Frequently Asked Questions

All passport application forms and instructions can be found on our website: Here

You should follow the instructions on our website and disregard the instructions on the passport forms as they refer specifically to passport applications processed in the U.S.  You need to submit your application to the U.S. Consulate in the country in which you are physically present.

You can apply to renew your passport by mail if:

  • Your passport was issued when you were over 16;
  • You have in your possession an undamaged passport valid for 10 years;
  • Your current passport has not expired for more than 5 years.

You need to complete DS-82. For details, see requirement for applying by mail.

You must appear in person, through a pre-arranged appointment if:

  • Your passport was issued when you were under 16;
  • Your passport was lost/stolen or damaged;
  • Your passport has expired more than 5 years
  • You are applying for your first passport

You need to complete Form DS-11.  Before you come in, see requirements for applying in person.

If you are an adult with a 10-year passport issued within the last 15 years, you should submit your passport renewal by mail. This convenience to you will save you time. You will not need to come to the embassy, wait in security lines or in the waiting room.  You can apply by mail from the comfort of your own home and the new passport will be returned to you in approximately three weeks by courier.

Yes, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with the new one.  The U.S. Embassy does not have the authority to transfer visas issued by other countries.  You may have to re-apply for the foreign visas that are currently in your old passport.  Please contact the relevant foreign embassy or consulate for information.

Visas requirements for some countries may be dependent on whether your passport is machine-readable or not – contact the relevant foreign embassy/consulate for information.  For travel to the United States, provided your passport is valid and in good condition at the time of entry to the United States, it does not matter whether your passport is machine-readable or not.

You must complete this item in accordance with 22 USC 2714a. If you were never issued a social security number, you/your parent/legal guardian (for minors) must submit a declaration under penalty of perjury stating that you were never issued a social security number.  Failure to provide a Social Security Number will result in suspension of your passport application.  If you have a number, but do not remember it, call the Embassy’s Federal Benefits Unit for assistance. You may contact the Federal Benefits Unit Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 at 210-720-2426 or by e-mail at FBU.Athens@SSA.gov

In general, children under the age of 16 are issued passports valid for five years; those 16 and over are issued passports valid for ten years.

Many reasons:

  • The passport is proof of American citizenship.  Every American abroad should have valid proof of his/her citizenship at all times.   A valid passport is required for administrative purposes.
  • Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly.  The last thing you need to do in an emergency is worry about getting to the Embassy to get your or your child’s passport renewed.  It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
  • If you wait too long, you may not be able to renew an expired passport by mail.  You will have to apply in person and pay an extra fee.
  • Passports cannot be extended.  When applying from overseas, processing time is approximately 2-3 weeks.

You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires. If possible, you should renew your passport approximately 9 months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least 6 months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.  If you wait too long, you cannot renew an expired passport by mail and have to apply in person and pay an extra fee.

An application for a full-validity or second passport will be sent to the U.S. for printing.  Therefore, whether you apply for the passport by mail, or in person, you should allow approximately 2-3 weeks for your application to be processed.

Life or Death Emergencies involve serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family that require you to travel within 24-48 hours.  You must appear in person at the Embassy for emergency service and documentation of the emergency may be requested. Remember, emergency passports are limited. In order to schedule an appointment please email Athensamericanpassports@state.gov

The Department of State has developed a Passport Card as a more portable and less expensive alternative to the traditional passport book.  The passport card is the wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea.

If your passport has been significantly damaged, especially the book cover or the page displaying your personal data and photo, you will need to apply for a new passport.  For more information, see damaged passports.

See our Fee Schedule for cost and forms of payment.  If you are applying for more than one passport renewal by mail, you can send only one bank check for the total amount.

See Passport Photos for requirements and photo examples. Do NOT staple the photos to your application.  Failure to submit the correct photographs will result in significant processing delays.

As of January 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of State no longer adds visa pages into U.S. passports. Previously, U.S. passport holders had the option to pay for the insertion of additional 24-page visa inserts when valid passports lacked adequate space for entry or exit visa stamps. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards.

To mitigate the impact on frequent travelers, the Department began issuing 52-page passports to all applicants outside the United States starting October 1, 2014 for no additional cost.  Applicants within the United States may choose a 28-page or 52-page book.

