Frequently Asked Questions


Question: Do I have to make an appointment? Can I make an appointment over the phone?

Answer: All services require an appointment. Please use this link to book an appointment or email the Embassy or Consulate to request an emergency appointment.

Question: There are no appointments available. What can I do?

Answer: Please keep checking the website on a daily basis. We usually open appointment slots a month in advance and continually open more slots. Also, we have cancellations every day, and the cancellations will be reflected in the system in real time.

Question: I would like to cancel or reschedule my existing appointment but forgot my password.

Answer: If you cannot remember your password, contact your embassy or consulate.

Please do not forget to include your full name (which the appointment was made under) and the date of your appointment in your e-mail.

Question: I want to make a notary appointment. There are 2 (or more) people signing the same document. Do I need to make separate appointments for each person?

Answer: You only need to make one appointment.

Question: There is no place to enter the non-applicant’s name within the appointment system for notaries. What should I do?

Answer: You are not required to enter the non-applicant’s name within the appointment system for notaries. The non-applicant will need to bring a valid ID with them.

Question: I accidentally mistyped information when making an appointment. What do I need to do?

Answer: As long as we can identify you, do not worry about typos on your appointment.

Question: On the day of my appointment, how long should I expect to be at the Embassy/Consulate?

Answer: Most customers are here for under an hour. You can help ensure your appointment goes quickly by preparing your documents in advance and making sure your forms are filled out.

Question: Can a third party accompany a passport or CRBA applicant to their interview?

Answer: 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.

Question: Help! I just realized my passport is expired and I have a trip planned next week with a purchased ticket. What can I do?

Answer: Emergency passports are on a very limited and strict basis. If you feel you qualify contact your embassy or consulate.

Question: My passport just got stolen! (Or lost) What should I do?

Answer: If your passport is lost or stolen, please make an appointment via this link and visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in person to replace your lost passport. Please follow the detailed instructions for a lost or stolen passport.

Question: How long does it take to have my passport issued?

Answer: Normally, it takes approximately 2-3 weeks.

Question: Can I pay to expedite my application?

Answer: No. Applications overseas are already processed on an expedited basis.  However, if you have urgent travel in the near future, please consult with our staff at the time of application.

Question: When should I renew my passport?

Answer: You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires. However, we encourage you to renew your passport at least six months before it expires. Please note that some countries require more than six months validity on your passport to enter that country.

Question: I haven’t renewed my passport for a long time. What should I do?

Answer: If you have a U.S. passport, even if it has been expired for a very long time, it is still considered a “renewal.” Adults who have an undamaged passport issued to them after the age of 16 and within the last 15 years, can renew their passport by mail.  Please check our passport renewal page for renewal procedures. If you wish to turn in your application in person, an appointment is required.  (Please note: Due to COVID precautions, submission of adult passport renewal applications must currently be mailed in to reduce crowding in the waiting rooms.)

Please make sure you have a valid government issued ID. If your name on your I.D. is different from your name on the passport, please make sure you have original documents showing name change (e.g., Marriage Cert, Divorce Decree, Court Order).

Question: Will I get my old passport back?

Answer: Yes. We will cancel your old passport and mail it back to you with your new passport.

Question: I do/my child does not have a social security number. How should I fill out the application form?

Answer: You must provide a Social Security number, if you have been issued one, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2714a  and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f) . If you do not have a Social Security number, you must submit a signed statement including the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: I have never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.” For more information, visit our Social Security page.

Question: Will you transfer my Indian visa to my new passport?

Answer: No. We will NOT transfer any visas on your current passport. Please contact Indian Immigration for anything concerning your Indian Visa. For other foreign visas, please contact the specific country’s embassy in India.

Question: I will travel back to the U.S. and return to India right before my passport expires. Should I renew my passport?

Answer: You will be able to travel to the U.S. as long as your passport is valid on the days you travel. For requirements to come back into India, please check with the Indian Immigration or Indian Embassy/Consulate in the U.S.

Question: What is a passport card? Can I apply for one?

Answer: The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. If you cross the U.S. border by land regularly, it is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card can NOT be used for international travel by air.  The U.S. Passport Card is a Real-ID compliant form of identification and can be used in lieu of other government-issued documents to establish your identity.

If you are interested in applying for a U.S. passport card, please visit the passport card page for more information.

Question: What if I am almost out of pages in my passport?

Answer: Adding visa pages to your passport is no longer available. Applicants who need extra pages will need to apply to renew their passports and will be issued the standard 52-page book. Please see the passport renewal page for further details.

Question: Can I drop off a passport application on behalf of another person?

Answer: If this is a passport application eligible to be sent by mail (passport renewal qualified for DS-82), you may have a third party deliver your application. Please make sure the application is complete and has been signed by the applicant.


Question: Can I have a third person pick up my passport?

Answer: Due to COVID precautions, the Embassy and Consulates are currently only providing return of documents via courier.

Question: I got married/divorced and wish to change my last name on the passport. What should I do?

