Kids need passports just like adults, but getting them can be something of a challenge. The Department of State has issued a special set of rules and procedures for children under the age of 16, and it’s important to be aware of the extra steps you’ll need to take before you apply. Here’s what you need to know to get a child passport:
You’ll need one passport photo to submit with your child’s application. As long as your child is old enough to understand instructions and you can bribe him to be still and not make faces, this shouldn’t be a big deal. For infants, however, child passport photo requirements can cause a good deal of consternation. First of all, the child has to be awake for the photo, looking at the camera and not crying. Second, neither the parents’ arms, a chair, nor any other means of support can be visible in the photo.
Fortunately, you don’t have to levitate the little darling- just place baby on his back on a plain white bed sheet, and pray he cooperates.
When you apply for a passport on behalf of your child, you must do so in person at a post office or other passport acceptance facility. You’ll also need the following documents:
Proof of identity for you, like a driver’s license. Bring both an original and a plain photocopy.
Proof of your relationship to the child, like the child’s birth certificate, an adoption decree or a court order giving you guardianship.
Evidence that the child is a US citizen, such as a birth certificate or a certificate of citizenship.
Proof that both parents are okay with the child being issued a passport.
The easiest way to prove parental consent is for both parents to mosey on down to the passport office. However, if this is not possible, one parent can go with a notarized “permission slip” from the other parent giving consent.
If you have sole custody of your child, you may bring one of the following: a copy of the other parent’s death certificate, a copy of the child’s birth certificate or adoption decree with only your name on it, a court order awarding sole custody to you or permitting you to travel overseas with the child, or a court order declaring the other parent incompetent.
A copy of passport application for DS-11, which you will fill out on behalf of your child.
Once you’ve gotten everything together, simply go to the post office, pay the required child passport fees and the passport agent will send your child’s paperwork to the Department of State for processing. The new passport should arrive in about 6 weeks for regular processing and about 3 weeks for expedited processing.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.
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