Frequently Ask Questions

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions before contacting the Embassy.

  • Do I have to make an appointment? Can I make an appointment over the phone?
    Answer: All services require an appointment. Please make an appointment on- line.

 

  • There are no appointments available. What can I do?
    Answer: Please keep checking the website on a daily basis. We usually open appointment slots a month in advance and continually open more slots. Also, we have cancellations every day, and the cancellations will be reflected in the system every morning.

 

  • I would like to cancel my existing appointment but forgot my password.
    Answer: Contact us at ACSSANSAL@state.gov and we’ll cancel the appointment for you.

 

  • I want to make a notary appointment. There are 2(3 …) people signing the same document. Do I need to make separate appointments for each and every one of them?
    Answer: You only need to make one appointment.

 

  • Why do I need to remember my password and print out and bring my confirmation sheet with me on the day of my appointment?
    Answer: The confirmation sheet allows you to enter the Embassy or Consulate on the day of your appointment.  The password allows you to access your appointment record to make any necessary changes prior to your appointment.  Be sure to bring your passport and your confirmation.  You may be required to provide this information should you need to schedule another appointment.
  • My passport just got stolen! (Or lost) What should I do?
    Answer: If your passport is lost or stolen, you must report the loss/theft to the local Salvadoran Police Station and obtain a police report or a report number for presentation to the Consular Officer at time of application. Please make an appointment via our online appointment system. Please follow the detailed instructions for a lost or stolen passport here.

 

  • Help! I just realized my passport is expired and I have a trip planned next week with a purchased ticket. What can I do?
    Answer:
    Emergency passports are on a very limited and strict basis. If you feel you qualify contact us at ACSSANSAL@state.gov and we’ll give you further instructions.
  • How long does it take to have my passport issued?
    Answer: Normally, it takes approximately 2 weeks.

 

  • When should I renew my passport?
    Answer: You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires. However, we encourage you to renew your passport at least six months before it expires. Please note that some countries (not the U.S. or El Salvador) require more than six months validity on your passport to enter that country.

 

  • Will I get my old passport back?
    Answer: Yes. We will return it to you after the interview.

 

  • What is a passport card? Can I apply for one?
    Answer: The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. If you cross the U.S. border by land regularly, it is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card can NOT be used for international travel by air.

 

  • What if I am almost out of pages in my passport?
    Answer: We are no longer able to add visa pages. Applicants who need extra pages will need to apply to renew their passports and will be issued the standard 52-page book. Please see Passport Services  for further details.

 

  • I got married/divorced, and wish to change my last name on the passport. What should I do?
    Answer: If the change/correction is within one year after your passport was issued, you may qualify for a no fee Passport. If the change is more than one year after your passport issuance, there will be a fee. Please follow the procedures for passport services and include original documentation showing name change (proof of marriage, divorce decree, court order).

 

  • Will you transfer my Salvadoran visa to my new passport?
    Answer: No. We will NOT transfer any visas on your current passport. Please contact Salvadoran Immigration for anything concerning your Salvadoran Visa. For other foreign visas, please contact the specific country’s embassy in El Salvador.

 

  • Does my passport need to be valid for 6 months longer in order to travel?
    Answer: You may use your U.S. passport for travel to and from the United States within the validity date displayed on the passport.  Other countries vary.  Review Learn about destination for each country’s entry requirements.

 

  • I found someone’s lost passport. What should I do with it?
    Please mail the found passport in a sturdy envelope, to:
    ATTN: CLASP
    U.S. Department of State
    CA/PPT/S/L/LE
    4th Floor
    1150 Passport Services PL
    Dulles, VA 20189-1150
    Or, bring the passport to the U.S. Embassy at the American Citizen Services Unit.

 

  • I just got my new passport back and there’s a mistake in it. What should I do?
    Answer: Contact us through our email ACSSANSAL@state.gov to receive further instructions.

 

  • Is it true that passport applications for children under the age of 16 require the consent of both parents?
    Answer: Yes, the consent of both parents/legal guardians is required, even if one parent is not a U.S. citizen.

 

  • Why do I need to bring my child’s birth certificate to renew his/her passport?
    Answer: Although your child’s passport is proof of his or her citizenship, renewing a child’s passport requires the consent of both parents.  The easiest way to illustrate the identity of the two parents is with a birth certificate or adoption record.

 

  • I’m divorced but I have custody of my child.  Why do I need my ex’s consent to renew my child’s passport?
    Answer: U.S. law requires both parents to consent to issue a passport to a child under age 16 unless you have full custody of the child as determined by a competent court of law.  Countries have different standards of custody, so the legal document granting sole custody must state that the parent applying for the passport has the legal ability to make decisions for the child.

 

  • If I don’t plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should I renew my passport now?
    Answer: You should renew your passport for three reasons:
    1. The passport is proof of U.S. citizenship. Every U.S. 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 Salvadoran 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.

 

  • My passport was washed by mistake.  Can I still use it for travel?
    Answer: If the information is unreadable, you will need a new passport.
  • Do both parents have to appear to the Report of Birth appointment?
    Answer: Yes. Both parents are required to be present.

