Ten years might seem like a long time, but times flies when you’re also flying and have the visas and stamps, to prove it. It’s a sad moment surrendering all of those memories to the US government, but luckily renewing your US passport in Spain is a pretty painless process. What will hurt the most is the hefty fee (105€ at the time of writing) and staying grounded while your new passport arrives.
Step One: Make an appointment at your nearest American embassy or consulate
Simply send an email or call to make an appointment. Consulates are located in the consular section of the US Embassy in Madrid, Fuengirola (Málaga), Seville, Valencia, Barcelona, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) and Palma de Mallorca. Unfortunately, the La Coruña consulate closed in 2013.
Step Two: Gather all necessary documentation
For a simple renewal of an adult passport, you will need:
- Form DS-82, filled out, signed and dated, plus a photocopy for your records
- One recent 2×2 photo on a white background
- Current US passport, plus a photocopy of the first page
- 105€ in exact change
- 5€ worth of stamps for mainland Spain (available in 1 euro denominations) if you choose to have your passport returned to you by mail rather than returning in person. Those choosing to receive their new passport by mail will also need a carta certificada form, filled out with return address information. You can pick up this form at your nearest Correos post office.
Step Three: Attend your appointment
Your appointment should be short, calculate 10 minutes or so. We’d also suggest taking a valid US driver’s license and a photocopy for proof of identity (it couldn’t hurt!).
Most passports are returned within four to six weeks, after which the consular agent will call you for pick up. While there is no need to make an appointment when your passport is ready, you should check the consulate’s opening hours.
Tips for Filling Out form DS-82
Your DS-82 must be filled out in black ink and in capital block letters, making use of the small boxes provided. Remember to sign and date the first page, or else your application will be considered incomplete.
Staple your photo in the space provided, following the instructions given.
You only need to fill out pages 1, 5 and 6. The other pages contain information about filing and receiving your new passport.
Tips for Photos
Get ready for your mug shot – and we say mug shot because the US Department of the Interior no longer allows you to smile in passport pictures (a natural smile is alright, but no pearly whites). If you typically wear glasses, leave those on for the picture, as well. Caps may not be worn.
As you may already be aware, Spanish carné photos are much smaller than the standard American passport size. If you’re having pictures done in Spain, be sure to ask a local photography studio for a 5cm by 5cm photo, which should run you around 1.50€.
The photo must have been taken within the last six months.
In case you were wondering – selfies are not allowed, though the State Department will allow you to scan, crop and print a photo using their online tool, so long as it meets all requirements.
I’m currently traveling in Spain, though I’m not a legal resident. Can I still get a passport renewal done?
You cannot renew your passport but you are eligible for a replacement emergency passport, which can be petitioned for at the Madrid and Barcelona consulates (or Lisbon) during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
I can’t wait four to six weeks. What can I do?
Call and speak to your consular agent, explaining your situation. He or she may ask for an affidavit to prove that you cannot surrender your passport at the time of renewal.
Can I pay in US Dollars?
Yes, you most certainly can pay in USD. At the time of publishing, the fee was $110.
I also have to renew my Spanish residency card. Does my US passport need to be valid when I do so?
In order to begin a TIE renewal, your passport will have to have at least six months left of validity. This may mean you must renew your passport first, and then your TIE card.
I’ve had my passport stolen or it’s lost. Do I have any additional forms to fill out?
I’ve gotten married and or/changed my name. What other documents should I present?
If you’ve changed your name, you must send an ORIGINAL document, such as a marriage certificate, along with your application. The original document will be returned to you along with your passport via certified mail.
Should I request a 28-paged standard passport or a 52-paged non-standard book?
We always say the bigger the better – if you’re living abroad chances are you travel more frequently than the folks at home!
If you have further questions regarding your passport renewal, call or email your nearest US consulate.