U.S. Citizen Frequently Asked Questions

Below is an overview of the frequently asked questions for U.S. Citizens.  Please review before contacting us.


Passport Questions

A comprehensive overview on applying for a passport outside of the United States can be found on the State Department’s travel website.

The U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam provides passport services for U.S. Citizens both traveling and residing in the Netherlands. All services related to passports, citizenship, or birth registration are by appointment only. Please visit our Passport Services page for more information.

Passports are printed in the U.S. and can take up to 6 weeks to be processed.

New passports will be delivered by mail. You are to supply a pre-paid, self-addressed return envelope with your application for this purpose.  You may use either DHL or PostNL.  If you opt for DHL, do not buy your label in a DHL store but order it online as per the guidance offered with each passport instructions page. Dot not use a QR code or a barcode only label as these do not work for sending you your passport(s). If you opt for PostNL make sure to prepare your return envelope in advance with the applicant’s name and address, and 5 x ‘1’ stamps in the top right corner.

This also applies to applications for Consular Report of Birth Abroad and first U.S. passport. This service requires a bigger envelope, approx. 27 x 33 centimeters.

If you use PostNL (regular mail)

  • Stick 5 PostNL ‘1’ stamps in the top right corner
  • Write the applicant’s name and address in the middle of the envelope, underneath your stamps
    Name Surname
    Street + house number
    Dutch zip (Postcode) + Town/city

If you use a DHL label:

  • This you must order online at: https://my.dhlexpress.nl/pwa/shipment/package/.
    When prompted, please select “Mailbox Parcel”, and enter your personal information as the recipient. Check the option “E-mail Notification”.
    When asked about the sender, enter your own name and the following mailing address: John Adams Park 1, 2244 BZ Wassenaar. Use your own e-mail address as sender and receiver so you receive all correspondence regarding your shipment.
  • Glue or tape your label on your return envelope.

SAMPLE OF RETURN ENVELOPE – PostNL version and DHL version

No, you cannot pay an extra fee at a Consulate or Embassy to get your new passport faster. Expedited processing is only available in in the United States. Routine overseas passport applications often take less time than even expedited stateside applications. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast/passport-agencies.html

 

No. The State Department realizes carrying a valid passport overseas is important so priority is already given to passports ordered through overseas Posts. When applying in Amsterdam it may be about 6 weeks before a passport is available.

When applying in the United States you may request for expedited service: https://travel.state.gov/content/special-issuance-agency-home/en/spec-issuance-agency/how-to-apply-special-issuance-passport/how-to-apply/expedited.html

 

Yes, all children under 16 must apply in person with both parents present. If one parent cannot be present a notarized consent from the non-appearing parent must be presented — for further instructions see the section on Passports for Minors.  Also, adolescents age 16 and above, or young adults over 18 who cannot submit a 10-year validity passport for renewal, must appear in person for further instructions see our section on Passports for Adolescents Age 16+.

NO!  When living abroad you should ALWAYS submit your application to the Embassy or Consulate serving your consular district. In the Netherlands this is the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam. The U.S. Embassy in The Hague does NOT offer consular services.  When traveling you may apply for a new passport with any Embassy or Consulate, or any passport office in the United States but make sure to read that post’s or office’s application instructions and note their processing times.  Passports cannot be mailed across national borders! This means the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam can ONLY send passports to your address in the Netherlands.

Yes, you may renew your passport at any time that is convenient for you.  Please ensure you have enough time to receive your new passport before you need to travel.

No, but you must allow us to cancel your old passport as new passports are delivered by mail only and you cannot have two valid passports. Processing time is about 4 to 6 weeks so do plan your application appointment accordingly.

You must report the loss or theft of a U.S. passport to the local police authorities to avoid Identity theft.  For more information and specific instructions:

Your passport may be used for travel to and from the United States within the validity date in the passport. Certain countries may demand your passport is valid for longer than 6 months.  Please see www.travel.state.gov and country specific information under International Travel for entry requirements to foreign countries. Best practice is to renew your passport about 8 months before it expires, or if you have about 4 empty visa pages left.

No. When entering or leaving the United States, as per section 215 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1185), U.S. citizens are required to show a valid U.S. passport.  If a U.S. citizen attempts to travel to the U.S. on another passport, this often results in delays, missed flights and further complications.

Note there is no exit control when leaving the United States but if U.S. citizens depart on a foreign passport they can only return to the United States on a valid U.S. passport! In other words: make sure to have a valid passport both when departing, and returning to the United States.

In some cases the issuance of a second passport is possible, but is at the discretion of the Consular Officer.  We will ask for justification from an employer or proof of compelling reasons for personal travel to help adjudicate your case. Please see our section on A Second Passport.


