Coronavirus: International travel complications looming as countries begin to ease restrictions

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – As positive cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Florida, travel continues to become more complicated. 

Heading to the northeast has already become an issue, but what about international travel?

Go to the Miami Passport Agency and you’ll find a sign that tells they are closed, unless you have urgent international travel. 

Because of COVID-19, the state department says they significantly reduced passport operations in March, saying:

"We temporarily suspended expedited passport processing and restricted service to cases involving life-or-death emergencies. As global conditions evolve and U.S. states begin to reopen, we are resuming operations in phases."

As of Friday, 15 passport operations around the country have moved into phase one. Miami, though, is not one of them. 

Phase one would allow some passport agency employees to return to the agencies and start processing the older applications. 

To give you a sense, of what’s happening, between June 11th and 17th, the state department received 120,000 passport applications. They issued 154,000. 

But a little more than 1.7 million Americans were still waiting to get their passports. 

Delays will continue because state department staff cannot process applications at home because of security and privacy issues. 

"In the coming weeks, they will aggressively tackle applications that were put on hold because of the pandemic and provide fast and efficient service to Americans that they rightfully expect," said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

But passports may not be the only obstacle for those who want to travel to Europe. 

According to the New York Times, the European union may block Americans from traveling there because of the high number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 

A decision is expected before July 1 when the EU expects to reopen.

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