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Frequently Asked Questions
 

U.S. Citizens and Notary Services

U.S. Passports- General

How do I apply for a U.S. passport in Brazil? 

Please read information on U.S. passports.

How long it will take to process my passport application? How long does it take to get a passport?

An application for a full-validity (ten years for adults; five years for children under age 16) or second passport will be sent to the United States for printing with a secure, photo-digitized image of the bearer. You should allow 15 working days for your application to be processed.

An application for extra pages to be added to a valid passport is usually done at the same day.

I have downloaded the passport forms and note that the instructions on the forms are different from those on this website. Which should I follow?

You should disregard the instructions on the passport forms as they refer specifically to passport applications processed in the United States. You will fill out the same form but should follow the instructions on this website.

Can I apply for a U.S. passport at any consular post in Brazil?

We encourage you to apply at the American Citizen Services Unit which has responsibility over your area in Brazil, which can be found here.

How soon should I renew my passport before it expires?

You may apply to renew your U.S. passport at any time. If your passport has expired or is about to expire, we strongly recommend that you take action now to renew your passport. Apart from the inconvenience you may incur in having to apply for a passport at short notice in the event of an emergency, every American abroad should have valid proof of his or her citizenship at all times.

Please click here for information on  U.S. passport renewal.

If I don't plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should I renew my passport now?

Three reasons:

  1. The passport is proof of American citizenship. Every American abroad should have valid proof of his/her citizenship at all times.
  2. Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly to the United States. The last thing you need to do in an emergency is worry about getting to the Embassy or Consulate to get your or your child's passport renewed. It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
  3. A valid passport is required for many Brazilian administrative purposes and you do not want to get caught with an expired passport if you need to process an application for some benefit.

In the event of an emergency involving a family member abroad, a short-notice airfare bargain, or an unexpected business trip, already having a valid U.S. passport will save time, money and stress.

Will I get my passport back when I renew it?

Yes. In nearly all cases, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you. If we are not able to return your old passport for any reason, we will discuss this with you at the time of application.

I have visa stamps in my current passport. What happens to them when this passport is cancelled?

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate does not have the authority to transfer visas or stamps issued by other countries. When you renew your passport, your old passport will be cancelled but not your valid visas. You should then contact the appropriate authority of the issuing country for further instruction.

My passport has already expired. I do not wish to apply for a new one. Can my passport be extended?

No. Passports are not extendable.

Can I hold more than one passport or nationality?

Yes. In the 1980's, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away from a citizen who does not intend to relinquish it. Therefore, such actions as naturalization in a foreign country, employment with a foreign government, and/or voting in a foreign election do not automatically jeopardize American citizenship.

I need a passport in an emergency; what can I do?

If you are traveling within 15 working days, you may apply for a limited-validity emergency passport. Please see U.S. passports information. Each case will be evaluated at the time of the   application. Emergency passports can be issued for a maximum of one year. 

I am an American citizen, but also have a foreign passport. Can I use my foreign passport to travel to the United States?

No. Under U.S. law, U.S. citizens must be in possession of a valid U.S. passport to enter or leave the United States. This is true even if you hold a passport from another country. If your U.S. passport has been lost or stolen, or if it has expired, you must apply to replace it before traveling to the United States.

My passport is still valid, but its pages are fully stamped. Can I have extra pages added to it, or should I apply for a new passport?

You may apply to have extra pages added to the passport. Alternatively if your passport will expire shortly you may apply to renew it. Applicants for U.S. passports have the option of receiving a 52-page book for the same price as a 28-page full validity passport, so that applicants who know they will use a larger number of pages can get the larger book in advance and therefore avoid paying for additional pages down the road. Please ckeck the passport page for more information.

How long is a passport valid for?

In general, children under the age of 16 are issued passports valid for five years; those 16 and over are issued passports valid for ten years.

I travel frequently and my passport is always at some embassy/consulate to obtain a visa. Can I get a second passport?

Current regulations reflect the long standing policy of the Department of State that no person should be in possession of more than one valid, or potentially valid, passport at any one time unless under circumstances specifically authorized by the Secretary of State. The issuance of a second, concurrently valid passport should be considered an exception to the regulations, and is to be approved on an individual basis only where justified. The validity of a regular American passport is ten (10) years. The second, concurrently valid passport will be limited in validity for two (2) years. This passport is not extendable. You will have to follow the regular procedures on applying for a renewal of a U.S. passport. Click here for more information.

My passport was lost/ stolen. What should I do?

Please check the U.S. Passports page for information on how to proceed.