 

  • Does my child really have to come in to see you?
    Answer: Yes. Your child, even a newborn, must appear in person at our offices at the time you make the application. There are no exceptions or waivers possible for this requirement.

 

  • When is the deadline for me to report my child’s birth?
    Answer: A Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. citizen is only issued to a child who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and who is under the age of 18 at the time of the application. However, we encourage applicants to report their child’s birth as soon as possible.
    Please note, by law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.

 

  • Can I report my child’s birth while in the U.S?
    Answer: If your child was born abroad you will need to complete the Report of Birth process abroad; it can NOT be done in the U.S.
    If your child was born in El Salvador then the processing must be done in El Salvador. While you can file the documents at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, that office is required to send those documents to us in El Salvador for processing. This causes significant delays; it is best to complete this whole procedure while you are still in El Salvador.

 

  • I am a U.S. citizen born in El Salvador. How do I get a duplicate copy of my Birth Certificate (Consular Report of Birth)?
    Answer: If you are a U.S. citizen born overseas, the “Birth Certificate” that was issued to you is called a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad” or FS-240. If you would like a duplicate/additional copy of your Birth Report, please visit the Department of State website to find the information needed to submit your request. The U.S. Embassies/Consulates around the world do not keep records of your Report of Birth and cannot issue duplicate/additional copies.

 

  • Is my child a citizen?
    a) Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in Wedlock
    A child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided that one of the parents had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth. The child is considered to be born in wedlock for the purposes of citizenship acquisition when the genetic and/or gestational parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s birth and both parents are the legal parents of the child under local law at the time and place of birth.
  • b) Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock
    A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.) The U.S. citizen parent must be the genetic or the gestational parent and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.c) Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father – “New” Section 309(a)
    A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) of the INA, as made applicable by the “new” Section 309(a) of the INA provided
    1. A blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
    2. The father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person’s birth;
    3. The father was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth for five years, at least two of which were after reaching the age of 14.
    4. The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, and
    5. While the person is under the age of 18 years
    – the person is legitimated under the law of his/her residence or domicile,
    – the father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, or
    – the paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent
    Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father – “Old” Section 309(a) of the INA- A child born out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under the former Section 301(a)(7) of the INA as made applicable by the “old” Section 309(a) of the INA if the U.S. citizen father, prior to the child’s birth, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for ten years, five of which were after the age of 14, and if the paternity of the child had been established by legitimation prior to the child reaching the age of 21. The “old” Section 309(a) of the INA is applicable to individuals who were 18 on November 14, 1986 and to individuals whose paternity had been established by legitimation prior to that date. Individuals who were at least 15 on November 14, 1986, but under the age of 18, could opt to have their claim determined in accordance with the provisions of either the “old” or the “new” Section 309(a).d) Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother:
    A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 309(c) of the INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth. The U.S. citizen mother must be the genetic or the gestational mother and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.
  • How can I prove my residency?
    Answer: A combination of the following documents can be used to prove you meet the residency requirements to transmit citizenship to your child: current and old passports with entry/departure stamps, U.S. school transcripts showing periods of attendance, W-2 forms, pay stubs, utility bills, etc.
  • What should I bring?
    Answer: You will need an appointment, valid government-issued I.D. (preferably a valid passport), the document that needs to be notarized, and $50 U.S. for each notary seal that is performed.

 

  • Can you check my documents?
    Answer: No. The staff at the Embassy/Consulates cannot review or give you advice on your document.

 

  • I need a witness for my document(s). Can the Embassy/Consulate staff be a witness for me?
    Answer: No. You must provide your own witnesses or find someone in the waiting room willing to assist you.

 

  • Can I get a notary on behalf of someone else?
    Answer: No. The signer has to sign in front of the Embassy’s or Consulate’s officer in person.

 

  • I need an Apostille.
    Answer: The U.S. Embassy/Consulates do not issue Apostilles. Please contact the Office of Authentication.

 

  • How can I contact the Embassy/Consulate regarding a passport, notary and /or Report of Birth question that I can’t find on your website?
    You can contact us through our Email: ACSSANSAL@state.gov
  • How many photos must I submit with my passport application?
    Answer: You must submit one photo with your passport application.

 

  • Does my photo have to be in color?
    Answer: Yes, your photo must be in color. A black and white photo will not be accepted.

 

  • How recent must my photo be? How long ago should it have been taken?
    Answer: Your photo must have been taken within 6 months of submitting your application and reflect your current appearance.

 

  • What size must my photo be?
    Answer: The photo must be exactly 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).

 

  • What pose should I be in for my photo?
    Answer: You must directly face the camera.  Profile shots will not be accepted. Your expression should be neutral with both eyes open and directly facing the camera.

 

  • Can I wear glasses in the photo?
    Answer: No, you may not. Just take them off for your passport photo.
    If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement from your doctor with your passport application.

 

  • Can I wear a uniform in my photo?
    Answer: Uniforms, clothing that looks like a uniform, and camouflage attire cannot be worn in the photo except in the case of religious attire that is worn daily.

