How to Get Passports for Children

How to Get Passports for Children
If you are traveling with your family to somewhere that requires a passport--which is just about anywhere--everyone in your family needs a passport, including your children. The rules for getting a passport for children under 16 are different than the rules for getting a passport for an adult. You need to follow these rules when you apply for a passport for your child, so that the child won't run into problems when it is time to take a trip.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Contact the U.S. Department of State for a form DS-11. Complete the form online at the State Department's website (see Resources) and print it using black ink, or get a printed copy and print the answers in black ink. Do not sign the form. In addition to the State Department's website, the form is available at any passport acceptance facility or passport agency.
Step 2
Get proof of your child's U.S. citizenship. You can use a certified birth certificate with a raised seal that was issued by the county or state where the child was born. If you don't have a certified birth certificate, you can use a naturalization certificate, a certificate of U.S. citizenship or a certified copy of a consular birth abroad.
Step 3
Get the original and prepare one copy of a form of photo identification for each of the child's parents. Acceptable forms of identification for the child's parents are a driver's license; a valid passport; a naturalization certificate; a city, state or federal government employee ID; or a current military ID. Copy the front and the back of the identification onto one side of a piece of letter-size white paper.
Step 4
Be able to prove that the people applying at the passport office are in fact the child's parents. Acceptable evidence includes a certified copy of a birth certificate listing both parents' names, an adoption decree listing both parents' names, or a court order establishing the parents' custody or guardianship of the child. Names listed on the documents you bring must match the names on the photo identification listed in the previous step.
Step 5
Get two copies of a 2-inch-square photograph less than six months old showing the child's full face on a white or off-white background, wearing any glasses or hearing aids she normally wears.
Step 6
Bring the child with both parents, all necessary documentation and applicable fees to a passport agency, acceptance facility, or U.S. consulate or embassy. Sign the form DS-11 in person at the time of application. If only one parent can attend with the child, the other parent must complete, sign and notarize a form DS-3053 giving consent to the passport application.
Step 7
If you are a single parent and cannot get the other parent's consent for the passport, apply in person with the child and show one of the following items to prove that you alone have legal authority to consent for the passport: the child's birth certificate listing only you as her parent, a court order giving you sole legal custody of the child that does not restrict the child's travel, an adoption decree listing you as the only adoptive parent, a court order specifically allowing you to travel abroad with your child, the other parent's death certificate, or judicial declaration of incompetence. If you cannot provide any of those documents, complete a Form DS-3053 affirming why you cannot provide any of that documentation.
Step 8
If you are not the child's parent or guardian, apply in person with a notarized consent from both of the child's parents. If the child only has a single parent, bring the notarized consent for the passport from that parent, plus any of the documents mentioned in the previous step documenting why the child only has one parent's consent.

Tips & Warnings

 
The State Department may allow other documents to substitute for the listed forms of identification. Check the current requirements and acceptable substitutions at the time of your application. Children aged 16 and 17 may apply in person for passports, without a parent, with proper identification and with parental consent.
 
The State Department may allow other documents to substitute for the listed forms of identification. Check the current requirements and acceptable substitutions at the time of your application.
 
Children aged 16 and 17 may apply in person for passports, without a parent, with proper identification and with parental consent.
 
A passport application can take up to 10 weeks to process. If you need the passport in two to four weeks, make an appointment at your nearest Regional Passport Agency.
 
A passport application can take up to 10 weeks to process. If you need the passport in two to four weeks, make an appointment at your nearest Regional Passport Agency.

Article Written By Andrea Lott

Andrea Lott is a career writer, performer and educator with an educational background in theater, classical studies and comedy. Her writing credits include articles, marketing materials and scripts. Lott studied theater and classical studies at IUPUI, and comedy writing and improv at Second City in Chicago.

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