All About Passports and Traveling

  • Published
  • By 786th Force Support Squadron Ramstein Passport Facility
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

During the holiday season, the Ramstein Passport Facility is seeing an increase in expedited or emergency passport requests due to expired or lost passports.  This can be a stressful and frustrating experience especially when you have plans to get back home for the holidays or visit foreign countries for tourism.  We’ve prepared some simple rules and guidance to help minimize your stress level when traveling, not only during the holidays.  Please see below and attached guidance.   


Rule #1:  Do not make any travel plans or book a flight without first checking the validity of your passport.  The same rule applies while awaiting issuance or renewal of your passport.  Anything can happen and we advise that you wait until you actually hold your passport in your hands before making travel plans. 


Rule #2:  Research entry, passport and visa requirements when traveling to foreign countries.  The Foreign Clearance Guide not only provides entry requirements for official travel, but also for leisure travel.  Plan ahead!  Visa processing times may vary, and you can’t rush a foreign government to expedite your visa.  You may also go to Traveler's Checklist ( to find out more about international travel and specific country requirements. 


Rule #3:  No-fee passports are not authorized for leisure travel; they are only authorized for official travel and/or travel between the U.S. and your sponsor’s country of assignment (i.e. Germany).  You will need to apply for a tourist passport if you plan to visit other foreign countries.  Incidental travel on a no-fee passport is authorized as long as the country being visited accepts the no-fee passport for entry.                  


When to Renew your Passport:  We recommend renewing your tourist passport at least 6 months prior to the expiration date.  However, depending on the country you plan to visit, you may need to renew it 9 to 12 months prior to the expiration date.  A 6-month passport validity rule is a common entry requirement for many countries and may start from the date of entry, the date of departure, or the date of visa expiration, depending on the country.  This rule is meant to ensure that travelers have a valid passport for the duration of their trip and to avoid immigration issues. 


Expedited Passport Services:  There are no expedited services of tourist passports available in the overseas area, although overseas processing normally takes less time than it does when applying for routine processing in the United States.  Current routine processing times for a tourist passport are 6 to 8 weeks. 


Emergency Passport Services:  All emergency passport services provided by the Consulate must be coordinated through your servicing military passport facility.  You must provide proof of the emergency (Red Cross message etc.).  The military passport facility will then coordinate with the Consular Officer to obtain approval of emergency processing of your application.  Your application will either be hand-carried to the Consulate during our weekly courier trip, or we will obtain a control number for you to visit the Consulate yourself.  DoD ID card holders can only visit the Consulate for service if we provide a control number and appointment date/time to them.  If not sure, please contact our office to determine if you qualify for an emergency passport.  


U.S. Consular Services for DoD ID Card Holders Assigned to Germany:  Please be advised that the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates in Germany are not authorized to accept applications for passports or consular reports of birth abroad (CRBA) from USEUCOM personnel and their dependents per DoDM 1000.21 and USAFEI 36-3101.  All DoD ID card holders will be turned away at the Consulate because they must visit their servicing military passport facility for service.  Military passport facilities located in Germany are processing DoD ID card holders’ passport applications through the National Passport Center in the US and do not typically utilize Consular passport services unless it’s an emergency or to process a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.  Please understand that the Consulates are not staffed to handle the increased workload associated with processing tourist passport applications for DoD-affiliated personnel assigned to Germany.  Their primary customers are U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Germany under German immigration rules and laws.  


Please go to Appointment Plus to schedule an appointment with the Ramstein Passport Facility if you need to apply for a tourist or no-fee passport.  Appointments for tourist passports are available every Tuesday and Thursday and appointments for no-fee passports are available every Monday and Friday.  You may also come in as a walk-in between 0800-1100 hours and 1300-1500 hours on those days.


If you have any questions, please contact the Ramstein Passport Facility at or call DSN 314-480-2240.