Answer: If the change/correction is within one year after your passport was issued, you may apply by mail and may qualify to apply for a new passport at no fee. Please refer to our website for more details on amending or changing passports. If the change is more than one year after your passport issuance, you must apply for a new passport for the normal fee. Please follow the procedures for passport renewal and include original documentation showing name change (ex. Marriage Cert, Divorce Decree, Court Order) and an English translation if necessary.

Question: How do I change my child’s family name on the passport due to parents’ divorce?

Answer: Please see our website page for information on how to renew a minor’s passport. Along with the required documents listed, you must submit legal documents showing the divorce and new family name.

Question: I am unable to access the online passport application form (e.g. DS-11, DS-82, DS-5504).

Answer: If you are having difficulty with the online application, please print out the PDF document  and fill it out by hand.

Question: Can minors (younger than 16 years) renew by mail?

Answer: No. Mail-in renewal is only available for adults whose last passport was issued after the age of 16. In order to apply for a minor’s passport, both parents/guardians must authorize the issuance of the child’s passport. Children under age 16 cannot apply for a passport by themselves.

Question: What if I don’t have a passport book? Can I still mail my application to the Embassy?

Answer: No. You will need to apply for a new passport in person at the U.S. Embassy.

Question: How long will it take to receive my passport in the mail?

Answer: You should receive your passport by mail/courier within 2-3 weeks, the Department’s current processing time for routine service overseas. If you have a need for immediate international travel, we may be able to issue you a limited validity emergency passport that will be valid for one year. Please make an appointment and come to the nearest embassy or consulate in person.

Question: How do I check the status of my passport application?

Answer: You may contact the Consular Section of your nearest embassy or consulate .We ask that you wait at least three weeks after mailing your documents to the U.S. Embassy before sending an inquiry.

Question: Do I have to provide my Social Security number on my passport application?

Answer: Yes. 22 U.S.C. 2714a  and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f)  requires you to provide your Social Security number, if you have one, when you apply for a U.S. passport or renewal of a U.S. passport.

If you fail to provide the information, you will encounter a delay in processing and/or denial of your passport application. You may also be subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS pursuant to Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6039E ). All questions on this matter should be directed to the IRS office.

Question: What if I don’t have a Social Security number?

Answer: If you would like to apply for a U.S. passport, and you don’t have a Social Security number, you will need to submit a signed statement which includes the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: I have never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”

Question: What if I am applying for a passport for my child who does not have a Social Security number yet?

Answer: You will be directed to sign a declaration stating your child has never been issued a Social Security number at the time of your in-person passport application interview.

Question: What if I can’t remember my Social Security number?

Answer: If you submit an application for a U.S. passport and do not provide a Social Security number, you will encounter a delay with the processing and/or denial of your passport application. Contact the Federal Benefits Unit at Manila for information about obtaining a new or replacement Social Security number and card.

Question: What if I have an emergency and need to travel but cannot locate my Social Security number?

Answer: We may be able to issue you a limited passport for direct return to the United States only.

Indian law does not permit dual citizenship. Section 9(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 provides that any citizen of India who by naturalization or registration acquires the citizenship of another country shall cease to be a citizen of India.

The Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) scheme was introduced in 2005 and provides some extra rights to eligible applicants with Indian heritage who are now citizens of different countries, including a multi-purpose lifelong visa to India, exemption from reporting to immigration authorities for any length of stay in India, and some parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

Question: Does my child really have to come in to see you?

Answer: Yes. Your child, even a newborn, must appear in person at our offices at the time you make the application. There are no exceptions or waivers possible for this requirement.

Question: Do both parents have to appear to the Report of Birth appointment?

Answer: Yes. Both parents are required to be present.

Question: I will not be in India when my spouse goes to the Embassy to report the birth of my child. What should we do?

Answer: Along with ALL the required documents listed on our Report of Birth Checklist, please make sure your spouse has the following documents.

  • U.S. Citizen parent’s original proof of citizenship
  • Form DS-5507  Affidavit of Physical Presence or residence, parentage and support (must be filled out/signed by the U.S. citizen parent and notarized)
  • If you are also applying for a U.S. passport for the child, Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent  (must be filled out/signed by you and notarizedAND a photocopy of the valid ID presented to the notary

Question: When is the deadline for me to report my child’s birth?

Answer: A Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. citizen is only issued to a child who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and who is generally under the age of 18 at the time of the application. However, we encourage applicants to report their child’s birth as soon as possible.

Question: Can I report my child’s birth while in the United States?

Answer: If your child was born abroad you will need to complete the Report of Birth process abroad; it can NOT be done in the United States.

If your child was born in India, then the processing must be done in India. While you can file the documents at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, that office is required to send those documents to us in India for processing. This causes significant delays; it is best to complete this whole procedure while you are still in India.

Question: My newborn child does not have a social security number yet. How should I fill out the passport application form?

Answer: Please enter “000-00-0000.”

Question: I cannot enter my Indian phone number/zip code/emergency contact in the application form system. What should I do?

Answer: If you have trouble entering your phone number/emergency contact, please leave it blank when entering it online. After printing the form, please fill out the missing information by hand.

Question: Does my newborn need an Indian visa?

