USCIS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Frankfurt Field Office is responsible for providing services and conducting liaison activities in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

A lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States is required to present a valid Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, if seeking readmission to the U.S. after a temporary absence of less than one year.

Change to Procedures for Obtaining a Boarding/Transportation Letter
Effective October 1st, 2016, USCIS will begin using Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document. In addition to the new form, a fee of $575.00 will also be required.

How to apply for a transportation letter

Carefully review our infosheet on how to obtain a transportation letter and the documents you require.

Important note: You must make an appointment to visit our office in Frankfurt and file the request in person. Appointments can be made online at https://my.uscis.gov/appointment. The office is closed on weekends and American and German holidays.

What if I remained outside of the U.S. for more than a year?

USCIS cannot issue a transportation letter to you if you have been outside the U.S. for more than 364 days without a Reentry Permit – Form I-131 (which permits you to stay outside the U.S. for up to 2 years).  You will need to either begin the process again by filing a new I-130 or you may inquire about a returning resident visa the Department of State Immigrant Visa Unit.  If you wish to return to the United States temporarily, see the Department of State’s NonImmigrant Visa information page or ESTA for the Visa Free Travel.

I am a Legal permanent resident and had a baby while outside the United States. How do I bring my child to the U.S.?

You must make an appointment to visit our office in Frankfurt. You and your baby must appear in person to obtain the transportation letter.

Carefully review our infosheet on how to obtain a transportation letter.

 What should I bring to the appointment?

  • The baby’s passport
  • The baby’s birth certificate
  • Your passport
  • Your I-551 Permanent Resident Card
  • Your unexpired Reentry Permit (if applicable)
  • Flight ticket /electronic itinerary which shows your last departure from the U.S., and upcoming return travel to the United States for you and your baby.
  • One passport photo of the baby

Is there a fee and when do I get the transportation letter?

There is no fee for the transportation letter.  In most cases baby transportation letters are issued on the same day.

What if I remained outside of the U.S. for more than a year?

If you have been continuously outside of the U.S. for a period of one year and are not in possession of a Reentry Permit – Form I-131, which permits you to stay outside the U.S. for up to 2 years, USCIS cannot issue a baby transportation letter.

What if my Permanent Resident Card or Conditional Residential Card has Expired?

Most Permanent Resident Cards, commonly known as Green Cards (Form I-551), currently in circulation, have an expiration date and are required to be renewed every ten years.  This enables the Department of Homeland Security to improve the quality of the card and make it less susceptible to fraud.

  • Can I travel with a Green Card that has expired?
    Please check with CBP for information on travelling with an expired Permanent Resident Card or expired Conditional Residential Card.
  • How do I renew my permanent resident card?
    Once you return to the United States, you must renew your expiring/expired Permanent Resident Card by filing USCIS Form I-90, in order to maintain acceptable evidence of your permanent resident status.  This form must be filed in the United States and you will be instructed to attend a biometrics appointment at an Application Support Center in the United States.
  • What if I have stayed outside of the United States for more than one year?
    Please note that if you have been outside the U.S. for more than 364 days without a Reentry Permit – Form I-131, which permits you to stay outside the U.S. for 2 years, your permanent resident status is considered abandoned.  You may apply for a returning resident visa. Information regarding that process is available from the Department of State at https://de.usembassy.gov/visas/lawful-permanent-resident/.

Exception for Military and U.S. Government Employees

The one-year time limitation does not apply to the spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or of a civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad pursuant to official orders. In this case, the spouse or child must present the permanent resident card mentioned above, not have relinquished residence, and be preceding or accompanying the member or employee, or be following to join the member or employee in the United States within four months of the return of the member or employee. In order to facilitate boarding, Customs and Border Protection recommends the issuance of a Transportation Letter.  Information on Transportation Letters is available at USCIS Frankfurt.

This page contains instructions for filing an I-130 with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services office in Frankfurt.

