Why do embassies not require passports

Welcome to the website of the Federal Foreign Office

I am not sure at which German diplomatic mission in the USA I should apply for my passport. Which diplomatic mission is responsible for my application?

The German diplomatic mission in whose consular district you are resident is responsible for your application. The consulate finder will tell you which one it is. Unfortunately, you cannot audition at another German diplomatic mission abroad if you are only staying there temporarily. If a place of residence within Germany is still entered in your last passport, we need a confirmation of deregistration from your last place of residence within Germany in addition to the general documents.

In my previous passport I still have a place of residence within Germany. Why do I need a deregistration confirmation for my passport application?

Due to the "general obligation to register" in Germany, everyone who moves out of an apartment in Germany must de-register at the registration office (i.e. at the local residents' registration office). If the passport applicant relocates his habitual residence (i.e. his current place of residence) abroad, the German diplomatic mission responsible for his new place of residence abroad can only issue a new passport if he can present a de-registration confirmation. You can easily obtain such a de-registration confirmation from the residents' registration office, if necessary retrospectively or - if the original one is lost - a second time.

There is no obligation to register at the German diplomatic missions abroad. If your last passport was issued by another diplomatic mission, you do not need to deregister there, of course.

My previous passport will expire in a few months. What do I do if I want to apply for a new passport but still need my previous passport (e.g. because it contains my valid US visa or I want to keep it as a souvenir)?

To apply for your new passport, it is not absolutely necessary that you submit the original of your previous passport immediately. If you still need your old passport, you can first submit a certified copy of your previous passport.

As soon as your new passport is available after approx. 6 to 8 weeks processing time, we will ask you to present your old passport. You will then immediately receive your new passport. In any case, you will also get your old passport back, but only after it has been validated. Please note: If there is still a valid visa in the validated passport, it is still valid despite the validation of the passport. For a transitional period, i.e. until the American immigration authorities have transferred your visa to your new passport, you would then have to carry both passports with you when you travel.

Do I have to submit my passport application in person or can I also submit my application by post?

Since November 1, 2007, you have had to submit your application in person to the German diplomatic mission responsible for you, because since then your fingerprints will also be taken when you apply for your passport and will be saved in the chip of your new German passport.

How can I pay the fees for the passport / children's passport?

The fee is to be paid in cash, by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) or by money order in US $ when submitting the application. Checks cannot be accepted as a matter of principle.

What are the fees for my German passport or for my child's passport?


To apply for a passport, I need to present a certified copy of my U.S. residency permit. What do I do if this has already expired?

In such a case, please present a certificate from the American immigration authorities confirming that you have not acquired American citizenship (form G 639/342).

How do I fill out the application form correctly?

The application form for passports and the application form for children's passports each consist of two columns. Please print out the required form and please only describe the right white column and answer all the questions in this column that are listed in the left gray column. Since you generally have to call in when you apply, it is sufficient if you sign your application in person. If you submit your child's application for a child's passport to be issued by post, your signature on the back of the application form must be certified by a public notary or a German honorary consul. This also applies if you, as a parent with custody, are unable to speak to your child when applying for a passport.

I would like to submit the application for a child's passport to be issued for my child by post. What do I have to consider?

It is no longer possible to apply for a passport or children's passport for your child by post.

We would like to apply for a passport for our child who is still unable to write. What signature will appear on his passport?

Passports for children who are not yet literate are issued without a signature. A horizontal line appears in place of the signature.

What are suitable passport photos?


Biometric images for German passports do NOT correspond to the American measurements. Currently 90% of all submitted images have to be rejected due to incorrect format. In your own interest and to save your wallet, please pay attention to the information below.

The height of the face is particularly important: it must be between 1 1/4 "and 1 3/8". The height of the face is the distance from the tip of the chin to the top of the head, neglecting the hairstyle (in common parlance also referred to as "head height").

The demands on passport photos have increased significantly because of the field of view recognition for the new biometric passports. Please note the following information as a matter of urgency, otherwise your application will not be processed by Bundesdruckerei and there may be considerable delays in issuing your new passport.

The photo must clearly show the facial features from the tip of the chin to the hairline and the left and right halves of the face. The height of the face is the distance from the tip of the chin to the top of the head, neglecting the hairstyle (in common parlance also referred to as "head height"). The height of the face must not be less than 1 ΒΌ inch (= 32mm) and not greater than 1 3/8 inch (= 36mm). The face must be centered in the photo. Please look straight into the camera with a neutral expression on your face and your mouth closed. Smiles are exceptionally not welcome!

The face must be sharp, rich in contrast and clear. Reflections or shadows in the face or in the background as well as red eyes should be avoided. The background must be a monochrome light and contrast with the face and hair (ideally neutral light gray). Reflections on glasses, tinted glasses or sunglasses are not permitted. The glasses frame must not cover the eyes.

The photo should be on high quality paper with a print resolution of at least 600 dpi. The photo must be neutral in color and reflect the skin tones naturally. The photo must not have any creases or impurities. Black and white photos are also allowed.

Passport photo template for printing with instructions for correct passport photos

Examples of suitable biometric passport photos