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Transcript: Facebook Chat on U.S. Citizen Services on March 24, 2023
March 24, 2023

Consular Section Chief Rob Ehrmann answering questions during a Facebook chat.Thanks for joining us for the live Q&A!

Consular Section Chief Rob Ehrmann answered questions from U.S. citizens residing in Finland via a Facebook chat on Friday, March 24, 2023.  Below is the transcript of the chat.

Rob Ehrmann has led the U.S. Embassy Helsinki Consular section since October 2022. A career Foreign Service Officer, he has worked for the State Department in Mexico, Qatar, Egypt, and the United States.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Rob received a BA from George Washington University in International Affairs and an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago.  He is married with two children and enjoys cycling, travelling, and learning obscure grammar rules.  Rob has studied Arabic, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Ukrainian, and uses these language skills often in his Consular work.

Q: Can you renew your passport by mail?  What are the delays?  Thanks.

A: Great Question!  Visit our website to review if you qualify for a DS-82 which can be mailed in with photo, current passport, and printed receipt from our online payment portal OR if you a required to attend an in-person appointment (scheduled yourself using our website) with a current passport, photo, birth certificate, and $165. Passports: Passport Services – U.S. Embassy in Finland – Use our new wizard! https://fi.usembassy.gov/passports/

This program was just expanded to allow for offsite payment from Finland, so we’re very excited to offer the DS-82 renewal by mail services.  You do not need to come into the U.S. Embassy if you qualify!

Travel tip: Check the expiration date on your passport when planning your next international trip.  Many countries require that your U.S. passport have at least six months of validity left from the date of your planned departure from your travel destination.  You can find out which countries have that requirement and more information on entry and exit requirements by visiting our country-specific travel pages at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

@TravelGov is run by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.  Our highest priority is to protect the lives and interests of U.S. citizens overseas.  We serve our fellow citizens overseas during important life moments including births, deaths, disasters, arrests, and medical emergencies.

Q: When I received my renewed passport with a married name change, my middle name was omitted from the book for some reason.  Was this an error?  Would that error cause any problems for me?  My U.S. driver’s license and social security card have the middle name on them.

A: Thanks for the great question.  Generally, we will process a passport with the same name as a previous passport, but we do recommend that all ID documents are consistent.  If you think that we have made an error in processing your passport,  please contact us at HelsinkiACS@state.gov.  For a name change (different from the prior passport), we can process a new passport application and you can use our passport wizard here to determine the correct form: https://fi.usembassy.gov/passports/

Q: I have to renew my child’s American passport.  What are the requirements to get a new passport?

A: Please see our requirements for passports for minor children: DS-11, their previous passport, one passport photo, Birth Certificate/CRBA, both parents present, and $135.  These requirements are also outlined here: https://fi.usembassy.gov/passports/

Q:  I need my American TIN number and have not been able to find it.  Can you help me locate my TIN?

A: The TIN for U.S. citizens is their Social Security number.  If you do not have a Social Security number or need to apply for a new card, then you are required to reach out to the Oslo Federal Benefits Unit’s website “Social Security Numbers – U.S. Embassy in Norway” on how to apply for the social security number. https://no.usembassy.gov/services/social-security-numbers/

Q: What can I bring with me to the Embassy?  If I need to work while I am waiting, are laptops allowed?

A: There will be a security check before you are allowed to enter the embassy compound area and to the consulate waiting room.  To ensure that everything goes smoothly during the security check, do not bring big handbags or packages with you. Also, you will not be allowed to bring electronic or photographic equipment with you to our waiting room or on other areas of the embassy premises. https://fi.usembassy.gov/tips-for-visiting/

Please only bring your application with you.  Cell phones will be held at security, but visitors who arrive with laptops or backpacks will be denied entry.

Tip: Did you know that U.S. citizens overseas can call the closest embassy or consulate in an emergency, such as an arrest, death in the family or lost passport? Find the contact info on the U.S. Citizen Services page of the U.S. Embassy website for the country you are in. https://www.usembassy.gov/

Q: How do I receive alerts from the U.S. Embassy when there are emergencies that may affect U.S. citizens?

A: The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Here in Helsinki, we encourage all U.S. citizens to enroll, whether they’re resident in Finland or just visiting. https://step.state.gov/

Q: Thanks for this opportunity to ask questions.  I have a query regarding TIN/SSN numbers.  If I am unaware what this/these are, how do I go about finding out? Thank you in advance!

A: The TIN (Tax Identification Number) for U.S. citizens is their Social Security number.  If you do not have a Social Security number or need to apply for a new card, then you are required to reach out to the Oslo Federal Benefits Unit’s website “Social Security Numbers – U.S. Embassy in Norway” on how to apply for the social security number. https://no.usembassy.gov/services/social-security-numbers/

Q:  If my parent is a citizen of United States and I am a Finnish citizen, can I apply for U.S. citizenship?

A: The transmission requirements for birth of a U.S. citizen overseas are complicated and there are many factors that will determine your eligibility.  More information about the process can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/us-citizenship/Acquisition-US-Citizenship-Child-Born-Abroad.html

More information about the process of documenting a child born with a U.S. citizen parent can be found here: https://fi.usembassy.gov/consular-report-of-birth-abroad-crba/


Thank you all for joining us today for the live chat!

More information on U.S. Citizen Services in Finland is available on our website at https://fi.usembassy.gov/services/.

If you have more specific questions, please contact us through our U.S. Citizens Services Navigator (Google Forms).

We look forward to chatting with you again soon – we’ll be back next month on April 28 to answer your questions about student visas!