I-130 Petition For Alien Relative

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt accepts I-130 petitions by mail from U.S. citizens who reside in Germany. U.S. citizens whose principal residence is not in Germany, and/or are abroad temporarily as a visitor or on business, must file the petition in the United States.

If you are not eligible to file in Frankfurt, you should file the petition with the Chicago Lockbox. Lawful Permanent Residents must file the petition in the United States.

Evidence Of Residence

We require evidence of petitioner’s residence in Germany, such as a photocopy of a Certificate of Residence, a Foreigners’ Permit to Stay, or a copy of the petitioner’s orders if he/she is a member of the U.S. military stationed in Germany.

Checklists For Form I-130

Please read the instruction pages attached to the petition carefully and complete all appropriate sections of the form.
You may download and use the following checklists for filing your I-130.

I-130 Petition Checklist for Members of the Armed Forces (pdf)
• I-130 Petition Checklist

 I-130 Petition
• I-130A Petition Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary

Supporting Documentation

Do not submit original documents. Only attach legible photocopies of required supporting documentation.

Processing Times

The processing time for an I-130 petition is 90 days. If it has been more than 90 days, you may send an email to USCIS.Frankfurt@uscis.dhs.gov. We ask that you please refrain from contacting this office for status checks while your application is within the 90 day processing time. Your cooperation will help us ensure that we maintain our processing times.

Filing The Application

If you wish to abandon your permanent residence and relinquish your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), please complete the Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. You can relinquish your Permanent Resident Card by mail.  Please provide a stamped, self- addressed envelope and send us the I-407 and your Permanent Resident Card to the following address:

USCIS
Giessener Strasse 30
60435 Frankfurt

Form I-407Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident status (pdf)

Note: Item 6(a) must state your reasons in detail as to why you are abandoning your LPR status.

A copy of the processed form will be returned to you by mail within one to two weeks. Should you need it urgently, please make an InfoPass appointment.  This copy of the completed I-407 is your receipt. You should travel with a copy of the completed I-407 whenever you go to the United States.

Once the I-407 is completed, you will revert to your previous status as a non-resident of the U.S. In order to visit the U.S., you will need to comply with visa requirements for nationals of your country of citizenship. Citizens of certain countries are eligible to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). Citizens of other countries or those going for purposes other than tourism or business will require nonimmigrant visas.

Abandoning your Permanent Resident Card and status does not affect your ability to apply to immigrate to the United States at some future time. However, you will have to begin the process anew and apply through the usual application process.

The abandonment of lawful permanent resident status is irrevocable. An individual who relinquishes lawful permanent resident status must qualify again for such status. Therefore, one should give careful thought before abandoning lawful permanent resident status.

The application for issuance of a Reentry Permit, Form I-131, must be filed while the respective applicant is physically in the United States and must be submitted prior to departure from the United States. Form I-131, with supporting documentation and fee, must be mailed to the following address:

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87131
Lincoln, NE 68501-7131

Note: Generally, an applicant for a travel document must also complete biometrics capture at an Application Support Center (ASC) prior to departure from the United States. Failure to do so may cause the applicant to lose permission to reenter the country and lead to the denial of any other applications pending.

After filing an application for a Reentry Permit in the US, you may have it mailed to a USCIS Office overseas or the Consular Section at a US Embassy or Consulate. If you are notified that your Reentry Permit is available at the USCIS Frankfurt District Office, please make an InfoPass appointment to pick it up.

Reentry Permits are valid for two years from issuance and cannot be extended or revalidated. Permanent Resident Cards cannot be extended or reissued outside the United States. Failure to return to the United Stateswithin the validity of either of these residency documents may jeopardize permanent residence status.

Instructions on how to obtain or replace a Reentry Permit are found under Emergency Travel.

What if I have been outside the United States for longer than 12 months?

