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Unresponsive American consular services

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Thank you everyone for the insight. I emailed the consulate in hopes of a response but we are now going on at least two weeks. The forms are clear and in theory I could send them to the embassy today but the idea of sending DD and my passports in the post...I just don't know if I have an alternative.

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I received my new passport within less than three weeks after sending it in, and if I recall correctly actually within around two weeks. I saw the headlines about extremely long processing times several days after sending the renewal package which worried me and was pleasantly surprised at how fast it was. I did use the super fast tracked shipping method they had a link to on the embassy website (required for them to send you your new passport and recommended for sending the application packet), which probably helped. Maybe I was lucky, but in retrospect I think/hope they probably realize that for most expats abroad who aren't dual citizens there is a real need to receive a passport quickly. 

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Good morning everyone,

 

The Frankfurt embassy seems to have opened appointments for social security matters. Has anyone had an appointment there within the last month or two? I would like to make an appointment but really don't want to deal with bureaucrats (who have not responded to any email in the last year) about how I should have done this and not that...

 

All I am trying to do is  apply for a social security number for DD. ...and maybe if they were extra nice renew my passport which expires in May.

 

Thank you.

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I want to apply for the US Passport Card (as a second, easier to carry around federal ID I hope the Germans will recognize instead of my bulky passport).

I am confused by the Munich embassy website - do I really have to send in my **passport** to apply for the passport **card**?
The website kept changing and referring around in circles to different forms and procedures.

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24 minutes ago, Metall said:

I want to apply for the US Passport Card (as a second, easier to carry around federal ID I hope the Germans will recognize instead of my bulky passport).

I am confused by the Munich embassy website - do I really have to send in my **passport** to apply for the passport **card**?
The website kept changing and referring around in circles to different forms and procedures.

 

It's really frustrating--I have noticed this as well (typos and all ) but the refusal to answer phones, emails leaves one with very few options.

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Good luck with the paperwork ladies. I can honestly say that dealing with the French authorities has left me psychologically scarred. It was worse than horrible. I hope you fare better than that.

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Try to use the right terminology to avoid confusion to yourself. I had to learn all the different variants when working for a UK Government international department.   

Each country has one embassy in a country, in the capital or internationally recognised capital. The rest, in minor cities are consulates/consulate generals (full range of services). If the relationship is more complicated or closer (e.g. former colony etc) then the main representation in the country capital might be a high commission instead of embassy. 

 

Here is the list the USA locations in Germany. One embassy and five consulates 

Homepage - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Germany (usembassy.gov)

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I'm surprised passport services has not responded to your email. But, yes to get a passport, you have to send in proof of citizenship or your other passport.

 

By the way, it's consulates-general :)

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Any ideas how to get a response out of the Federal Benefits Unit of the Frankfurt Consulate?  I have emailed twice, waiting over two weeks in between each and also tried to phone call.  I've received no replies from the emails and the phone only rings and rings and rings.  No voicemail or even a menu.  The US numbers all are clearly marked as not handling matters for people living abroad.  I have some time-sensitive business related to Social Security and am at wit's end.  Any ideas anyone?  Many thanks!

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4 hours ago, Nacre said:

Any ideas how to get a response out of the Federal Benefits Unit of the Frankfurt Consulate?  I have emailed twice, waiting over two weeks in between each and also tried to phone call.  I've received no replies from the emails and the phone only rings and rings and rings.  No voicemail or even a menu.  The US numbers all are clearly marked as not handling matters for people living abroad.  I have some time-sensitive business related to Social Security and am at wit's end.  Any ideas anyone?  Many thanks!

 

Good luck.  I tried for over six months to get a response from the FBU at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt.  After not getting any response from using the online Contact Us form, I called the SSA office in my home town in the U.S. and explained to the nice guy who answered the phone that the FBU was not responsive.  We talked for about 30 minutes and he answered all of my questions.

 

The SSA has a phone number, 410-965-0160, for the Office of Earnings and International Operations.  You can call this number between 0900 and 1600 east coast time.

 

https://www.ssa.gov/foreign/

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You can also contact your senators/congressperson in the US. You will likely deal with interns but they can be very helpful. They've got applications moving for me before.

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22 hours ago, Nacre said:

Any ideas how to get a response out of the Federal Benefits Unit of the Frankfurt Consulate?  I have emailed twice, waiting over two weeks in between each and also tried to phone call. 

 

try sending a letter with Deutsche Post.  it will be there tomorrow.  sounds old fashioned, but if email and phone didn't succeed this is another avenue. 

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Hello everyone,

 

Just an update: we filed for DD's social security number on black friday and got her number early in January via registered post. I was amazed how barren the consulate in Frankfurt was during our visit. I am going to try and take care of future matters via the post.

 

Thank you everyone for your advice.

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Just thought I'd post my two cents' worth, however late to the discussion it may be, if only because I have an opinion on the matter.

 

The FBU is extremely unresponsive via email.  The last two times I sent them an inquiry, I got nothing more than the auto-acknowledgement of receipt.  That said...

 

I had applied for retirement benefits at the end of last year (2021)*, in anticipation of starting on or about my 65th birthday in April.  When, by the end of April, I had heard nothing, either in direct response to my application or the aforementioned email inquiries, I phoned the Consulate and was told to make an appointment--which I did.  The earliest available date at the time was August 5th, so I gritted my teeth and reserved the date.  Fast forward to last week and I had a very productive conversation/interview with a representative of the FBU.  I was told that the matter would be adjudicated in due course, and I honestly felt like I had made progress.

 

On Thursday I checked my account on the SSA website and was pleased to see that it had changed to reflect that the matter of my application was no longer in the hands of the FBU, but rather with someone in Baltimore, Maryland.  That felt like progress.  Then, last night, I got an email from the SSA saying that my "Submission Status Has Been Updated."  Sure enough, when I checked my SSA account again, I see that my application has been approved, as well as my new benefit amount (I had already been receiving survivor's benefits since 2017).  I was further informed that I should expect to receive details in 10 to 15 days (by snailmail?)  So, happy ending.  My takeaway:  Take matters into your own hands sooner rather than later.  I should have made the appointment with the FBU as soon as the matter was reflected as being in their hands.

 

I'm not usually a cheerleader for Uncle Sam, but I will give them props when they've earned them.

_________________________

* Surprisingly, I was able to apply for retirement benefits entirely online, including specification of overseas address and foreign bank account.

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