Answer: The final decision on any matter involving Indian visas and/or Indian nationality rests with the Indian Government.

Question: I am a U.S. citizen born in India. How do I get a duplicate copy of my Birth Certificate (Consular Report of Birth Abroad)?

Answer: If you are a U.S. citizen born overseas, the “Birth Certificate” that was issued to you is called a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad” or FS-240. If you would like a duplicate/additional copy of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad, please visit the Department of State website  to find the information needed to submit your request. The U.S. Embassies/Consulates around the world do not keep records of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad and cannot issue duplicate/additional copies.

Question: I am unable to access the DS-2029 application form from the checklist.

Answer: If you are having difficulty with the online application, please fill out the application form by hand using PDF.

Question: What should I bring?

Answer: You will need an appointment, valid government-issued I.D. (preferably a valid passport), the document that needs to be notarized, and $50 U.S. for each notary seal that is performed. Please see our notarial service page.

Question: Can you check my documents?

Answer: No. The staff at the Embassy/Consulates cannot review or give you advice on your documents.

Question: I need a witness for my document(s). Can the Embassy/Consulate be a witness for me?

Answer: No. You must provide your own witnesses or find someone in the waiting room willing to assist you.

Question: Can I get a notary on behalf of someone else?

Answer: No. The signer has to sign in front of the Embassy’s or Consulate’s officer in person.

Question: Can I get a notary done anywhere else?

Answer: There are public Indian notaries. Please see our notarial service page.

Question: Can I get a document authenticated?

Answer: Unfortunately, we do not authenticate documents at the U.S. Embassy/Consulates. Please contact the Office of Authentication. For authentication of Indian Documents, please contact the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Question: I need an Apostille.

Answer: The U.S. Embassy and Consulates do not issue Apostilles. Please contact the Office of Authentication. To have Apostilles issued for Indian documents, please contact the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Question: What is a single affidavit and how do I get one?

Answer: Indian law requires proof that a person is eligible to marry. The Embassy and Consulates are unable to vouch for someone’s marital status but we can notarize a sworn statement from you regarding your marital status. Please make an appointment for notary service. We will need to see your valid U.S. passport.

Question: Indian immigration is asking for my U. S. Embassy-issued “Marriage Certificate” to get a spouse visa. How can I get one?

Answer: The U.S. Government/Embassy does not issue “Marriage Certificates” for marriages performed overseas. Your Indian marriage document will be the only proof of your marriage. Please explain to them there is no such “marriage certificate issued by your own government.”

Question: What if I need help with taxes or tax forms?

Answer: Please contact the IRS at . We also have additional information on our web page.

Question: Where should I go for assistance on voting?

Answer: Please see our webpage regarding voting assistance as well as the detailed Federal Voting Assistance Program website .

Question: How can I contact the Embassy/Consulate regarding a passport, notary and/or Report of Birth question that I can’t find on your website?

Answer: Please be sure to check our website first.  Here is our contact page.

Question: How do I get my fingerprints taken in order to obtain my criminal record from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)?

Answer: U.S. embassies and consulates do not provide this service. Contact the police headquarters where you reside. For further details see here .

Question: How do I request my Certificate for Criminal Records in India?

Answer: Contact the police headquarters where you reside.

Question: I think I’m a victim of an international financial scam.  What do I do?

Answer: If you feel you have been a victim of financial scam, visit our website.

Question: I think I’m a victim of a tourism scam.  What do I do?  

Answer: Below is the contact information for the Regional Director of the Indian Tourist Office for North India. The Director encourages Americans who feel they have been victimized through tourism anywhere in India to contact their office.  Apart from this, your other option is to hire a local lawyer to press charges.  Please see our list of lawyers  who have helped Americans in the past.

Regional Director (North)
Government of India Regional Tourist Office
88 Janpath
New Delhi – 110 001
Tel: (011)2332-0342, 2332-0005, 2332-0109, 2332-0008, 23320266
Fax : (011)23320342

Question: I’m having difficulties with my business.  Can the U.S. Embassy/Consulate act as my legal representative regarding my dispute?

Answer: No, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is not able to act as a legal representative or give legal advice. All legal disputes must be resolved through the Indian legal system. We have compiled a list of attorneys who are willing to work with foreigners in India. Neither the U.S. Embassy/Consulate nor the Department of State endorse or promote specific providers or services.

Question: What should I do if I have a complaint or concern about an Indian business?  

Answer: You might consider contacting the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. The information will then be shared with the consumer protection agencies of several countries.

You can also speak to the Indian Trade associations to seek their advice in this matter:

1)      Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI):  Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi 110 001; Tel: 337 8760-65, Fax: 332 0714

2)      Indo-American Chamber of Commerce:  PHD House, Opp. Asiad Village, New Delhi 110 016; Tel: 696 3387, Fax: 651 8201

You can also go to the U.S Commercial Service website to see general guidance about complaints.

Question: Can you answer a visa question or intervene on a visa case?

Answer:  The American Citizens Services units do not have authority to speak on visa-related matters, including those related to loved ones of U.S. citizens. Please refer to the visas section of our website.