Persons who have remained outside the United States for more than one year without a valid Reentry Permit, or beyond the validity of a Reentry Permit, may be eligible to apply for returning resident status with the Department of State Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Consulate here in Frankfurt.  If you do not qualify for a returning resident visa you must re-immigrate.

The USCIS Frankfurt District Office takes fingerprints for persons who are:

  • Applicants for Expedited Naturalization residing overseas who qualify under Section 319(b) INA.
  • Prospective adoptive parents who are filing Form I-600 or I-600A .
  • Note: Active duty members of the military or their spouses who are applicants for Naturalization need to contact their Base POC to be fingerprinted.

To make an appointment to have your fingerprints taken at the USCIS Frankfurt Office, schedule an InfoPass appointment.

In addition to the naturalization process, the United States recognizes the U.S. citizenship of individuals according to two fundamental principles: jus soli, or right of birthplace, and jus sanguinis, or right of blood.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship at birth to almost all individuals born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, according to the principle of jus soli. Certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship under jus soli.

Certain individuals born outside of the United States are born citizens because of their parents, according to the principle of jus sanguinis, which holds that the country of citizenship of a child is the same as that of his/her parents. The U.S. Congress is responsible for enacting laws that determine how citizenship is conveyed by a U.S. citizen parent or parents according to the principle of jus sanguinis. These laws are contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Naturalization Of Children Who Regularly Reside Outside The United States (Form N-600K)

Certain children who regularly reside outside the US may be eligible for citizenship under Section 322 of the INA. Form N-600K may be filed by:

  • A US citizen parent seeking citizenship on behalf of a minor adopted or biological child under section 322 of the INA (providing for citizenship through an application process for biological and adopted children who regularly reside outside of the US and meet certain conditions while under age 18), or
  • If a US citizen parent of a child who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of INA 322 has died, a US citizen grandparent or a US legal guardian can file the application at any time within five years of the US citizen parent’s death.
  • If the child’s citizen parent has not lived in the United States for at least 5 years, 2 of which were after that parent’s 14th birthday, the citizen parent currently has a parent (child’s grandparent) who:
  •  Is also a US citizen, and
  •  Lived in the United States for 5 years, at least 2 of which were after the citizen grandparent’s 14th birthday, and
  •  May be living or deceased at the time of the adjudication of the application and the taking of the Oath.

There are further requirements for eligibility; see the N-600K Form for more information.

Form N-600K must be filed with one of the USCIS offices in the United States.

For more information, please see the USCIS website page on “Citizenship of Children“.

In addition, the U.S. Department of State’s web pages on “Citizenship and Nationality” provides guidance on some citizenship issues including information on dual nationality, documentary evidence required to establish a citizenship claim, and renunciation of U.S. citizenship.

U.S. citizens contemplating an international adoption should become familiar with the information provided on our website at www.uscis.gov. Information is also available on the Department of State website on International Adoptions.

If you are adopting from a Hague country, then you will have to file form I-800 or I-800A with USCIS in the United States.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Embassy in Frankfurt accepts I-600A petitions by mail or at InfoPass appointments from U.S. citizens who reside in our jurisdiction. Our jurisdiction includes Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Belgium.

 I-600 petitions are normally filed at Consular Posts where the respective child resides. In certain situations, the petition will be filed in another office. Please contact USCIS, the Immigrant Visa issuing post, or the adoption agency for more information.

Forms

Form I-600A
Form I-600

Supporting Documentation To Submit With Your Petition

Very Important – Do not send original documents with the petition! Photocopies are acceptable.

  • Official Translations: Any supporting documentation that you provide that is in a language other than English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translation must be completed by an independent party. The party providing the translation must note that his/her work is accurate and that he/she is competent to translate. The full name of the translator, address and contact information is also required.

  • Proof of United States Citizenship: Photocopies of your biographical page from your and your spouse’s (if married) U.S. passports are sufficient. You may also provide your and your spouse’s (if married) state issued birth certificate or naturalization certificate. A hospital birth certificate or military ID card is not acceptable.

