Passport for Minors
If you’re planning on taking the kids with you on your next trip abroad, you’ll need to learn how to obtain a passport for minors. If you’ve traveled outside of the country before without the kids, you are already familiar with the requirements for obtaining an adult passport, but when it comes to getting a child’s passport, the requirements are a little more complicated. For starters, all children under the age of 18 must apply in person, and there are additional requirements if your children are under the age of 16. Here’s what you need to know.
Minors Under Age 16
Individuals who are under the age of 16 must appear in person with both parents/guardians to apply for a passport.
Follow the steps listed below to get a passport for minors:Complete Form DS-11: Application for U.S. Passport, but do not sign it until a passport acceptance agent instructs you to do so.Submit Form DS-11. Both parents/guardians and the minor applying for the passport must submit form DS-11 in person at a passport acceptance facility or passport agency.Submit evidence of citizenship. Proof that the minor is a U.S. citizen must be submitted at the time of application.
The following documents may be submitted as evidence of citizenship:An undamaged U.S. passportCertified birth certificate that includes both parents’ namesConsular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of BirthNaturalization CertificateCertificate of Citizenship
Provide evidence of relationship. When obtaining a passport for minors, both parents/guardians must provide evidence of their relationship to the minor by submitting one of the following:Child’s certified U.S. birth certificate with both parents' namesMinor's certified Foreign Birth Certificate with both parents' namesMinor's Report of Birth Abroad with both parents' names Adoption Decree with adopting parents' namesCourt Order establishing custodyCourt Order establishing guardianship
Present Identification. Both parents/guardians must provide a valid form of identification at the time of application. Acceptable forms of identification include:An undamaged U.S. passportNaturalization certificateValid driver’s licenseCurrent city, state or federal government employee IDCurrent military ID
NOTE:Provide a photocopy of the front and back of all of the identification documents presented by both parents/guardians at the time of application.
Give consent. In most cases to get a passport for minors, both parents/guardians must appear with their child at the time of application and provide their consent to get a passport for their child. However, in some circumstances, this is not required. For additional information visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Pay the applicable fees.Provide a passport photo of the minor.
Minors Ages 16 and 17
Regardless of whether or not they were previously issued a passport, minors who are 16 or 17 years old follow the same process adults follow when they are applying for a passport for the first time with a few additional requirements. First, the minor must establish parental consent. Second, if the minor does not have a valid photo ID, a parent or guardian can present their ID on behalf of their child when obtaining a passport for minors.
It takes the same amount of time to process a minor’s passport application as it takes to process an adult’s passport application. That means four to six weeks for routine processing and two to three weeks for expedited processing through the U.S. government. But, it can take longer when application volumes are high. As a result, it’s best to apply as far in advance of your trip as possible. If you cannot apply early or your trip was planned at the last minute and you need to get a passport quickly, you can get a professional expediter like “easy service” to apply on your behalf.
A passport expediting service can take the stress and worry out of getting a passport for minors. To begin the process, both parents/guardians and the minor must appear before a passport acceptance agent to sign Form DS-11 and have their identities verified. The agent will put the minor’s signed application as well as the citizenship, relationship and identification documents, applicable fees and passport photo in a sealed envelope and return it to you. After you send the envelope to the expediting service, your work is done. The expediters will take care of the rest.
A representative from the expediting service will take your child’s application to the U.S. Passport Agency to be processed. When the passport has been issued, the expediter will either mail it to you or you can go their office and pick it up. In most cases, you can get a passport for minors within 24 hours if you have urgent travel plans.
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