As reported by Chaim V’Chessed, just last week the US Embassy rolled out troubling new rules, ending the issuance of emergency passports for babies born to US citizens residing in Israel. These rules greatly limited the ability of American families residing in Israel to travel to the USA for Pesach.
This difficulty came in addition to the fact that the average wait time for appointments for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and first-time passports for newborns in Israel is now a disturbing four to five months. Emergency passports were a solution for those with immediate travel plans who could not obtain a CRBA appointment.
Chaim V’Chessed has been working intensely for an immediate resolution to this issue, along with other community organizations, such as Amudim and Agudath Israel. Additionally, numerous public officials have intervened in this matter. Notably, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), penned a scathing letter on this matter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. He also tweeted about the issue, saying: “US citizens in Israel are encountering inexplicable difficulties obtaining passports. These seemingly unnecessary obstacles are deeply frustrating before the Passover holiday. I am demanding that the State Department end these delays.”
Chaim V’Chessed is pleased to relate that today, the US Embassy reversed last week’s announcement. Effective immediately, the Embassy has reinstated emergency passport appointments for newborns. Though only a limited number of appointments are available, some Chaim V’chessed clients have already received emergency appointments this afternoon.
We salute the elected officials who raised this matter at the highest levels of government, and we thank Embassy officials for implementing this change. At the same time, it is important to note that it is still quite difficult to obtain any type of passport appointment, and wait times are still very long. Chaim V’Chessed will continue to advocate for a complete resolution to this issue, for the benefit of US citizens living in Israel.