The State Department temporarily shut down its emergency appointment booking site for passports, saying scammers were booking and selling the appointments for high prices. Many travelers are in limbo amid a huge backlog of passport applications.
“At 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 21, we temporarily disabled the online booking system for Urgent Travel Service to ensure our very limited appointments go to applicants who need them for urgent travel,” the update said.”We are making this change to address the problem of third parties booking appointments online using automated programs, or bots, and then selling these appointments to customers with urgent travel needs. We are not affiliated with any third-party appointment booking services, and we do not charge a fee to make an appointment,” the update noted. “Third parties booked all available appointments within minutes of the appointments being posted online which prevented many of you from making urgent appointments, and made it difficult to determine whether your appointment was legitimate or fraudulent.”
he State Department said it would honor appointments made online prior to 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, but now individuals must call to book or change an appointment.
If you have travel plans, make sure you apply to renew your passport as soon as possible. You can apply to renew your passport up to six months before expiration.
For more information, please click here https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/passport-covid-19.html
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