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How to apply for or renew your US passport from Spain

If you are an American citizen resident in Spain at some point you will need to either apply for or renew your US passport. Here's our handy guide on how to go about it, from applying for a passport for a baby to renewals for children and adults.

How to apply for or renew your US passport from Spain
How to apply or renew your US passport from Spain. Photo: Levi Ventura / Unsplash

Official matters such as renewing your foreign passport from Spain seem quite daunting, but our step-by-step guide will show you what to do, whether you’re applying for a US passport for the first time, renewing your passport or renewing your child’s passport. 

Renewing a US passport from Spain currently takes around 4 to 6 weeks according to the US Embassy in Madrid, so make sure that you apply well in advance of any planned trips. 

Applying for a US passport for the first time

This situation would typically be for babies born in Spain to US parents or adults who have US citizenship but were born in Spain.

Adults must appear in person at the US Embassy in Madrid or the Consulate in Barcelona, providing several documents, including proof of their US citizenship, US birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad and naturalisation certificate. For this you will need to request an appointment.

You will also need to fill out form DS-11 here https://pptform.state.gov/ noting your US social security number on the form.

Remember not to sign the form, you will do this at the embassy or the consulate under oath in front of a Consular Officer.

If you were born in the US, you must also present the passport you used to leave the US and enter Spain.

You also need to bring a 5x5cm passport picture and to pay the corresponding fee.

How to renew your adult US passport

To renew your US passport from Spain, you’ll need to do it by mail by sending your application and supporting documents to the US Embassy in Madrid or the US Consulate in Barcelona.

U.S. Embassy Madrid
CONS/ACS/PPT
U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano 75
28006 Madrid

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
CONS/ACS/PPT
U.S. Consulate General
Paseo Reina Elisenda, 23
08034 Barcelona

You can now only send your passport renewal fee of $130 online, electronically through your bank, from Amazon Pay or PayPal.

You do not need to schedule an appointment.

You can renew it if all of the following apply:

  • You can submit your most recent US passport with your application
  • You were at least 16 years old when your most recent passport was issued
  • You were issued your passport less than 15 years ago
  • Your most recent US passport has a validity period of 10 years
  • Your most recent US passport was issued in your current name or you can prove your name change
  • You currently reside in and/or have a valid mailing address in Spain or Andorra

If you answer no to any of the above questions then you will have to follow the same instructions as first-time applicants.

In order you renew your passport you’ll have to fill out form DS-82 here

This needs to be sent to one of the above addresses with a colour passport photo measuring 5 x 5 cm taken within the past 6 months, plus a photocopy of the biodata page on your old passport, your old passport and confirmation that you’ve paid the online fee.

How to renew your US passport for the first time as an adult

If you are over the age of 16 and are renewing your US passport for the first time, you must apply in person.

You will need to apply for an appointment at the Embassy in Madrid here 
The Consulate General in Barcelona here 
Or one of the consular agencies in Fuengirola, Seville, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Las Palmas here

You will need to bring a completed DS-11 form here. Remember not to sign it, you will do so under oath at the embassy or consulate. You will also need your previous passport, one 5x5cm passport picture and to pay the applicable passport fee.

How to renew a US passport for your child

If you want to renew a US passport for a child then you will need to make an appointment to go in person and will not simply be able to do it through the post. See the appointment links above. 

You can get one at the US Embassy in Madrid, the Consulate in Barcelona or one of the Consular Agencies in Fuengirola, Seville, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia or Las Palmas.

You must fill out the following form and print it out to take with you to your appointment.
Parents must also sign the DS-11 form found here.

Both parents must be present at the appointment, as well as the child.

You will need to bring:

  • Your child’s original birth certificate, as well as your passports and Spanish residency cards, plus photocopies of all documents.  
  • One 5x5cm colour passport picture.
  • Four or five images of your child taken over the past five years to show how their appearance has changed. These must be printed on an A4 sheet of paper.

If both parents cannot attend, the absent parent must fill out the following form here.

If you are a single parent, you will also need a document to prove this such as their birth certificate with only your name or a court order granting you sole custody.

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TRAVEL NEWS

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

A number of countries in Europe's Schengen area admit they fear delays and insufficient time to test the process ahead of new, more rigorous EU border checks that will be introduced next year, a new document reveals.

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

Schengen countries are tightening up security at the external borders with the introduction of a new digital system (EES) to record the entry and exit of non-EU citizens in May 2023.

