In recent months, it has been extremely difficult to obtain appointments for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for US citizens in Israel. This is particularly frustrating in advance of the upcoming Pesach travel season, when US citizens living in Israel often seek to travel home, Chaim V’Chessed tells Matzav.com.
On February 6, the US Embassy in Israel announced a new appointment system. One of the goals of the new system was to weed out fraudulently obtained appointments and to generally streamline the process. The system also offered a method for emergency passports for those with immediate plans for travel to the USA.
At the time, it was hoped that the new system would gradually ease the appointment pressure and resolve this challenging situation. Additionally, as reported, on February 13, Chaim V’Chessed held a landmark event, offering more than 100 families the opportunity to apply for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and first-time passports from the comfort of the Chaim V’Chessed offices.
Disappointingly, on Friday, March 10, the Embassy announced changes to the new system. Until now, emergency passports had been offered to “those who have immediate travel to the United States and need an in-person appointment for an emergency passport….. “ That announcement stated “you can define your need for emergency travel”. This option has now been canceled. Rather, emergency passports will now only be granted to those who have been previously documented as US citizens. This precludes parents from applying for emergency passports for their newborns.
The Embassy announcement states that the Embassy does not view ‘bringing a new baby to meet US relatives as an emergency’ (sic). Sadly, this new change basically closes the only avenue available to those with newborn children seeking to travel to their native United States for Pesach.
This new development is indeed troubling. Chaim V’Chessed is in dialogue with embassy officials to alleviate this challenging situation.