I do not have Consular Report of Birth Abroad; how can I obtain a copy?

If you were born abroad, your parents should have registered your birth at a U.S. Embassy or consulate and received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240. This form is acceptable legal proof of birth and U.S. citizenship. Records are kept at the Passport Correspondence Office in Washington, DC.

How can I obtain copies of U.S. birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificates?

You may obtain a certified copy of these certificates from the state in which the event occurred. The National Center for Health Statistics maintains a list of states' contact information for this purpose.

I just got my new passport back and there's a mistake in it. What do I do?

Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you submit your passport application as soon as possible.

I am a U.S. Citizen. Does my wife have the right to a U.S. passport?

No. Citizenship cannot be acquired through marriage.

How can I find out if I need a visa to travel to a particular foreign country?

Please consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for the country to which you wish to travel. You should also check with the Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission of that country for definitive guidance.

U.S. Passports for Children

My child was born in Brazil. How do I report his/her birth and get him/her a U.S. passport?

There are requirements to be met by the U.S. citizen parent(s) to transmit citizenship. If your child is eligible for citizenship, you may register his or her birth at the Embassy and obtain a passport and social security number for him or her. Please click here for more information.

 

I wish to apply for a passport for my child; am I required to bring him/her to the Embassy/ Consulate?

Yes. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by both parents. An appointment will be required; please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.

Is it true that passport applications for children under the age of 16 require the consent of both parents?

Yes, the consent of both parents/legal guardians is required, even if one parent is not a U.S. citizen. Read more.

What If only one parent can appear at the Embassy with the child?

The other parent may submit his/her consent by completing form DS-3053 before a notary and submitting acceptable ID. Read more.

I don't know where my child's other parent is and I don't know how to contact him/her to obtain hi/her consent. Does that mean you can't issue my child a passport?

Maybe. Each case is different and will be assessed by one of our consular officers. We recommend that you provide as much documentation as possible showing that you have made a "good faith effort" to contact your child's parent through all available channels (family members, mutual friends, last known employer, divorce lawyer/solicitor, etc). It may be necessary for you to obtain a court order giving you sole custody or permission to apply for a U.S. passport for the child without the other parent's consent.

My child is too young to sign his/her passport. How do I sign my child's passport?

Children aged 16 and over may sign their own passports. For children under the age of 16, a parent should sign. In the space provided for the signature, the mother or father must print the child's name and sign his/her own name. Then, in parentheses, by the parent's name, write the word (mother) or (father) so we know who signed for the child.

When only one parent is accompanying the child to the U.S. is it necessary to carry a letter of consent from the other parent? If my child is traveling with a friend or relative, do they need written consent?

There is no such requirement to enter the United States, but the country from which you are departing may have a requirement. Check with the immigration authorities in each country. Click here for more information about travel of minors.

My child has a foreign passport. Can s/he use it to travel to the U.S.?

By law, even if your child holds foreign nationality, if s/he has a claim to U.S. citizenship, s/he is required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. S/he should not enter the United States on a foreign passport with a visa, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

If you do not meet the requirements to transmit citizenship to your child, you still must document the child with a "Letter of No Claim" before traveling to the U.S. or applying for a visa.

If you are not eligible to transmit citizenship to your child, it may be possible for him or her to apply for either expeditious naturalization, if an American citizen grandparent has enough physical presence time in the United States, or an immigrant visa.

If you are not eligible to transmit citizenship to your child, and s/he cannot qualify for naturalization as described above, s/he may require a tourist visa to travel to the United States for a temporary, nonworking visit or an immigrant visa if s/he wishes to take up residence.

How do I get information about my child's passport or prevent a U.S. passport from being issued to my child?

Parents involved in international custody disputes may receive information about the United States passport of a minor from the Department of State, Passport Services.

For passport assistance for parents and information on International Child Abduction see International Parental Child Abduction.

U.S. Citizenship and Report of Birth Abroad

I am an American citizen. I recently had a child born in Brazil. Does s/he have a claim to American citizenship?

Possibly. Your child's claim to citizenship depends on several factors. Please read more.

If I cannot transmit citizenship to my child, is there any way that s/he may become a U.S. citizen?

Yes. If you are not eligible to transmit citizenship to your child, it may be possible for him or her to apply for either expeditious naturalization, if an American citizen grandparent has enough physical presence time in the United States, or an immigrant visa, conferring citizenship upon entry to the U.S. or.

If you are not eligible to transmit citizenship to your child, and s/he cannot qualify for naturalization as described above, s/he may require a tourist visa to travel to the United States for a temporary, nonworking visit or an immigrant visa if s/he wishes to take up residence.

