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 emergency 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. 

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. Make an appointment. The process to make an appointment depends on several factors:
    • First, try to make an appointment online if you have not applied for a passport. 
    • If you are unable to make an appointment online or you have already applied for a passport, call 1-877-487-2778 on Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET). If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services.
    • Call 202-647-4000 if you have a life-or-death emergency after 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Mondays through Fridays, or on Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays. 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: December 13, 2023