The U.S. State Department is restricting in-person service at passport agencies to travelers with "a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours," according to a notice posted on its website.

The State Department defined life-or-death emergencies as "serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in your immediate family": for example, parents, children, spouses, siblings, aunts or uncles. Applicants in such situations are required to show proof of emergency such as a death certificate or a signed letter from a hospital as well as proof of a travel reservation, such as a ticket or itinerary.

Other passport applicants can still apply at certain acceptance facilities, such as post offices, or via mail but are advised to expect "significant delays." 

The State Department also said it ceased offering expedited passport service March 19 and is working to process outstanding expedited applications submitted before then.

Additionally, passport agencies in Atlanta, Connecticut, New Orleans, New York and San Juan are closed until further notice. 

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