So you’re ready to travel internationally with your child? Regardless of age, all children need a passport to travel outside of the US. Minors under the age of 16 apply for a Child’s Passport. Here is an easy guide to applying for your child’s passport.
What You Need to Apply
1. Completed DS-11 form
2. One 2×2 passport photo
3. Evidence of child’s U.S. citizenship
4. Evidence of relationship between child and parent(s)/guardian(s)
5. Parent(s) or guardian(s) identification and photocopy of identification
6. Provide parental consent
7. Application fee
You can get a passport photo at most Pharmacy & Retail stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, etc. These places provide two photos and charge anywhere from $8.99-$12.99. The 1-Hour Photo Lab at Costco also offers passport photos and is half the price. FedEx and UPS also offer passport photo service. At select local AAA office, passport photos are also offered; two free sets of photos are covered for AAA Plus members and unlimited sets for AAA Premier members per membership year, AAA Classic members have to pay a fee of $8 per set. Some passport application acceptance facilities also have passport photo services which can save you a separate trip but be sure to call in advance to find out if this service is offered.
The easiest way to take an infants passport photo is to have them in their car seat. Be sure to cover the car seat with a plain white sheet before placing the child in it in order for the passport photo to be valid. You can also have them lay flat on top of a white sheet but no other person can be in the photo so be sure you are touching them at all. It is acceptable if an infants eyes, particularly newborns, are entirely or not all the way open. Make sure there are no shadows on your baby’s face especially if they are laying down and you have the camera above them. Their head must be facing the camera and no hair can be in their face. If your child wears glasses they can keep them on but there can not be any glare. They must keep a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, no funny faces.
Evidence of Child’s U.S. Citizenship
- Valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)
- U.S. birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Citizenship
If you can’t submit one of these documents check out Citizen Evidence
Evidence of Relationship Between Child and Parent(s)/Guardian(s)
- U.S. birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Foreign birth certificate
- Adoption Decree
- Divorce/Custody Decree
These documents MUST be originals or certified copies
Passport applications for children under 16 must be submitted in person at an authorized passport acceptance facility and BOTH parents must be with the child. If both parents cannot be present a parental consent form must be filled out and notarized on behalf of the absent parent. In addition, you need to provide a photocopy of the front and back of their ID. If you have sole legal custody of the child you will need to provide proof of this with your child’s application. Examples of proof include: Court order showing you have full custody, court order specifically permitting you to apply for your child’s passport, certified copy of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the only parent, certified copy of an adoption decree listing you as the only parent, certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the parent that cannot appear, certificate copy of the death certificate of the other parent. If neither parent is able to appear a third party may apply for your child’s passport with a notarized stated from both parents giving the third party permission.
Present ID and Provide Photocopy of ID
The parents/guardians must present one of the following:
- In-state, fully-valid driver’s license
- Valid or expired, undamaged, U.S. passport
- Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
- Government employee ID (city, county, state or federal)
- U.S. military ID or military dependent ID
- Valid foreign passport
- Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular Identification, commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant)
If you cannot present one of these IDs please see Identification
If you present an out-of-state ID, you must present an additional ID.
You must also submit a photocopy of the front and back of each ID that you present to the acceptance agent.
- Photocopy must be on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11″ standard paper.
- The photocopy cannot be double-sided.
- Do not decrease the image size (although you may enlarge it).
Where to Apply
You can search for your nearest passport acceptance facility here. Need your child’s passport in a hurry? If you have to travel soon you are eligible to apply in person at a Passport Agency by showing proof of international travel. For more information on this process click here. Children’s passports cannot be renewed by mail and must be applied for at a facility.
Unlike an adults passport that is valid for 10 years a child’s passport is only good for 5 years. The fee is only $80 compared to an adult passport that costs $110. In addition to the $80 fee, there is a $25 execution fee.
If you are applying at a Passport Acceptance Facility the only way to pay the application fee is by check or money order. The $80 application fee and $25 Execution Fee are paid separately so be sure to bring two checks or get two money orders. If you are applying at a Passport Agency you can pay by debit or credit card as well as checks, money orders, cash (exact change only), or pre-paid credit card or gift cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo. For more information on fees click here.
Some of the information on this page was taken from the U.S. Passports & International Travel website.