This is one of the worst-case scenarios for any traveler in a foreign country being trapped and not being able to get out. It seems like the plot for a movie but there are many ways that this can happen. We have seen people stranded in areas where violence breaks out like in the current conflict in Ukraine, and when U.S. troops were leaving Iraq, but we also see this happen in places without conflict when a U.S. Citizen loses a passport, -when countries shut their borders due to coronavirus or when a person gets a positive COVID-19 test abroad.
No matter what the reason being stuck abroad is a scary thing, although vacation is fun being stuck longer than usual can have an impact on your finances, your business or employment, and your
well-being access to healthcare, and medications. Here are some tips if you find yourself stranded abroad.
1. Stuck because you lost your passport-You will need to replace your Passport before returning you should go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate and ask to speak to the consular section explain that your passport has been lost or stolen, let them know when you are scheduled to return to the United States and ask them to please expedite the process for you. This is why it is always good to have a paper or digital copy of your passport biographic page with you when you travel abroad. Or keep one in your email.
2. If you lost your green card- You can fill out an I-131A application for a Travel document with USCIS at a U.S. Embassy and they will be able to get you a permit to enter, the United States. There are fees and it will be a headache and probably ruin your vacation, but you should be able to get home.
3. Stuck because of a positive Covid-19 test- You can wait until you get a negative test, or you can arrange for medical transport to fly you into the country. Those services come with an extra cost but there are Air Ambulances and other services that allow for medical flights into the United States even for those who have tested positive for Covid-19.
4. Stuck because of a violent outbreak- Try to get to a U.S. Embassy as soon as possible so that they could get you out of the country if you stayed too long and the embassy is closed try to get to a neighboring country with an active embassy or hunker down and try to obtain information on any extraction efforts.
Being Stuck is never fun and will be stressful but there are some solutions available. I hope this doesn’t happen to you but if it does hope this article helps.
Abraham Cepeda, Attorney at Law