In order to minimize the risk of international child abductions, the Department of State requires that children under the age of 16 must have the consent of both parents in order to be issued a passport. Also, adults applying for a passport on behalf of a child under the age of 16 must be able to prove that either the child is theirs or that they are otherwise authorized to apply for the passport.
It may seem absurd to have to prove your relationship to your own flesh and blood, but you won’t be able to get a passport without doing so. Here are the documents that the Department of State will accept:
Your child’s birth certificate listing you as the parent. If your child was born overseas and the document is not in English, you’ll also need a translation.
A Consular Report of Birth Abroad, again listing you as a parent.
An adoption decree listing you as the adopting parent
A court order establishing that you have custody or guardianship of the child.
The easiest way to demonstrate that both parents consent is for both parents to accompany the child to apply for a passport. However, in today’s world, that often isn’t possible, especially if the family is applying for an emergency passport. The following documents will help you demonstrate that both parents have consented to the emergency passport being issued:
A notarized Statement of Consent Form DS-3053 signed by the other parent.
A certified birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad that shows only the name of the parent applying for the passport.
A court order awarding the applying parent with sole custody.
Adoption decree that only has the applying parent’s name on it.
A court order permitting travel
Legal proof that the other parent is either deceased or has been declared legally incompetent.
If you can’t reach the other parent to get any of the documents listed above, submit Form DS-3053 explaining why you cannot provide evidence of consent from the other parent.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.