U.S. Passport & Citizenship FAQs

Here you will find answers to the most frequent passport- and citizenship-related inquiries.  Topics are divided by subject below.

Can I renew my passport before it expires?

You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires.

If I don’t plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should I renew my passport now?

  • Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly to the United States. The last thing you want to do in an emergency is worry about getting to the Embassy to get you or your child’s passport renewed. It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
  • The passport is proof of U.S. citizenship. Every U.S. citizen abroad should have valid proof of his/her citizenship at all times.  S. law requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on their U.S. passport.
  • If you wait too long, adults cannot renew an expired passport by mail.
  • A valid passport is required for some Israeli administrative purposes, and you do not want to get caught with an expired passport if you need to process an application for some benefit.

Will I get my passport back when I renew it?

Yes. In nearly all cases, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with the new one.

What happens to the visa stamps in my current passport when the passport is cancelled?

We do not have the authority to transfer visas or stamps issued by other countries. When you renew your passport, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with your new one (without damaging the visas in your old passport); you should then contact the appropriate authority of the country that issued the visa for further information.

Do I submit my passport application directly to the United States?

No.  You must apply for the passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are currently present.

Do I have to submit my passport application by mail or by drop off?

If you are eligible to apply for the passport renewal by mail or by drop off (in Jerusalem only), you must use this service.  Appointments are limited and are reserved for those who are required to apply in-person. Please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.

The instructions on the passport forms are different from those on this website. Which should I follow?

You should disregard the instructions on the passport forms regarding expedited service and where to send your application as they refer specifically to passport applications processed in the United States.  You should follow the instructions on this website.

How long is a passport valid for?

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.

How long will it take to process my passport application?

You should allow seven to ten weeks for a full validity or second passport to be processed, regardless of the method of application.  During busy seasons, this time may be increased

How long is an emergency passport valid for?

Emergency passports are generally issued with a validity of one year.

Can I have extra pages added to my valid passport, or should I apply for a new one?

No, It is no longer possible to add extra pages to a U.S. passport.  You are required to apply for a new passport and in most cases may do so by mail.  Please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.

My passport was issued in my maiden name; can I change it to my married name?

Yes.  You will need to apply for a new passport in your married name.  See the instructions here on how to apply for the new passport.  Please be prepared to provide a copy of your marriage certificate.

If I use a different name than that which is on my birth certificate/most recent passport, can I change the name on my passport?

There are certain acceptable forms of name changes that may be entered into U.S. passports.  For further information on acceptable name changes and application procedures to apply for a new passport in your new name, please click herePlease note that if you have changed your legal name abroad, it is also considered to be changed in the United States.  The Department of State generally will recognize only one legal name and must issue passports/documents that reflect the most accurate legal name.

I just got my new passport back and there’s a mistake in it. What do I do?

Contact us as soon as possible.  If you applied at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, send an email to JerusalemACS@state.gov.  If you applied at the Branch Office in Tel Aviv, send an email to TelAvivACS@state.gov.

Why can’t you renew children’s passports by mail?

Per U.S. law children under 16 must apply using form DS-11 and both parents, or one parent with legal permission from the other parent, must sign the application in front of a consular officer.

How much does it cost to apply for a passport and how can I pay the fee?

The fees vary depending on the service you are applying for, and accepted payment methods will depend on whether you are applying in-person or by mail.  We do not, however, accept personal checks.  Please refer to the individual instructions for your specific passport service.

Is payment in U.S. dollars or Israeli shekels?

If you are submitting your application in-person at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem or the Branch Office in Tel Aviv, you may pay in cash in Israeli shekels or U.S. dollars.  Since the exchange rate can change, we are unable to tell you exactly how much it will be in shekels until the day of your appointment.

If I am applying for more than one passport renewal by mail, do I send you individual bank checks for each application?

We no longer accept bank checks for mail in applications.  Click here for more information.

How do I ensure that my bank will not stop my card payment?

We recommend that you contact your bank before submitting the payment form, to decrease the risk that your payment may be stopped by the bank.  If your payment fails, your application will not be processed.

Can I submit copies of the supporting documents?

No.  You are required to furnish the originals or copies certified by the issuing authority bearing the official’s seal and signature.  Photocopies certified by a Clerk of Court, Justice of the Peace, solicitor, or notary public are not acceptable.

