Applying for a Passport Outside the United States

Many US citizens who travel, do business, visit or reside permanently outside of the United States may have the need to renew or replace their current passports at some point or another. However, it is fundamental to be aware that the process of applying for a passport overseas is very different from the process of applying for a passport within the United States. Even though the application forms, requirements, supporting documents and fees are all the same, each individual overseas US embassy or consulate has very different processing methods to obtain applications, submit them and effectively delivering the passport overseas.

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Due to vast number of US embassies and consulates worldwide, it is very challenging to precisely determine and state a common processing method that each embassy uses to process passport applications. For these reasons, it is highly recommended to visit the US Department of State’s official website through its direct link http://www.usembassy.gov/ in order to find your nearest US embassy or consulate based upon your geographical region.

Just like with any other US passport application, you also need to bring with you supporting documents that verify your citizenship and identity. These could be but are not limited to your birth certificate or a valid US driver’s license. Other required supporting documentation may be needed depending upon what kind of passport you are applying for. It is also important to consider that the majority of passport departments within the US embassies or consulates overseas require applicants to have legal proof of immigration status in their respective country where they are applying for their passport, whether if it is with a valid entry immigration stamp, visa or permanent residence.

Apart from these requirements, all applicants also need to submit with their application the right passport-sized photos that meet all the US-standard requirements set in order to be placed on the new passport. The fees for the whole application process remain the same regardless of the country where you are applying from; these fees can be paid in person and on site at the local US embassy or consulate either in US dollars or in the respective country’s local currency. Many passport service agencies overseas also take credit and debit cards but no personal checks.

Once the entire passport application has been completed and submitted, the passport agency overseas will verify all the information following very stringent procedures in order to avoid identity theft and fraudulent passport applications. This information may in many cases be sent to the United States electronically where it is also verified and sent back with an approval for the application to be submitted. All passports requested from overseas are printed in the United States and sent to the US embassy or consulate where the citizen may then pick up his or her passport. The estimated waiting time for an application to be submitted is about 3 to 5 days depending upon the demand of passports based on each country, with a total waiting time period of no more than 21 days from the moment when the application is approved and the passport is sent to the overseas passport services agency.

Applying for a US passport overseas is not a challenging task when you have the right documentation and follow all the steps set by the local passport service agency within the US embassy or consulate. It is highly recommended to also submit an application for a new passport from overseas with ample time since there is no rush or expedited service to receive a new passport from international locations, this service is only available for passport applications received within the United States.