 

  • Is it acceptable for my child’s eyes to be closed in his/her photo?
    Answer: It is acceptable if an infant’s eyes, particularly a newborn’s, are not, or are not entirely, open.  All other children must have their eyes open and looking straight ahead towards the camera.
  • What are your hours of operation?
    Answer: The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit in the Consular Section is open every business day from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. with the exception of U.S. and Salvadoran holidays and the first Friday of each month as an Administrative Closure.  Holidays are also posted monthly at the Chancery entrance of the Embassy, located on Boulevard Santa Elena.

 

  • How can I apply for a Salvadoran Residency?
    Answer: American Citizen Services cannot assist with Salvadoran Residency. If you need information about how to apply for Salvadoran Residency, please contact the local authorities through:
    Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME)
    Address: 9ª Cl. Pte., Edificio Dirección General de Migración, Centro de Gobierno, San Salvador.
    Phone: +(503) 2213-7800+(503) 2213-7700
    E-mail: atencion.usuarios@seguridad.gob.sv
    Website: http://www.migracion.gob.sv/

 

  • How can I transmit Salvadoran Citizenship?
    Answer: American Citizen Services cannot assist with Salvadoran citizenship.
    If you are in the United States, you may contact the nearest Salvadoran Embassy or Consulate. For contact information, please visit the following link: http://embajadasyconsulados.rree.gob.sv/index.php?option=com_content&view=featured&Itemid=323-If you are in El Salvador, you may contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
    Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
    Address: Calle El Pedregal, Blvd. Cancillería, Ciudad Merliot, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad
    Tel.: (+503) 2231-1001
    Website: http://www.rree.gob.sv/

 

  • How can I get a Salvadoran Birth/Death/Marriage/Divorce Certificates?
    Answer: American Citizen Services cannot assist with obtaining Salvadoran birth/death/divorce/marriage certificates. In order to locate or procure a Salvadoran Vital Statistics record such as Birth/Death/ Marriage/ Divorce Certificate, you should contact the Civil Registry (Registro del Estado Familiar) at the Alcaldía (City Hall) of the town where the event took place (birth/death/marriage/divorce).  It can be difficult to locate the record without specific information; therefore, you may want to ask family members or friends about the details of such occurrence. Each Municipality works independently and El Salvador has no centralized database of civil records.
    Most of the offices of the Government of El Salvador, including Municipal governments, do not have a mailing service; for that reason, we strongly recommend that you hire the services of a local lawyer or use a relative / friend to help you with the process of obtaining the document.
    Also you may ask the Civil Registry about the fees involved in the process.  Be aware that Civil Registry personnel might not speak English.
    Unfortunately the United States Embassy cannot intervene or assist you or your organization in obtaining the documents you need.
    We are providing a list of Salvadoran lawyers who can assist you with your inquiry: https://sv.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/attorneys/
    These other links might also be of help:
    Embassy’s list of Salvadoran Translators on our website: https://sv.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/translators/
    We are also providing a link to the 262 counties in El Salvador, where you can find addresses and contact information: http://www.isdem.gob.sv/index.php?option=com_sobi2&Itemid=137

 

  • Can I have Salvadoran Birth/Death/Marriage/Divorce Certificates send through Mail?
    Answer: The municipality of San Salvador provides the service where you can order online the birth /death/marriage/divorce certificate and have it mailed it to you to U.S. : http://www.sansalvador.gob.sv/servicios/9-documentos-a-domicilio.html   *Note: The links contained herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of the U.S. Government or the U.S Department of State.

 

  • Can I get U.S. Birth/Death/Marriage/Divorce Certificates at the embassy?
    Answer: We regret to inform you that by law the Embassy doesn’t provide the service of obtaining U.S. Birth/Death/Marriage/Divorce Certificates since we only can provide Federal Services such as U.S. Passports, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Consular Report of Death Abroad, among others.
    To obtain a certificate of this kind we suggest contacting the Vital Statistics Office of the State where the event occur, for that purpose please visit the following website:   http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
    In addition to the above, in order for a birth/death/marriage/divorce certificate to be valid in El Salvador, it will also need to have the apostille of the state that have issued the document.*Note: The links contained herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of the U.S. Government or the U.S Department of State.

 

  • Can the U.S. Embassy help me to locate family in U.S.?
    Answer: Unfortunately we do not have the resources to conduct a search for a relative in the United States since all U.S. Citizens information are protected by the Privacy Act Law of 1974 (5 USC 552a).
    The provisions of the Privacy Act are designed to protect the privacy and rights of U.S. Citizens, but occasionally they complicate our efforts to assist citizens abroad. As a rule, consular officers may not reveal information regarding an individual, neither his location, welfare, intentions, or problems to anyone, including family members and Congressional representatives, without the expressed consent of that individual. Although sympathetic to the distress this can cause concerned families, consular officers must comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
    You may be able to locate your relative by doing an investigation through friends, family and social media.

 

 

 

 

  • What does STEP means?
    Answer: The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) allows you to record information about your current address or upcoming trip abroad, so that the Department of State can assist you in case of an emergency.  Please enroll at this website.