Military Families

Consular Services for U.S. Military Personnel and Dependents

The U.S. Mission in Japan is pleased and honored to be able to serve our military colleagues and their families. We work closely with personnel offices on base to provide you the services and information you need.

Tips:

  • Before coming to the Embassy/Consulate, please first contact your base legal, personnel or family support offices. Many of the services we offer can be completed, or at least started, on base.
  • If you do need to come in person, please schedule an appointment on the Embassy’s website. The Embassy/Consulate is closed on both U.S. and Japanese holidays.
  • If you have upcoming travel, please apply far enough ahead to be sure you won’t be delayed.
  • New Passports: Allow at least three weeks for issuance of a new tourist passport.
  • Consular Reports of Birth Abroad: Allow at least four weeks for issuance of the Report of Birth Abroad.
  • Renewing Passports: Check your current passport’s expiration date. Make a note on your calendar to apply for a new one at least six months before it expires.
  • Immigrant Visas: File an immigrant visa petition for your non-American family members at least six months before your PCS.
  • Remember: It is your responsibility to ensure that you and your family members have the proper documentation before your trip. We can help in bona fide emergencies, but simply forgetting to apply in time puts your travel plans at risk. Some processes, such as immigrant visas, need months to be completed.

Quick Links:

Appointments:

All services require appointments. No services will be given to those without an appointment. We are closed on Japanese and American holidays.

Passport Agents on Base:

Department of Defense-affiliated personnel may apply for consular services such as passports, reports of birth, and notarial services at the Military Passport Acceptance Agencies located on your base. Using a Military Passport Acceptance Agency can also save you and your family a trip to the Embassy/Consulate. Please note that some military bases do not have a passport agency, in that case, you will need to apply for your passport directly with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Japan.

Please click here for the contact information of passport agents on your base.


Consular Reports of Birth Abroad

Most children born to an American citizen parent will become U.S. citizens at birth, and you should document the birth as soon as possible by applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). You can find information on the acquisition of U.S. citizenship by a child born abroad here. The CRBA is proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship and substitutes for a U.S. birth certificate for most purposes. You can apply for your child’s passport and for a social security number at the same time. (You will need a social security number for your child in order to claim a deduction on your federal tax return.) Remember, if your child was born in Japan, you will need to complete the report of birth process in Japan. It can NOT be done in the U.S.

How to apply:

You have two options.

  1. Make an appointment and visit the nearest Consular Office directly to report your child’s birth. Both parents and the child must appear in person to make an application. Please follow the instructions on the checklist and bring ALL necessary documents to your appointment. All documents that are not in English should be accompanied by an English translation.
  2. Both parents and the child should appear before the military passport agent to apply for the CRBA. Once all the forms and documents are done, the military passport agent will send the package to the Consular Section to process. You will normally receive the CRBA within 4 weeks. Please note that some military bases do not have a passport agency. In that case, you will need to apply for the report of birth directly with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Japan.


Passports

Military members can enter the United States with a copy of their travel orders and military ID. However, family members will need passports to travel to Japan or back to the United States.

Military dependents on PCS orders and military members who need a passport for official travel may be eligible for an official or no-fee passport. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or Consulates in Japan do not issue official or no-fee passports. Please submit your application directly with your passport agent on your base.

You may also need a tourist passport if you intend to travel for vacation or other personal reasons. Each U.S. citizen family member, children and adults, needs his/her own passport. Regular passports take about three weeks to process.

How to Apply:

You have two options.

  1. Make an appointment and visit the nearest Consular Office directly to apply for a passport. Detailed information on application procedures and required documents for passport is available on the Embassy’s website.
  2. Submit your application for a regular (tourist) passport through the Military Passport Agent at your base personnel office. The military passport agent can help you complete and submit the application forms. Please note that some military bases do not have a passport agency. In that case, you will need to apply for your passport directly with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Japan.


Immigrant Visas

If your family member is not a U.S. citizen, s/he will need an immigrant visa to live with you in the United States. Your spouse, children and parents may also be eligible for immigration. Step children (children of your spouse) will qualify if they were under 18 when you married their parent.

There are two steps for the immigrant visa application process. The first step is for you to file a Form I-130 petition on your family’s behalf.

Exceptions for certain U.S. military service members:

You may file a Form I-130 at the USCIS Dallas Lockbox in the U.S. However, Consular officers at U.S. Embassy Tokyo and Consulate General Naha may accept filing of the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by qualified U.S. military service members for any immediate relative case, when active duty military service member is stationed permanently at a military base in Japan. This exception does not apply to service members assigned to non-military bases, such as embassies or civilian institutions, or to service members on temporary duty orders, and DOD civilians.

Please see the detailed information on the Embassy’s website here.

The second step is for your family to file an immigrant visa application. Once your petition is approved, your family can apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo or consulate in Naha, Okinawa. You will find the information on the Embassy’s website here.

The immigrant visa application process can take up to six months or more, planning ahead of your PCS is very important.

“Permanent Resident Card” (or “Green Card”)

A “permanent resident card” (I-551) is issued to legal permanent residents of the United States. You do not apply for a “green card” abroad – you apply for an immigrant visa (see above), and once admitted to the United States as an immigrant, you become a “lawful permanent resident” and USCIS will send you the card, generally within two months. You can enter and depart the United States freely with the card and your non-U.S. passport.

But there is an important rule you need to be aware of. Normally, legal permanent residents cannot remain outside the United States for more than one year. If you do, you will lose your lawful permanent resident status. This rule does not apply if you are abroad on U.S. government orders, or accompanying a family member who is. Please see the detailed information at Active Duty Military Information.

If you lose your green card while you are outside the United States contact the Embassy or Consulate. You can find more information here.


Naturalization

Normally, becoming an American citizen is a lengthy process, requiring several years of residence in the United States, and can only be done in the United States. Special rules apply, however, to active duty members of the military and certain dependents. If you are on active duty, the U.S. residence requirements may be waived. See the USCIS website www.uscis.gov or contact your military legal office for further details.