Claiming U.S. citizenship and applying for your first U.S. passport (aged 18 or over)

If you are 18 or over and you were born outside the United States, you may have a claim to U.S. citizenship if one or both of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth.

How to claim U.S. citizenship and apply for your first U.S. passport:

Click here to visit the Department of State’s website to find out if you may qualify for U.S. citizenship.

A U.S. official can only determine citizenship as part of a formal application. We are unable to pre-assess applications or advise on the likelihood of issuance before that process. If you think you may have a claim, we encourage you to apply.

Click here to complete Form DS-11 online. After you have answered the questions, Form DS-11 will generate as a PDF file. You must print the form because it will not be submitted to us electronically. Do not sign the form until you are asked to sign it during your appointment.

Visit travel.state.gov for U.S. passport photograph requirements, including instructions, image size, and examples.

PPT photo
Smart Photo Tool
Passport Photo Requirements
Passport Photo Examples
Photo Composition Template
Photographer’s Guide
Kids Brochure (PDF 256KB)

 

If your U.S. citizen parent is deceased, please assemble as many of the documents listed below as you can, together with your parent’s death certificate. The consular officer will advise you during your appointment if additional evidence is required.

1) Affidavit of parentage

Click here to download and print the Affidavit of Parentage (PDF, 4 pages, 518KB).

  • If your U.S. citizen parent is in the Switzerland or Liechtenstein, they should accompany you to your appointment at the Consular Section to sign the affidavit under oath.
  • If your U.S. citizen parent is in the United States, the affidavit can be signed before a notary public. Your parent should send the affidavit to you together with a notarized copy of the ID your parent showed to the notary.
  • If your U.S. citizen parent is in another country, they can sign the affidavit under oath at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
2) Physical presence

Physical presence is the actual time your U.S. citizen parent was physically within the borders of the United States before your birth. Please double-check the transmission requirements on the Department of State’s website to see what evidence you need to provide and over what period of time.

Examples of physical presence may include:

  • Education records or transcripts
  • Employment records
  • Expired passports with evidence of travel to the United States

Other proof may be accepted depending on the circumstances of your case. Please bring as much documentation as you have. You can discuss this with the consular officer during your appointment

3) Evidence of parentage

Credible and substantial evidence of the blood relationship between yourself and your U.S. parent(s) is required in the form of a birth certificate.

4) Evidence of your parent(s) U.S. citizenship when you were born

Such as a U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization

5) Evidence of your parents’ marriage (if applicable)

If your parents are or were married to each other at the time of your birth, their civil/legal marriage certificate will be required. If your parents are no longer married, we will also require evidence of the termination of the marriage, such as a divorce certificate or death certificate.

6) Evidence of your parents’ change of names (if applicable)

If your parents have ever changed their names since your birth, provide the relevant documentation (such as marriage certificate, divorce certificate, or name change document).

  • Form DS-11
  • Your U.S. passport photograph
  • Evidence from your U.S. citizen parent
  • Self-addressed, prepaid C5 Size return envelope with a Swiss mailing address and the correct Swiss postage.
    • CHF 3.40 Swiss Franc stamps
  • Your birth certificate
  • Valid government issued photo ID such as a U.S. or foreign passport, driver’s license, residency permit or military identification.
  • Foreign passport(s) that you have held or been included in (valid and expired).
  • Evidence of name change (if applicable). If you have changed your name since your proof of U.S. citizenship was issued, provide the relevant documentation (such as marriage certificate, divorce certificate, or name change document).

Additional documentation may be requested depending on the circumstances of the case. You will be advised during your appointment if additional evidence is required.

Certificates must either be the originals or certified copies provided by the certificate issuing authority. Your original documents will be returned to you during the appointment.

If any documents are not in English, you must bring a translation supplied by an official translator as well as the original document in the original language.

 

* Please Note:
Swiss Stamps need to be purchased at the Swiss Post Office. The Consular Section cannot provide you with stamps or accept payment for delivery.

Our office is permitted to mail issued passports to France and Germany. However, we require a self-addressed prepaid return envelope with 18.30 Swiss Franc stamps. Additionally you may be charged a customs fee upon delivery from your postal service provider.

Prepaid Registered mail is not accepted.

U.S. Embassy Bern
American Citizens Services (ACS)

Online Appointment System

Contact Form


Consular Agency –  Zurich

Appointment Request Form


Consular Agency –  Geneva

Appointment Request Form


  Frequently Asked Questions


Security Notice

As fees and exchange rates are subject to change, the exact amount in your case will be confirmed during your appointment.

$165 for the passport application. You will need to pay the necessary fee during the appointment.

Payment option at the U.S. Embassy in Bern:

Payment Options:

 

Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards we can accept: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and prepaid credit cards and “Logoed” debit cards, i.e. debit cards displaying the Visa or MasterCard logo
  • In-person only (credit card holder must be present)
  • Charged in U.S. dollars
  • Exchange rates vary and fees may apply; please check with your credit service provider
  • Debit cards not accepted

We cannot accept contactless payment of any kind.

Cash: Local Currency (CHF)
  • In-person only (No Cash in the Mail)
  • Swiss Francs (CHF)
  • Our current cash exchange rate is 1 USD:1 CHF
Cash: U.S. Dollars ($)
  • In-person only (No Cash in the Mail)
  • U.S. dollar bills issued after 2006 only
Checks
  • No checks of any kind

 

Please note: We cannot perform any requested service until the correct fee for the full amount is paid.
Thank you for your understanding.

Processing time:

 

Please note: There is no expedited service outside the United States.

Processing time is approximately 14-21 business days 

Please note: Processing times for all services are approximate.  Times quoted should be used only as a guide.

Payment option at the Consular Agency Zurich and Geneva:

Payment Options:

 

Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards we can accept: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and prepaid credit cards and “Logoed” debit cards, i.e. debit cards displaying the Visa or MasterCard logo
  • In-person only (credit card holder must be present)
  • Charged in U.S. dollars
  • Exchange rates vary and fees may apply; please check with your credit service provider
  • Debit cards not accepted

We cannot accept contactless payment of any kind.

Checks
  • No checks of any kind
Cash
  • No cash of any currency

 

Please note: We cannot perform any requested service until the correct fee for the full amount is paid.
Thank you for your understanding.

Processing time:

 

Please note: There is no expedited service outside the United States.

Processing time is approximately 3-4 Weeks

Please note: Processing times for all services are approximate.  Times quoted should be used only as a guide.

The average timeframe is approximately two weeks. This estimate is for guidance only.