Amit Acco, Partner |

The following text is excerpted from a Facebook posting made this week by a U.S. Consular Officer in Israel. The Consular Officer wrote that excerpts of the posting can be shared.

“You may have heard complaints about the wait time for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the wait time for visas around the world. Here are a few points:

– If you CAN apply for consular services by mail, you NEED to apply for consular services by mail. Consular services around the world continue to be limited. Check your US Embassy’s website for instructions on applying by mail.

– If you need a visa for the US, and you have another nationality that is part of the visa waiver program, my recommendation is to travel to the US on your visa waiver program passport.

– I can’t help you get an appointment for a visa, passport, CRBA, or SSN anywhere in the world. I also can’t help you check the status of a pending application for any consular services.

– Contrary to rumors, the consular sections in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv NEVER shut down during COVID. We limited services due to COVID and rockets, but never totally shut down.

– Contrary to rumors, passport and CRBA appointments in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have been back to full numbers (and then some) for several months. Colleagues are doing everything they can to keep up with demand, but a year of limited services mean that supply and demand have not yet balanced.

– PLEASE do NOT leave the United States without having a US passport valid for the duration of your trip (even if that trip is a year). DO NOT rely on an appointment at your nearest consular section overseas to renew your US passport as appointments continue to be limited.

– Anyone traveling to the US to be naturalized should OBTAIN YOUR US PASSPORT WHILE STILL IN THE US. Don’t leave the US without doing this first.

– Israel and the West Bank remain closed to tourism, except in limited situations. We don’t have a solid date when that will change.

– I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done during COVID and the May 2021 rocket attacks. We have never stopped assisting Americans in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.”