  • Marriage Certificate: Provide a marriage certificate issued by a public authority to show that a public record exists of the marriage between you and your spouse (if applicable).

  • Evidence of Termination of All Prior Marriage(s): Provide a death certificate, record of annulment, or divorce decree (absolute or final) issued by a public authority to show that a public record exists of the death or of the termination of all prior marriage(s) for both you and your spouse.

  • Record of Name Change: If either you or your spouse is using a name other than that shown on the relevant documents, you must provide legal documentation that effected the change; e.g., marriage certificate, adoption decree, court order or Deed Poll.

  • Fingerprint Cards (FD-258): Two (2) fingerprint cards ARE required of all adults (age 18 or over) residing in the household. Please make an appointment through InfoPass. If you are in the U.S. military, you may have your fingerprints taken by an authorized U.S. military authority. See also the section on fingerprinting on the website.

  • Home Study: The Home Study should be submitted with the petition, However, if the Home Study is not submitted when the I-600A is filed, it must be submitted within one year of the filing of the advanced processing petition, or the petition will be denied.

  • Some specific requirements on the Home Study:

  • Copies: Only one copy of the Home Study is required.

  • Age of Home Study: The Home Study, or the most recent update to the Home Study, must not be more than six months old at the time the Home Study is submitted.

  • Checking Available Child Abuse Registries: These checks must come from both the United States and the parents’ country of residence as appropriate, as most prospective adoptive parents have lived in both countries.

  • Home Study Preparer’s Certification and Statement of Authority to conduct home studies: The Home Study must include a statement in which the home study preparer certifies that he or she is licensed or otherwise authorized by the state of the orphan’s proposed residence to research and prepare home studies.

  • Review of the Home Study: If prospective parents reside abroad, an appropriate public or private adoption agency licensed, or otherwise authorized, by any State in the United States to place children for adoption, must review and favorably recommend the home study before it is submitted to the service. The United States adoption agency must also provide a copy of their license.

Applications for Refugee Travel Documents may be filed at the Rome District Office by mail or in person at an InfoPass appointment if the applicant:

  • Was admitted to the US as a refugee or asylee,
  • Departed the US without having applied for a Refugee Travel Document, and
  • Has not yet been outside the US for more than one year

In order to approve a Refugee Travel Document application, there must be sufficient time to process and deliver the document so that the applicant can travel back to the United States before the one-year deadline.  In urgent or compelling circumstances, or when there is insufficient time to process and issue the document, USCIS may request that the Field Office or US Embassy/Consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence issue a Boarding/Transportation Letter in lieu of a Refugee Travel Document.

Filing An Application For Refugee Travel Documents

Please read the instruction pages attached to the petition carefully and complete all appropriate sections of the form.
You may download and use the following instructions to assist with the filing of your I-131:

Filing Fee

Fee amounts for applications and petitions are listed on our Forms, Fees and Filing Locations Chart. The fees for all applications and petitions submitted to this office must be paid:

  • In cash with either U.S. dollars or Euro only if the application is filed in person at the U.S. Embassy in Rome; or
  • By a cashier’s check, money order, or international bank draft, made payable in U.S. Dollars to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, issued by any bank with a U.S. affiliation or by a U.S. military Post Office facility
  • Personal checks are not accepted

Asylum

The United States does not grant asylum in its diplomatic premises abroad. Under U.S. law, the United States grants asylum only to aliens who are physically present in the United States.

U.S. Refugee Program

To be eligible for consideration under the U.S. Refugee program, an applicant must meet the definition of a refugee: a person outside the United States who has been persecuted or has a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In addition, he or she must be able to establish that he or she is not already firmly resettled in a foreign country and must fall within certain refugee processing priorities.

Refugee Processing

The Frankfurt Office does not accept refugee resettlement applications directly. Additional Information: For more information please see the “Asylum” and “Refugees” webpages on the USCIS website.