The EES will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. It will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit. The data will be kept in a centralised database on a rolling three-year basis that is re-set at each entry. 

What the EES is intended to do is increase border security, including the enforcement of the 90-day short-stay limit for tourists and visitors.

EU citizens and third-country nationals who reside in a country of the Schengen area will not be subject to such checks as long as they can prove residency in an EU country however they will still be caught up in any delays at passport control if the new system as many fear, causes longer processing times.

READ ALSO: Foreigners living in EU not covered by new EES border checks

But given its scale, the entry into operation of the system has been raising concerns on many fronts, including the readiness of the physical and digital infrastructure, and the time required for border checks, which could subsequently cause massive queues at borders.

A document on the state of preparations was distributed last week by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties.

The paper contains the responses from 21 countries to a questionnaire about potential impacts on passenger flows, the infrastructure put in place and the possibility of a gradual introduction of the new system over a number of months.

This is what certain the countries have responded. Responses from Denmark, Spain and Sweden do not appear in the report but the answers from other countries will be relevant for readers in those countries.

READ ALSO: What the EU’s new EES border check system means for travel

‘Double processing time’

Austria and Germany are the most vocal in warning that passport processing times will increase when the EES will become operational.

“The additional tasks resulting from the EES regulation will lead to a sharp increase in process times”, which are expected to “double compared to the current situation,” Austrian authorities say. “This will also affect the waiting times at border crossing points (in Austria, the six international airports),” the document continues.

“Furthermore, border control will become more complicated since in addition to the distinction between visa-exempt and visa-required persons, we will also have to differentiate between EES-required and EES-exempt TCN [third country nationals], as well as between registered and unregistered TCN in EES,” Austrian officials note.

Based on an analysis of passenger traffic carried out with the aviation industry, German authorities estimate that checking times will “increase significantly”.

France expects to be ready for the introduction of the EES “in terms of passenger routes, training and national systems,” but admits that “fluidity remains a concern” and “discussions are continuing… to make progress on this point”.

Italy is also “adapting the border operational processes… in order to contain the increased process time and ensure both safety and security”.

“Despite many arguments for the introduction of automated border control systems based on the need for efficiency, the document makes clear that the EES will substantially increase border crossing times,” Statewatch argues.

‘Stable service unlikely by May 2023’

The border infrastructure is also being adapted for collecting and recording the data, with several countries planning for automated checks. So what will change in practice?

France will set up self-service kiosks in airports, where third-country nationals can pre-register their biometric data and personal information before being directed to the booth for verification with the border guard. The same approach will be adopted for visitors arriving by bus, while tablet devices such as iPads will be used for the registration of car passengers at land and sea borders.

Germany also plans to install self-service kiosks at the airports to “pre-capture” biometric data before border checks. But given the little time for testing the full process, German authorities say “a stable working EES system seems to be unlikely in May 2023.”

Austria intends to install self-service kiosks at the airports of Vienna and Salzburg “in the course of 2023”. Later these will be linked to existing e-gates enabling a “fully automated border crossing”. Austrian authorities also explain that airport operators are seeking to provide more space for kiosks and queues, but works will not be completed before the system is operational.

Italy is increasing the “equipment of automated gates in all the main  airport” and plans to install, at least in the first EES phase, about 600 self-service kiosks at the airports of Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice and in those with “significant volumes of extra-Schengen traffic,” such as Bergamo, Naples, Bologna and Turin.

Switzerland, which is not an EU member but is part of the Schengen area, is also installing self-service kiosks to facilitate the collection of data. Norway, instead, will have “automated camera solutions operated by the border guards”, but will consider self-service options only after the EES is in operation.

Gradual introduction?

One of the possibilities still in consideration is the gradual introduction of the new system. The European Commission has proposed a ‘progressive approach’ that would allow the creation of “incomplete” passenger files for 9 months following the EES entry into operation, and continuing passport stamping for 3 months.

According to the responses, Italy is the only country favourable to this option. For Austria and France this “could result in more confusion for border guards and travellers”. French officials also argue that a lack of biometric data will “present a risk for the security of the Schengen area”.

France suggested to mitigate with “flexibility” the EES impacts in the first months of its entry into service. In particular, France calls for the possibility to not create EES files for third-country nationals who entered the Schengen area before the system becomes operational, leaving this task to when they return later.

This would “significantly ease the pressure” on border guards “during the first three months after entry into service,” French authorities said.

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