Life-or-Death Emergencies

You may qualify for an appointment for life-or-death emergency service if:

  • your immediate family member is outside of the United States, and he or she
  • has died, or
  • is dying (hospice care), or
  • has a life-threatening illness or injury, and
  • you need to travel to a foreign country within 72 hours (or 3 business days).


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 72 hours (or 3 business days) because of a life-or-death emergency, you must get documentation to see if you qualify for 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.

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 72 hours (or 3 business days) such as an itinerary or airline ticket.
  4. Complete a passport application with supporting documents (such as proof of identity and citizenship), 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 1-877-487-27781-888-874-7793 (TTY/TDD). These hours of operation are different than the hours for making an appointment for Urgent Travel Service
  • 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 202-647-4000 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Mondays through Fridays. 
  • Do not call 202-647-4000 if you need Urgent Travel Service

What if I'm traveling in more than 72 hours (or 3 business days)?

If you're traveling in more than 72 hours (or 3 business days), learn more about Where to Apply.