need to travel internationally in 3 business days because your immediate family member outside of the United States:

  • Has died, or
  • Is dying (hospice care), or
  • Has a life-threatening illness or injury


Who is an immediate family member?

To qualify for life-or-death emergency service, your immediate family member must be a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, or grandparent. We do not consider aunts, uncles, cousins, or other relatives to be immediate family members for the purposes of life-or-death emergency service. If you are traveling to another country for medical services or to get medication, you will not qualify for life-or-death emergency service. 


How do I make an appointment?

If you're traveling within 3 business days because of a life-or-death emergency, you must get documentation of the life-or-death emergency service before we can make an appointment. 

You can schedule your appointment up to 2 weeks before your international travel but the date of your appointment must be within 3 business days of your international travel. You must bring proof of international travel to your appointment. 

We do not charge a fee to make an appointment. If you are asked to pay for an appointment, you should consider the request to be fraudulent. We are not affiliated with any third-party appointment booking services. We may not be able to honor appointments booked via third parties. Do not attempt to book duplicate appointments. 

Please follow these steps in order:

  1. Get documentation of the emergency such as a death certificate, statement from a mortuary, or a letter from the hospital (on hospital/clinic letterhead, signed by the doctor/medical professional, explaining your relative’s medical condition).
  2. If the documentation of the emergency is not in English, you must have it translated by a professional translator. Examples include a death certificate, statement from the mortuary, or letter from the hospital. The translation does not need to be notarized.
  3. Get proof that you are traveling internationally in the next 3 business days such as an itinerary or airline ticket. Bring this proof to your appointment. 
  4. Complete a passport application, get a passport photo, and make sure you have valid government-issued photo identification (such as a driver’s license or identification card).
  5. Call us to see if you qualify for life-or-death emergency service. If you qualify, we will try to make an appointment for you. We cannot guarantee that you will have your passport in time for travel. 
  6. The number you should call to make an appointment for Life-or-Death Emergency Service depends on the day of the week, and time of day:
  • On Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET), call 1-877-487-2778. These hours of operation are different than the hours for making an appointment for Urgent Travel Service. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services.
  • If you have a life-or-death emergency after 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Mondays through Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays, call 202-647-4000. Do not call this number between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Mondays through Fridays, or if you need Urgent Travel Service

What if I'm traveling in more than 3 business days?

If you're traveling in more than 3 business days, learn more about Where to Apply.

Last Updated: April 10, 2023