Israel's United States Embassy in Jerusalem released a list of service improvements for US citizens on Tuesday regarding US Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs).
With an unprecedented backlog of requests piling up for passports and CRBAs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State's additional resources, which will be offered at the Jerusalem Embassy and Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv, come as a major relief to US immigrants.
The Embassy's announcement includes the following actions:
- New System To Request Urgent Appointments For US Passports: US citizens who are without a passport or who do not meet the requirements to return to the US on an expired US passport can request an urgent appointment for an emergency passport via web page, based on the following critera: Your travel is scheduled within the next 2 weeks or the Israeli visa in your US passport will expire within 30 days (or for newborns without an Israeli visa).
- All requests for urgent appointments must be submitted via this new system; those who contact the Consular Sections by email or telephone for urgent appointments will be re-directed to this website.
- Appointments To Be Released Weekly At Same Day And Time: Appointments for passports and CRBAs will now be made available weekly on Wednesdays between 3PM and 4PM. Small numbers of appointments may be available at other times as appointments are canceled, but large blocs will be opened during the timeframe indicated above.
- Drop Boxes: To save waiting room space, the Embassy made it mandatory to mail in applications that didn’t need an interview. For those for who do not wish to use the mail for those applications, they have set up a drop box in Jerusalem.
- Video Interviews For Children Under the Age Of Three: Those eligible for this program will be interviewed by a consular official by video, and only one parent will need to come to the Embassy or Embassy Branch Office to pay, submit the original documents, and sign the applications.
The Jewish Agency for Israel estimated that more than 20,000 olim (new immigrants) from 70 different countries immigrated to Israel in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gadi Zaig contributed to this report.