You will need to present the court order showing the legal change of name with an official English translation and your Greek i.d./Greek passport issued in the new name.

U.S. citizens should travel to the United States on their U.S. Passport. The ticket should be issued in the same name as the U.S. travel document.

If your current passport was issued within the last year, you will need to complete Form DS-5504: and submit the following:

  • Your passport;
  • Certified documentation of your name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree with your new name); and
  • Two recent passport photos.

If your passport was issued more than one year ago, you must complete Form DS-82: and submit the following:

  • Your passport;
  • Certified documentation of your name change;
  • Two recent passport photos per the State Department’s photo requirements;
  • Fee – See our Fee Schedule for cost and forms of payment

 

You are required to present the originals or copies certified by the issuing authorities bearing the official’s seal and signature.   Any documents not in English, must be accompanied by an official English translation.

Each family member seeking a service related to passports or birth registration should make an individual appointment

Effective February 1, 2008, U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16, requires both parents’ consent.  See Special Requirements for Children Under Age 16

Any of the following are acceptable: 

  • Certified U.S. birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad with both parents’ names
  • Certified Greek birth certificate with both parents’ names

Adoption Decree with adopting parents’ names or Court Order establishing sole legal custody (accompanied by an official translation in English, if this document is in a foreign language).

Yes, anyone who is applying for their first passport, or whose previous passport was issued when they were under 16, must appear in person through a pre-arranged appointment.

In the space provided for the signature, the mother/father must print the child’s name and sign their own name. Then, in parenthesis, write the word (mother) or (father).  

A child born in wedlock outside of the United States to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided that:

  • both parents were U.S. citizens prior to the child’s birth and one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been a resident in the United States.  (No specific period of time is required).  See requirements for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship providing that:

  • the U.S. citizen parent was a U.S. citizen prior to the child’s birth and
  • the parent can prove that she/he had been physically present in the United States for five years, at least two years of which were after she/he reached the age of fourteen. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child.  See details on requirements for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

A Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, may be entitled to citizenship providing that:

  • the U.S. citizen parent was a U.S. citizen prior to the child’s birth and
  • the parent can prove that she/he was physically present in the United States for a period of ten years, at least five years of which were after she/he reached the age of fourteen.  This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child.  See details on requirements for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship providing the U.S. Citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year (365 days) at some time prior to the birth of the child.  Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, are NOT considered as physical presence in the U.S. for transmission under this category.

NOTE:  A child born outside of the United States on or after June 12, 2017, out of wedlock to a U.S. mother may be entitled to U.S. citizenship providing the U.S. citizen mother had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after she reached the age of fourteen.

Yes, almost anybody born in the United States is an American citizen regardless of the nationality or status of his/her parents. The only exception is for children of foreign diplomats who have full diplomatic immunity.

Yes, if the child is under age 18, he/she may be able to acquire U.S. citizenship either through their U.S. citizen grandparent or through expeditious naturalization.  For more information, contact USCIS at tel:  210-7202404 or 210-7202405 or via e-mail at: uscis.athens@dhs.gov.

Adoption by a U.S. citizen parent does not automatically confer citizenship, but it does qualify a child for expeditious naturalization, or citizenship upon entry to the U.S.   For more information, contact USCIS at tel: 210-7202404 or 210-7202405 or via e-mail at: uscis.athens@dhs.gov.

A U.S. citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. Your spouse would be required to apply for an immigrant visa and reside in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).   For more information, contact USCIS at tel:  210-720-2404 or 210-720-2405.

No. Under U.S. law, U.S. citizens must be in possession of a valid U.S. passport to enter or leave the United States. This is true even if you hold a passport from another country. If your U.S. passport has been lost or stolen, or if it has expired, you must apply to replace it before traveling to the United States.  There is no guarantee of entry to the United States without a valid U.S. passport.

You may obtain a certified copy of these certificates from the state in which the event occurred. The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states’ contact information for this purpose. See Where to write to for vital records. An available on-line service is:  http://www.vitalchek.com/?clicked=1

Please consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for the country to which you wish to travel. You should also check with the Embassy/Consulate of that country for definitive guidance.