Saturday, August 1, 2020

Cancelled U.S. Passports

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, flights were cancelled and people were stranded trying to get back home.  Many countries chartered repatriation flights to bring their citizens home from around the world.  Some countries provided free flights to get their citizens home and some countries billed the travellers.

The U.S. State Department arranged flights for about 100,000 Americans who were stranded at a cost of $196 million.  This was just to get people back to the USA.  People then still had to secure commercial travel to actually get home.

Now people need to pay the money back.  The problem is that it could have been handled better.  Some flights were quoted an "up to amount" and passengers had to sign promissory notes agreeing to pay whatever the final cost would be.  Some people have been waiting three months and they still don't know the final amount they need to pay.

While people are waiting to be informed of the final amounts they owe, the government has cancelled their passports.  New passports can not be issued until the debts are cleared. 

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