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Can the US embassy keep an applicant's passport for almost a year in?

The US State Department can suspend or revoke a passport at any time for any reason. Typically they only suspend or revoke international travel endorsements to either catch a fugitive or prevent a fugitive from leaving the country. This can be for a variety of crimes from murder to unpaid tax debt. If the embassy is keeping your passport it is because the the State Department (thats the department that manages our embassies as well as passports) has directed their employees at the embassy to keep the passport either from internally or by a foreign nation in the case a foreign nationals passport. If directed by another government to seize their passport because they are wanted and we determine they do not meet the criteria for asylum then we will size the passport and halt the movement of the individual in cooperation with their home government. So in short the answer is yes. The embassy can withhold a passport for a variety of reasons.

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