Ask the Consul – August 2021

Emergency Services Offered for U.S. Citizens at U.S. Embassy Georgetown

Para la versión en español, haga clic aquí: COLUMNA “PREGÚNTELE AL CÓNSUL” – AUGUSTO 2021.(PDF1297KB)

The U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section provides many emergency services for U.S. Citizens. Below are answers to common questions regarding American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy.

Q: What emergency services does the U.S. Embassy provide?
We can assist you in an emergency in the following ways:

  • Replace your lost or stolen passport
  • Connect you with information on medical and legal assistance in Guyana (e.g., attorneys, doctors, hospitals, air ambulance services)
  • Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime
  • Explain financial assistance options to return to the United States if you find yourself destitute in Guyana
  • Contact family, friends, or employers with your written permission, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974
  • Conduct a welfare/whereabouts check on a US citizen in Guyana

Q: How can the Embassy contact me during an emergency? How do I contact the Embassy?
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) allows the Embassy to contact those who have registered their presence in the country. STEP is a free service for U.S. citizens traveling outside the U.S. After enrolling at U.S. citizens in Guyana will receive country-specific information, travel warnings, emergency notifications, and helpful information by email. The Embassy encourages U.S. citizens in Guyana to enroll in STEP online.

Q: How can the Embassy help if a U.S. Citizen is arrested?
While you are travelling in Guyana, you are subject to Guyanese laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. We cannot act as your attorney; however, we will monitor prison conditions and can protest allegations of abuse against U.S. citizen prisoners. We work with prison officials to ensure treatment consistent with internationally recognized standards of human rights and to ensure that U.S. citizens are afforded due process under Guyanese laws.

Q: What can the Embassy do if you are the victim of a Crime?
If a U.S. citizen is the victim of a crime in Guyana, he/she should contact U.S. Embassy Georgetown and the local police to report the incident. We cannot investigate crimes. Nor can we provide legal advice or pay your expenses, but we can help to replace a lost/stolen passport, notify relatives/friends with your permission, and address other emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime.

Q: How can we help if a U.S. Citizen dies while visiting Guyana?
U.S. Embassy Georgetown will make every attempt to contact the next-of-kin of a U.S. citizen who dies in Guyana as soon as information becomes available. The next-of-kin can also reach out to the Embassy if a U.S. citizen dies in Guyana. The Embassy will work with the next-of-kin to prepare a Consular Report of Death Abroad. This document is necessary to settle legal and estate matters in the United States, 20 certified copies of the report are provided at no fee.

Q: Can I travel on an expired U.S. passport?
U.S. citizens may directly return to the United States with certain expired U.S. passports.

If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.

You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years.  Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if:

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
  • Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

Please be advised that currently, routine passport processing in the United States can take up to 18 weeks.

If your U.S. passport expired on or before December 31, 2019, please see our website for information on how to renew your passport before traveling:

Q: I am a U.S. Citizen with a valid Guyana passport. Can I use that to travel to the U.S.?
No. You must travel to the U.S. using your valid U.S. passport.

For detailed information about other American Citizen Services the U.S Embassy provides, please visit us at:

To contact the Embassy, please call (592) 225-4900 ext. 4222 Monday – Friday from 7:30am – 4:00pm or email

“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at, and Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice.  U.S. Consular rules change frequently, and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.