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How to Renew a German Passport in the U.S.

German Passport

Unfortunately, you can no longer post your application for German passport renewal to one of the consulates or to the embassy in the United States. This is because Germany now makes use of an ePassport which contains a microchip inserted into one of the passport pages. This microchip contains all your background information as well as your biometric data such as your fingerprints, photographs and digital signature. Because of this, you need to go in to verify your identity via fingerprints and so on.

Applying at the Nearest German Consulate

While this ePassport has definitely made the German passport far more credible and less vulnerable to fraud, it has also made the passport application and passport renewal application processes a bit more inconvenient. You cannot post application forms but now have to appear in person and fill out the relevant application form. The German embassy has attempted to make things easier by erecting honorary consuls besides the eight already present which have been equipped with the resources to deal with passport processes. These are numerous. See a complete list here. Otherwise, the eight regular consulates are located in:

The German embassy is located in Washington DC.

Application Form & Supporting Documents

You can choose to download the passport application form and fill it in at home or you may choose to collect one at the consulate. It is normally better to fill the form in at home when you are focused and not rushed. This way you are less likely to make mistakes or forget your pen! Also, you will have the time to look up information that you may not have readily available.

Also do not forget to look into the supporting documents that you need to include. If you forget even just one, you will have to leave the consulate and return when everything is in order. The required documents are:

  • The fully completed application form
  • Two of the same photographs taken recently
  • Birth certificate which gives information of where you were born as well as a copy
  • Marriage, divorce or death certificate to prove spousal relations
  • Current German passport and a copy of the data pages
  • Confirmation of deregistration from your German place of residence and a copy
  • Valid proof of U.S residency (green card, residency visa or U.S passport)
  • Proof of address (driver's license or utility bill)
  • Passport fee (approximately 80 euros payable in dollars according to exchange rate on the day)

German Passport Photo Requirements

Ensure that you use the correct photos in your application as if they do not meet requirements your entire application will be denied. This is a silly reason to halt the passport process. The German consulates and embassy have the same regulations as most and will include factors such as:

  • A clear professional photo
  • Recently taken within a few months
  • A pale background with no shadows or objects
  • Nothing covering the face at all
  • Headwear only permitted for religious reasons
  • A neutral expression and closed mouth
  • Applicant must face the camera head on with eyes facing in the direction of the camera
  • No old, scratched or damaged photos will be used.

Should you follow these directions to the tee, there is little chance that you will have problems renewing your German passport in the U.S. If you have any queries, contact your nearest consulate.

About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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