If you find yourself in a foreign country and in need of applying for a United States passport, please be aware that the process is different than if you apply from inside United States. Unfortunately each US Embassy and consulate has different rules for submitting your application and the required documents.

First, the application form to apply for your passport is the same whether you are inside or outside the United States. Please note that if you are outside the United States do not follow the instructions on the passport form – – those are only for people applying who are inside the United States. Instead, you need to check your local United States Embassy or Consulate’s website for instructions on how you should submit your forms. Find the correct Embassy, consulate or diplomatic mission here: http://www.usembassy.gov/ The forms you may need are:

  1. DS-11 for a first-time adult passport book or passport card.
  2. DS-82 to renew your adult passport book or card.

You will also need:

  1. photos that meet the US passport photo requirements, see: http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotoreq/pptphotoreq_5333.html
  2. FEES: your fees can be paid in cash in United States or local creek currency and sometimes by credit card depending on the consulate or embassy. They will not accept personal checks if they are located outside the United States. As of summer 2013 the fee to get in adult passport card that would allow you to travel by land from Mexico or Canada to the United States was $55. If you wanted a passport book the total is $135. If you want both it is $165.
  3. TIME: expedited processing is not available if you are applying for your passport from outside the United States. If it is an emergency, the consulate or embassy will sometimes issue a limited validity passport but you will need to discuss this with the consulate or embassy directly.

If you are unable to prove evidence of citizenship:

  1. the Department of State will conduct a file search for you for $150. If you have never had a US passport, however, this might not be the best option for you because oftentimes the file search is just for a previous passport.
  2. If you have not had a passport before and cannot find your birth certificate, you can file a DS-10: Birth Affidavit. This should be signed by an older blood relative who has personal knowledge of your birth or by the attending physician or other per person who has personal knowledge of the birth. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79954.pdf

If your passport was stolen: and you are overseas, you do not have to pay the $150 fee.