Citizenship and Taxation Questions

Yes, all U.S. citizens must report income by filing an annual U.S. income tax return, regardless of whether they also file and pay taxes abroad. For more information see www.irs.gov .

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed as part of the HIRE Act, generally requires that foreign financial Institutions and certain other non-financial foreign entities report on the foreign assets held by their U.S. account holders or be subject to withholding on withholdable payments.  The HIRE Act also contained legislation requiring U.S. persons to report, depending on the value, their foreign financial accounts and foreign assets (source: IRS.gov).

For more information on paying taxes as a U.S. Citizen please see:

To fulfill your U.S. tax obligations and to vote, you will require a social security number.  Please see our section on Social Security.

U.S. citizenship is only lost through the act of renunciation/relinquishment. No person has to do anything at any age to retain, choose, affirm, or confirm U.S. citizenship. It is advisable to always be in possession of a valid U.S. passport as that is the only passport valid for entering and departing from the United States.

Persons born abroad to a U.S. parent or parents may have acquired citizenship at birth.  This determination is based upon a variety of facts; the law in place at the time of birth, the amount of time the U.S. citizen parent(s) lived in the U.S. prior to the birth of the child, and, in some cases, the marital status of the biological parents.  Please visit our Birth Abroad section for more information about transmitting U.S. Citizenship.

Please see our section on Dual Nationality. It is possible Dutch immigration authorities may require you to surrender your U.S. citizenship as a condition for granting Dutch citizenship.  Please see www.ind.nl or contact your local Gemeente (Burgerzaken) for further information.

Please see our section on how to obtain vital records from the U.S.  Please note the U.S. Consulate General can’t obtain records on your behalf.


Other Services

As of October 1, 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam no longer issues Affidavits of Civil Status. An affidavit is a citizen’s own statement on his or her civil status, required for instance to register with the Dutch authorities for residence and/or marriage.  Such a statement can now be made at the town hall of your Dutch municipality. For more information please contact your Dutch town hall.

For notary services, click here.

Please visit our scheduling page.  For CRBAs (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) the Consulate will set up your appointment upon receipt of your paperwork (See steps 4 and 6 at: https://nl.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/child-family-matters/birth/).

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. STEP provides safety and security information for your destination country and helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  Enroll online to stay safe, connected, and informed.

If you reside in The Netherlands and have questions regarding services provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Dublin, Ireland.  For more information on their services and how to contact them, please visit their webpage.

For comprehensive information on SSA’s services abroad, please visit SSA’s webpage Service Around the World.

If you are already receiving SSA benefits payments, there will be no change in the method of distribution of those payments.

Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the right to vote can be exercised by United States citizens in every corner of the world.  Visit our section on Voting for more information.


Additional Information

Dual nationality is the simultaneous possession of two citizenships.

While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Americans to have other nationalities, the U.S. Government does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on a dual-national U.S. citizen may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. It is generally considered that while dual nationals are in the country of which they are citizens that country has a predominant claim on them.

The acquisition of a second nationality does not eliminate or remove any of the rights or obligations a U.S. citizen has toward the United States. Along with the rights and privileges, citizenship come certain responsibilities. For example:

  • U.S. citizens who also hold another country’s passport must enter and depart from the United States on their valid U.S. passport. They can’t acquire ESTA, may not get a U.S. visa, and can’t travel on their other country’s passport.
  • U.S. citizens must report world-wide income by filing an annual U.S. income tax return, regardless of where else they live and pay taxes. For more information see www.irs.gov.
  • A male U.S. citizen must register with the U.S. Selective Service System within three months of his 18th birthday. For more information see our section on Selective Service.

If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement is a treaty creating Europe’s Schengen Area, which encompasses 26 European countries, where internal border checks have largely been abolished for short-term tourism, a business trip, or transit to a non-Schengen destination.  For additional information and FAQs please visit the State Department webpage about travel in Europe.


Passport Card Questions

A passport card is a wallet-size card that can only be used for land and sea travel between the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.  The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and more convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea.

For first-time applicants, the passport card will cost $65 for adults and $50 for children under the age of 16.  This includes the execution fee of $35.  Adults with fully valid passports issued within the last fifteen years can apply for the card in person using form DS-82, at a cost of $30. Note that though consular fees are set in dollars, in Amsterdam you can only pay in euro, the local currency equivalent of the dollar fee, or with any credit or a U.S. debit card.

Please note the card is not recognized as valid identification in the Netherlands.

If you have a question that is not addressed under our frequently asked questions, please use the ACS Navigator to find out how to contact us.