Has your U.S. Passport Expired?       DepositPhoto


If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and you need to travel back home but your passport has expired, there may be a way for you to do so.

A memo published by the U.S. State Department on December 28, 2021 stated that U.S. citizens living abroad whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 can travel home using their expired passport.

This temporary measure is available only until March 31, 2022 and was created in response to the backlog in processing passport applications for new passports, as well as renewal of passports, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

You may be eligible to return home using your expired passport if you meet the following required conditions:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen
  2. You live abroad and want to travel back to the U.S.
  3. You are flying directly back to the U.S. or U.S. territory, or have a short layover in a foreign country for a connecting flight on your way back to the U.S.
  4. Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years, or if you were 15 years or younger when your passport was issued and your expired passport was valid for 5 years
  5. You are traveling back to the U.S. by March 31, 2022

If you meet all of these conditions, then this might be the best way to go home. Please check out the U.S. State Department memo before making any travel arrangements, just to make sure that nothing has changed.

Here is another article you may be interested in reading. Ready to Travel But Is Your Passport Ready?

Safe travels.


Heading to Nigeria

May, 2021 – I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria from Accra, Ghana aboard Air Peace Airlines. Emerging into the sunshine, I walked down the metallic steps and joined my fellow travelers walking the short distance to the terminal building. Here is a little information about Nigeria’s Covid-19 safety measures at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and what you can expect.

If you are a traveler with physical disabilities, or sore stiff knees, you will need to arrange for wheelchair assistance when you book your flight.  I say this because in addition to walking down the steps pushed up to the door of the aircraft, you’ll have to walk up two flights of steps once you enter the building, and then down another flight of stairs to get to the immigration area.

There is an escalator but sometimes it’s not working. Even for people without  physical challenges, carrying a few bags up and down those stairs can be quite challenging in itself.

If you do not know what to do or where to go, follow the crowd and this will take you to the immigration area.

As of this writing, masks are required. Your temperature will be taken by airport staff as you enter the terminal. Then you’ll join a line where your documents will undergo preliminary screening.

​​Prior to departure from your country of origin, no earlier than 72 hours before your flight, you must take a Covid-19-PCR test and receive a negative result.

You will also need to fill out the Travel Permit to Enter Nigeria form. I was not aware that I had to do this until I was asked for the confirmation form at the Air Peace counter in Accra when I arrived to check in for my flight. I was allowed to check in and advised to complete and submit the form online at the gate, which I could do on my phone using the airport WIFI.

While filling out the form, there was a section where I could prepay for a Covid-19 PCR test in Nigeria. Even though I did not fill this out this section, I received confirmation of the travel permit to enter Nigeria within minutes of submitting the form.

For more information, check here:

https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/onboarding/homepage, www.travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng, and www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng

When you arrive at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, your documents will be screened. Some officials may make it sound like you must register right there at the airport and pre-pay for the Covid-19 Test that you are required to take seven days after arriving in Nigeria, but you do not have to. You can choose to take the test in seven days and pay the lab directly at that time.

You should be aware that travelers to Nigeria are required to self-quarantine at their place of residence for 7 days and then take a Covid-19 test at a government approved lab. Your test result will be automatically sent to immigration. I paid 50,400 naira for the test, which is equivalent to approximately $123.00.

Having evidence of your negative COVID result and travel entry permit, if you have it, on your phone is okay, however, I would still suggest that you have a printed copy of them.

After your documents are screened, you will be directed to an immigration line. I waited 30 minutes in line for immigration check.  This was the longest part of the process. Once I reached the immigration counter, the process took just five minutes.

Then I could to go to the baggage claim area. Luckily for me, I only had a medium-sized suitcase and one small carry on item.  I could manage without help.

​People will offer to help you with your luggage, but if you don’t require assistance, a courteous and firm “no thank you” will suffice.  If you do require help, you should be prepared to give a tip.

Here’s one more thing. If you are traveling to Nigeria any time soon, be aware that the international airport in Lagos is currently undergoing some renovations and the usual passenger pickup area has been moved. So ask around to find out where to wait outside if someone is coming to pick you up.

There will be numerous people milling around outside asking if you need a taxi. If you need to take a taxi, ask your friends or host in Nigeria beforehand on how to go about doing that, and how much you should pay so that you don’t get charged an astronomical price because your are a foreigner.

It can all seem a bit hectic, or even chaotic at first glance, but really, there is a certain order to everything. The important thing is to just go with the flow and ask questions. You’ll find that Nigerians are generally welcoming and helpful.

And that is about it. You’ll be okay. Welcome to Nigeria!