One of the primary functions of the Passport/Citizenship Unit is to provide information and guidance on citizenship questions.
Below are some of the most common questions we get concerning American citizenship and passports. If your question is not answered below or you need more information, please visit our American Citizen Services Navigator for more information or to contact us.
Please visit our Visa Navigator for questions about visas.
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 voting in a foreign election do not automatically jeopardize American citizenship.
How long is a passport valid for?
How soon should I renew my passport before it expires?
I let my passport expire. What should I do now?
My passport has already expired. I do not wish to apply for a new one. Can my passport be extended?
No. If your passport was issued with full validity (i.e. ten years for adults and five years for children), you must apply for a new passport. If your passport was issued for less than five or ten years and the last page of your passport states that it is extendable, please email TunisACS@state.gov.
Will I get my passport back when I renew it?
Yes. In most cases, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with the new one.
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?
No. Embassies no longer add pages to passports.
I travel frequently and my passport is always at some embassy to obtain a visa. Can I get a second passport?
I have visa stamps in my current passport. What happens to them when this passport is cancelled?
You should contact the appropriate foreign Embassy or Consulate for advice as to how to proceed.
My passport was issued in my maiden name; can I change it to my married name?
I was born in the United States while my parents were there temporarily as students. Do I have a claim to American citizenship?
Yes, almost anybody born in the United States is an American citizen regardless of the nationality or status of the parents. The only exceptions are children of foreign diplomats who have full diplomatic immunity. Anyone else can apply for an American passport by presenting an original birth certificate showing birth in the United States and adequate identity documents.
I am an American citizen. I recently had a child born in Tunisia. Does she have a claim to American citizenship?
Most likely. Whether an U.S. citizen can transmit citizenship to a child born overseas depends on several factors : whether both parents are American, whether the child is born in wedlock, when the child is born.
The most common case is a child born to married American and non-American parents. The U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States for five years prior to the birth of the child. In addition, two of those five years must be after reaching the age of fourteen. For children born before 1986, the U.S. citizen parent must have spent ten years in the United States, five of which after the age of fourteen. The five years must not necessarily be sequential.
If both parents are American, they need only show that one of them has resided in the United States (no time requirement).
An American citizen mother of a child born out of wedlock on or after December 24, 1952 and before June 12, 2017 must prove that she was physically present continuously for one year in the United States or its outlying possessions at any time prior to the child’s birth.
An American citizen mother of a child born out of wedlock on or after June 12, 2017 to a U.S. citizen mother and non-U.S. citizen father must prove five years of residence in the U.S., two of which are after the age of 14, prior to the child’s birth.
An American citizen father of a child born out of wedlock must prove five years of residence in the U.S., two of which are after the age of 14, and must have recognized the child and agreed to the child’s financial support.
My daughter has lived all her life in Tunisia and cannot transmit U.S. citizenship to her children. Is there any way they can become citizens through their grandparents?
Yes. When U.S. citizens cannot transmit citizenship to their children born overseas because they do not have the required physical presence in the United States, they have two options:
- They can apply for the expeditious naturalization of their children, if an American citizen grandparent has enough physical presence in the United States. This procedure must be initiated through the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The process can take up to 3 years and the child must go to the United States to be naturalized. The process must be completed before the child is eighteen.
- The U.S. citizen parent may file for an immigrant visa for the child. Under the Child Citizenship Act, once the child enters the U.S. on an immigrant visa, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. The child must be under 18 and in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent at the time of entry. Immigrant visas may be applied for through the Embassy in Tunis.
My son has dual Tunisian and U.S. citizenship. At what age must he choose the citizenship he wants to keep?
The laws governing the retention of citizenship have been greatly liberalized. 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.
If we don't plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should we renew our passports now?
- The passport is proof of U.S. citizenship. Every American abroad should have valid proof of their citizenship at all times.
- Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly. The last thing you need to do in an emergency is worry about getting your or your child’s passport renewed. It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
- A passport is required for many Tunisian administrative purposes and you do not want to get caught with an expired passport.
Can I pay for my DS-82 passport renewal application online?
Review the following checklist to determine your eligibility:
1. I can submit my most recent U.S. passport book with my renewal application. YES / NO
2. I was at least 16 years old when my most recent U.S. passport book was issued. YES / NO
3. I was issued my most recent U.S. passport book less than 15 years ago. YES / NO
4. My most recent U.S. passport book has a validity of 10 years from issuance to expiration. YES / NO
5. The U.S. passport book that I am renewing has not been mutilated, damaged, lost or stolen. YES / NO
6. I currently use the same name as appears on my most recent U.S. passport book, or I have had my name changed by marriage, divorce or court order and can submit proper certified documentation to reflect my name change with my renewal application. YES / NO
7. I currently reside in and/or have a valid mailing address in Tunisia or Libya. YES / NO
If you have answered NO to any of the statements above, you are not eligible to pay your passport renewal fee online. Please review the Passport Renewal page to find information on the available payment options for your passport renewal.
If you have answered YES to all items on the checklist, you are eligible to pay your passport fee online. Please follow this link to submit your payment. In the name fields, please use your current legal name, even if it is different from the name that appears on your prior passport. If you are submitting a payment on behalf of another passport renewal applicant, please enter their name. All fields are required.
Note: You can only use this form to pay for one passport application at a time. Fee payments for multiple renewal applications must be submitted separately.
Can someone else drop off my DS-82 passport renewal form?
If your DS-82 renewal is eligible to be paid online, then you may authorize someone else to drop off your DS-82 passport renewal application at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on your behalf.
Please remember to include a complete application package: your DS-82 signed, your online payment receipt, a copy of your current passport, and any other required documentation with the person dropping off your application.
If you are NOT eligible for online payment, you are not currently eligible to authorize someone else to drop off your application on your behalf at the Embassy.
Note: Drop-off hours are Monday-Thursday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. weekly, except when the Embassy is officially closed.