Obtaining copies of birth certificates/Consular Report of Birth Abroad

You may obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate from the state in which you were born.  The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states’ contact information for this purpose.

You may obtain a replacement Consular Report of Birth Abroad from the Department of State’s Passport Vital Records Section.

Requesting documents from the Department of State

Please follow these links for information on obtaining copies of:

Passport Records
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Report Of Death Of A U.S. Citizen Abroad

Are photographs required when renewing a passport?

Yes, everyone, including children and babies are required to furnish photographs.  We will reject any photographs that do not meet our requirements.  Click here for additional information on submitting correct passport photos.

Photographing a baby

Photo requirements are the same for all applicants.  In the case of very young babies the head may be supported as long as the baby’s face is clear.  There is no requirement that the baby’s eyes be open.  Click here for additional information on submitting correct passport photos for babies.

Digital photographs

You may furnish digital photographs provided they meet the specifications.  Acceptable photographs are printed on high-quality photographic paper, have a continuous tone image that is very photo-like, and show the subject clearly in focus.

Do photographs need to be validated?

No, this is not a requirement.

If you are born in the United States, are you automatically a U.S. citizen?

Most people born in the United States are U.S. citizens, the only exception being children of foreign diplomats who have full diplomatic immunity.  Anyone else can apply for a U.S. passport by presenting an original birth certificate showing birth in the United States and adequate identity documents.

Can I hold more than one passport or nationality?

Yes.  Naturalization in a foreign country, employment with a foreign government, and/or voting in a foreign election does not automatically jeopardize U.S. citizenship.  However, please note that all U.S. citizens, even dual nationals, must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

I am a U.S. citizen, but also have a foreign passport. Can I travel to the United States on the foreign passport?

No.  U.S. citizens must enter and leave the United States on valid U.S. passports, even if they 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.

My mother/father was a U.S. citizen, but I was born outside the U.S. Do I have claim to citizenship?

You may have a claim to U.S. citizenship.  Read more …

If I cannot transmit citizenship to my child, is there any way that s/he may become a U.S. citizen?

Yes, there is.  Read more…

How can I obtain a U.S. passport for my adopted child?

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 into the United States.  Read more …

My child has both Israeli and U.S. citizenship.  At what age must s/he choose which citizenship s/he wants to keep?

U.S. citizenship is for life.  No child has to do anything at any age to retain, choose, affirm, or confirm American citizenship.

Can my spouse obtain a U.S. passport or citizenship through marriage?

A U.S. citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse.  If your spouse wishes to reside in the United States s/he will require an immigrant visa and reside in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).  An application for naturalization can be made to the Department of Homeland Security on fulfilling a residency requirement.  Once naturalized, your spouse would be eligible to apply for a U.S. passport.

I lost my citizenship long ago and wish to become a U.S. citizen again.

As each case is different, we recommend that you contact us for further information and assistance.

Can my child travel to the U.S. on a foreign passport?

If your child has a claim to U.S. citizenship, s/he is required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  S/he should not enter the United States on a foreign passport with a visa, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

How do I report the birth of my child in Israel and get the child a U.S. passport?

If you are eligible to transmit citizenship, you may register your child’s birth at the Embassy and apply for a passport and Social Security number for them at the same time.  Read more…

What is a Consular Report of Birth Abroad?

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240, is official evidence of U.S. citizenship issued to a person under the age of 18 who was born abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) and acquired citizenship at birth.

Can I report the birth of my child at any time?

The birth should be reported to us as soon as possible after the baby is born and before his or her first trip to the United States.  Persons over the age of 18 are not eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, but they can apply for a U.S. passport.

If I cannot transmit citizenship to my child, is there any way that s/he may become a U.S. citizen?

Yes, there is.  Read more…

My child has both Israeli and U.S. citizenship.  At what age must s/he choose which citizenship s/he wants to keep?

U.S. citizenship is for life.  No child has to do anything at any age to retain, choose, affirm, or confirm American citizenship.

Can my child be included on my passport?

No.  All children, including babies, must have their own passport.

Is my child required to visit the Embassy when applying for a passport?

Yes.  All children under the age of 18 are required to appear in-person for all passport services.  Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by both parents.  An appointment will be required; please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.