We are Americans living in Brazil. We just adopted a child and s/he is living with us here. How do we get him/her an American passport?

For more information on adoption, click here or email AdoptionRIO@state.gov

 

My child has both Brazilian and American citizenship. At what age must s/he choose which citizenship s/he wants to keep?

American citizenship is for life. The laws covering the retention of citizenship have been greatly liberalized - thanks in large part to the lobbying of American community groups overseas. No child has to do anything at any age to retain, choose, affirm, or confirm American citizenship. In the 1980's, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship is a Constitutional right, which cannot be taken away from a citizen who does not intend to relinquish it.

My mother/father was a U.S. citizen, but I was born outside the U.S. Can I be a U.S. citizen too?

Maybe. Please click here for more information.

I am a U.S. Citizen married a foreign citizen. Can my spouse get a U.S. passport or become a U.S. citizen?

U.S. passports are only issued to U.S. citizens. For more information on the immigrant visa process, through which your spouse could become a U.S. citizen after residing in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident, visit http://brazil.usembassy.gov/immigrant-visas.html

Social Security Numbers and Benefits

How do I apply for a Social Security number for my child?

To apply for a Social Security number for a child under age 12 the following steps are required:

A.    Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5 (all questions must be answered and legible).

B.   Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable.

  1. Proof of the child's birth
    1. Original U.S. birth certificate, or (b) below,
      1. If the child was born in the US you must also submit proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. Proof of foreign residency can include medical, school and employment records.
      2. If the child was born in the U.S. Form SSA- L706 (click here to download form SSA-L706) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.
    2. Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  2. Proof of the child's U.S. Citizenship
    1. Original U.S. birth certificate, or
    2. Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  3. Proof of the child's identity
    1. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed
    2. Original Brazilian Passport, must be current and signed
  4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application
    1. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed

Original Brazilian Passport, must be current and signed

I have lost or misplaced my Social Security Card; do I need to replace the card?

A Social Security Card itself is not needed. Knowing your number is what is important. All employers, financial institutions, educational institutions, the Internal Revenue Service etc. always verify the Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration, regardless of whether or not a Social Security Card is presented. In part the reason for this is the possibility of altered or fraudulent Social Security Cards being presented.

I have a Social Security number, but do not remember the number. How can I find out my Social Security number?

You may contact the any US Embassy or Consulate to verify with the American Citizens Service if it is possible to make a research.

I have married or divorced and need to change my name on my Social Security records, how do I do that?

To change your name on your Social Security records the following steps are required:

A.    Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS - (click here to download form SS-5) - all questions must be answered and legible.

B.   Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable:  

  1. Proof of the name change
    1. Original marriage or divorce decree
      If the marriage or divorce certificate is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity and submit proof of identity in your NEW name.
  2. Proof of identity in Old Name, as required
    1. Original current or expired U.S. or Brazilian passport, must be signed
    2. Original driving license
    3. Original current or expired U.S. military identification
  3. Proof of identity in New Name, as required
    1. Original current U.S. or Brazilian passport, must be signed
    2. Original driving license
    3. Original current U.S. military identification

My social security card has not arrived. What should I do?

You may contact the US Embassy or Consulate to request the American Citizens Service unit to follow-up with the Social Security Administration on the status of your card.

Affordable Care Act

I'm a U.S. Citizen living abroad, what does the Affordable Care Act mean for me?

Please click here for information about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for you.

Notary Services

Does the Embassy/Consulate provide notary services to Brazilians or only to U.S. citizens?

They are provided to either Brazilians or U.S. Citizens who need to have documents notarized for use in the U.S.

How do I apply for a notary service?

To apply for a notary service at the Embassy or Consulates in Brazil you have to schedule an appointment. Please check the Notary Services page to find out the appropriate procedures, address, e-mail and working hours.

 

Marriage/ Divorce

I am an U.S. citizen and got married in Brazil. May I register my marriage at the Embassy or Consulate?

No. The Embassy or Consulate do not register marriages in Brazil. Please click here for more information.

Other Questions

I’ve heard about humanitarian parole. What does that mean?

 Humanitarian Parole is an extraordinary measure used sparingly to bring an otherwise inadmissible alien into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency.

Humanitarian Parole is not intended to be used to circumvent normal visa issuing procedures, bypass delays in visa issuance, or immigrate to the United States.
Neither the Department nor consular officers have the authority to approve or extend any type of parole under any circumstances; that authority rests solely with DHS.


Click on the link for more information on the Humanitarian Parole or FAQ.