Requirements for Obtaining a Passport for a Minor Child
- The passport application is slightly different for minors.young traveler image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com
In the past it was possible for infants or minor children to travel on their parents' passports, but that is not the case anymore. Even newborns traveling abroad must have their own passports, and they are often required even if the child is traveling internationally by boat or by car. A minor passport lasts only five years and may not be renewed by mail, so be sure to allow enough time (up to six weeks, unless expedited) for the passport to arrive before you travel.
- Fill out form DS-11, which is available at some U.S. Post Office locations or online at the US Passport Service website. (See References) Do not sign the passport application; you will sign it later in front of the Acceptance Agent. You must provide the child's Social Security Number and the numbers of both parents or guardians.
Evidence of Citizenship
- You will need to show evidence of the child's citizenship, so bring a certified birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, a Certificate of Citizenship or an older passport. These must be the original copies, as they will be mailed with the passport application. They will be returned with the passport.
Evidence of Relationship
- You must submit proof that you have the right to apply for a passport on behalf of a child 16 or younger. Acceptable proof of your relationship to the child includes a certified birth certificate, foreign birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad containing both parents' names, an adoption decree listing both parents' names, or a court order granting you sole custody or naming you the child's guardian. Attach English translations for any submitted documents written in a language other than English.
- To establish your identity as the parents or guardians, you must bring both the original and a photocopy of your own passports, U.S. government employee identification, military identification card, current valid driver's license or a Naturalization Certificate. If your identification was issued by a different state than the one you're in, you must also submit a second form of ID.
- If both parents have custody of the child, both parents must apply together, in person, to sign the application in front of the agent. If one parent cannot appear in person, he must submit a notarized Form DS-3053, the Statement of Consent. A parent or guardian with sole custody must show the document that grants them sole custody, such as the death certificate of a deceased parent, a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad or adoption decree listing them as the only parent or a court order that permits travel with that parent, grants him sole custody or declares the other parent incompetent.
Photos and Fees
- You will need to provide two identical passport photographs of the child. These must be recent color photos, two inches tall by two inches wide of the child's face against a white background. Professional passport photographs are recommended, since there are several requirements for acceptable photos. Take the application and the other paperwork, the child and both parents or guardians to a U.S. Passport Office. You will be asked to sign the application in front of the Agent and to pay the fees. If you are at an Acceptance Facility like a post office, you must pay by personal check; passport agencies accept credit and debit cards, personal checks and money orders.
16 or 17
- A minor aged 16 or 17 may not need to have his parents present to apply. He must appear in person at a passport agency or Acceptance Facility and have a parent submit the original and a copy of photographic ID if the minor does not have sufficient identification of his own. The agent may ask for written parental consent to travel.