By Kieran C. O’Sullivan, Immigration Counselor

Expired travel documents

It is Friday evening at five o’clock as I write this article, and I have just received a frantic call from a work colleague at the IPC. A caller to the Centre has just discovered that her passport has expired and she is traveling home to Ireland in a few days. These kinds of calls come often and sometimes when government offices are closed for business. Readers should ensure that all travel documents (passports and legal permanent residency cards) are valid at all times.

On US passports, all the information you need is online at the US government website. There is a toll free number to call for the issuance of emergency passports. To find the closest passport service center to you and to print downloadable forms, visit the State Department’s website at
When you have a travel emergency for which a US passport is required, you can apply for one at the Boston Passport Agency located in the Tip O’Neill Building at North Station. Individuals are seen by appointment only. You may call the automated appointment line to make appointments. When using this expedited service, you must prove that you have to leave the US within 14 days of the request. Sufficient proof includes printed airline tickets or a confirmed airline-generated itinerary.

For non-expedited passport needs, one should visit one’s local post office to pick up an application. Depending upon your desired shipping method and fee schedule, this date can be expedited slightly. You will need to complete an application, and you will need proof of US citizenship.

You will need two photographs. These photographs should be two identical ones taken of you alone, sufficiently recent to be a good likeness (normally taken within the last 6 months). All the information on photograph requirements is on the government website.

Proof of Identity: You will need to provide proof of identity. You may submit items such as the following containing your signature, and physical description or photograph that is a good likeness of you: previous US passport; Certificate of Naturalization or of Citizenship; driver's license (not temporary or learner’s permit) or government Federal, State, or municipal-identification card or pass. Temporary or altered documents are not acceptable.

You will need the fee: check the website to make sure you have the correct amount. The passport is valid for 10 years from the date of issue except where limited by the Secretary of State to a shorter period. There are extra fees for any application for expedited service.

Next Legal Clinic

Our next legal clinic will be on September 4th at 630 pm in The Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave. Dorchester. Meantime call or email me with any questions.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.

Email me your immigration query or a topic you would like us to cover today: [email protected]