Do passport applications for children under the age of 16 require the consent of both parents?

Yes, the consent of both parents/legal guardians is required, even if one parent is not a U.S. citizen.  Read more…

What if only one parent can appear at the Embassy with the child?

The other parent may submit his/her consent by completing form DS-3053 before a notary and submitting acceptable ID.

What if the whereabouts of the child’s other parent are unknown?

Each case is different and will be assessed by one of our consular officers.  We recommend that you provide as much documentation as possible showing that you have made a “good faith effort” to contact your child’s other parent through all available channels (family members, mutual friends, last known employer, divorce lawyer/solicitor, etc).  It may be necessary for you to obtain a court order giving you sole custody or permission to apply for a U.S. passport for the child without the other parent’s consent.

Should my child sign his/her own passport?

Children aged 14 and over may sign their own passports.  For children under the age of 14, a parent should sign.  In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child’s name and sign his/her own name. Then, in parentheses, by the parent’s name, write the word (mother) or (father) so we know who signed for the child.

When only one parent is accompanying the child to the U.S., is it necessary to carry a letter of consent from the other parent?  If my child is traveling with a friend or relative, do they need written consent?

Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases, and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, an immigration officer, airline, or travel company may ask you to provide some form of letter of consent if your child is traveling internationally with only one parent or with another adult, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.

How can I prevent a U.S. passport from being issued to my child?

The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) allows the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues to contact the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardians(s) to verify whether the parental consent requirement for minor passport issuance has been met when a passport application has been submitted for an enrolled child.  In addition, upon a child’s enrollment in the CPIAP, we may alert the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a pending passport application and past passport issuances for the child.  Only U.S. citizens or children who qualify for U.S. citizenship under the age of 18 can be enrolled in the CPIAP.  Read more…

What do I do if the U.S. Embassy website currently shows no appointments, or I get an appointment for later than I need?

We release additional appointments online every Wednesday between 3:00pm and 4:00pm.  If the Embassy is closed on a Wednesday, we release additional appointments on the following business day at the same time.  The appointments are for the next week; at the end of every month, we will open a base level of appointments for the month two months ahead (for example, on the last Wednesday in June, we will open not only additional appointments for the following week but also a base level of appointments in September).  Other appointments may open up suddenly when there are cancellations.

Can I exchange my appointment with a friend if I can’t make it to my appointment?

We do not allow the sharing, exchanging, or “swapping” of appointments.

If I cannot make it to my appointment, can you give me a new one?

If you miss your appointment, please self-schedule a new appointment on our website through the appointment system.  If you know you will miss your appointment, please cancel it online so we can free up space for others.

Someone told me they can get me a faster appointment for a fee. Is this a legitimate service?

No, this is not a legitimate service, and the only method for making an appointment is through our scheduling website, which is free.

I lost my confirmation information; can the Embassy confirm my online appointment? 

Please use our online inquiry system to send this inquiry.

If I live in Jerusalem, can I only be scheduled for an appointment there or vice versa for Tel Aviv?

Any U.S. citizen living in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza can schedule themselves for an appointment at either location, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

The online system doesn’t allow me to set appointments for my kids together.  Can you help me to combine appointments for my children?

Please us our online inquiry system to send this inquiry.

Can I travel to the United States on an expired U.S. passport?

As of June 30, 2022, you must travel to the United States on a valid U.S. passport.

Can I (not a U.S.-Israeli dual national) enter Israel on my expired U.S. passport? 

No.  For U.S. citizens who are not dual Israeli citizens, your U.S. passport must be valid to enter Israel.

Can I (a U.S-Israeli dual national) enter Israel on my expired U.S. passport?

The Israeli government requires Israeli citizens (including U.S. dual citizens) to enter Israel on their Israeli passports.  For questions regarding the documentation required to board an aircraft traveling to Israel, please contact your airline and/or the Israeli government directly.  If you travel to Israel or the West Bank, you should adhere to Israeli entry requirements.

My spouse cannot accompany me to the appointment for our child’s passport.  What should I do? 

The other parent does not need to be at the appointment if you properly fill out a “Statement of Consent” form DS-3053.  The non-appearing parent signs the form before a local notary public registered where the non-appearing parents is located.  The notary attaches a photocopy of the non-appearing parent’s photo ID, and you bring the originals with you to the interview.

Do I need three separate appointments for a new baby: the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, passport, and Social Security number? 

No, you don’t.  Applicants can submit a Social Security Number application in conjunction with a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and full-validity U.S. passport application during their Consular Report of Birth Abroad appointment, as long as the child is under the age of 12.

Can I request an emergency passport during my child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) appointment or is that a separate appointment?

You may request an emergency passport for your child if you are traveling within the next two weeks.  You will pick up the emergency passport the same day as the CRBA appointment.

My U.S. passport is expired; what can I do if I need to travel immediately for a family emergency?

If you are unable to find any available appointments and your intended travel is two weeks or less away (or the Israeli visa in your U.S. passport will expire within 30 days or for newborns without an Israeli visa), you can request an urgent appointment for an emergency passport by clicking here.  After you have submitted your request, you will be contacted by the Embassy with an appointment date and time.

How can I get an adult passport renewed as soon as possible? 

Adult passports can only be renewed by mail or via the drop box.  Please include your date of travel on your passport application.

How do I get information about requirements for travel during the COVID crisis?

Please monitor the Embassy COVID-19 webpage for updates and information regarding border crossings, quarantine, testing requirements, and flight suspensions due to the pandemic.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Please see “What to Bring to an Appointment.”

Are food, restrooms, parking, and disability access accommodations available in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Consular Sections? 

Please see “What to Bring to an Appointment.”   If you need a disability accommodation, please e-mail the ACS Unit in Jerusalem (JerusalemACS@state.gov) or in Tel Aviv (TelAvivACS@state.gov). 

No food is allowed in the consular waiting room.  Beverages and snacks are available for purchase at the kiosk outside the waiting room and must be consumed there.  There is no parking at the Embassy in Jerusalem or Branch Office in Tel Aviv, but both are accessible by public transportation (bus or taxi).

Can a third-party attend passport or CRBA appointment/interview?

Generally, immediate family members may accompany passport or CRBA applicants to their appointment interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and all minor children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Passport or CRBA applicants also have the option of being accompanied by an attorney at their appointment interview.  Attendance by any third party, including an attorney, accompanying an applicant is subject to the following parameters:

  • Only one attendee at a time will be allowed to accompany an applicant (or the applicant’s parent or guardian if the applicant is a minor).
  • Attendance by an attorney does not excuse the applicant and/or the minor applicant’s parent or guardian from attending the appointment.
  • The manner in which a passport or CRBA appointment interview is conducted is always at the discretion of the consular officer, following State Department guidance.
  • It is expected that the applicant(s) will participate in the appointment interview with minimal assistance from the attendee.
  • Attorneys may not engage in any form of legal argumentation during the appointment interview.
  • Attendees other than a parent or guardian accompanying a minor child may not answer a consular officer’s question on behalf of an applicant, nor may they summarize, correct, or attempt to clarify an applicant’s response, or interrupt or interfere with an applicant’s responses to a consular officer’s questions.
  • If an applicant does not understand a question, s/he should seek clarification from the consular officer directly.
  • The consular officer has sole discretion to determine the language(s) that best facilitate(s) communication between the consular officer and the applicant.  Attendees may not object to or insist on the participation of an interpreter in the appointment interview, to the qualifications of any interpreter, or to the manner or substance of any translation.
  • No attendee may coach or instruct applicants as to how to answer a consular officer’s question.
  • Attendees may not object to a consular officer’s question, or instruct the applicant not to answer a consular officer’s question.  Attendees may not interfere in any manner with the consular officer’s inquiries.
  • During a passport or CRBA appointment interview, attendees may not discuss or inquire about other applications.
  • Attendees may take written notes but may not otherwise record the appointment interviews.
  • Attendees may not engage in any other conduct that materially disrupts the appointment interview.  Attendees must follow all security policies of the Department of State and the U.S. embassy or consulate where the appointment interview takes place.

Failure to observe these parameters will result in a warning to the attendee and, if ignored, the attendee may be asked to leave the appointment interview and/or the premises, as appropriate.  It would then be the applicant’s choice whether to continue the appointment interview without the attendee present, subject to the consular officer’s discretion to terminate the appointment interview.  The safety and privacy of all applicants awaiting consular services, as well as of consular and embassy personnel, is of paramount consideration.