Do Babies Need Passports?
It should come as no surprise that all American adults need a valid US passport book to fly internationally. Anyone over the age of 16 can receive a travel document valid for ten years, though second passport books are available for four years, and limited validity passports issued abroad can have their validity adjusted according to your travel plans.
What does that means for parents who travel with children? Just as adults receive ten-year passport books and cards, so too does anyone under the age of 16 receive a five-year passport book or card for international travel. But is there a minimum age at which a child can apply for a passport?
Babies can have passports too
Any US citizen who is planning to fly internationally needs to carry a passport, whether they were born seventy years ago or last week. Though the application process is somewhat different for babies, that doesn’t exclude them from enjoying the bureaucracy we adults have come to… ahem… appreciate.
In a nutshell, children born abroad who are considered US citizens can have their passport applications processed at a nearby US embassy or consulate. Children born in the US must present their applications with both parents (there are exceptions; see below for details).
Passport Application Process for Infants
Every time a parent is applying for a passport for their child, whether it’s the first time as a baby or a renewal at age 12, they must use Form DS-11, the same for adult passports. In addition to this, evidence of the child’s US citizenship, proof of the relationship with the parents, the parents’ IDs (passports are acceptable), photos, and fees must be provided with the application.
Applications for children’s passports can only be made in person at a regional passport office or a US embassy or consulate. Please make an appointment when necessary. Third party agencies like Travel Visa Pro can process your child’s passport on your behalf with a copy of Form DS-3053 (see below) from both parents.
Depending on the custody arrangement or family situation, applicants should bring the baby, both parents, the parents’ IDs and copies, Form DS-11, evidence of the child’s US citizenship, proof of the relationship with the parents, and photos (age progression in the case of a renewal) to a consulate or passport office. A $35 Execution Fee is required at regional passport offices in addition to the $80 processing fee. As always, expedited service is available for $60.
How to use Form DS-3053 for baby passports
Though Form DS-11 is the standard application for a child’s passport, Form DS-3053 must be included as part of that application. This gives authorization from both parents or legal guardians for the US Department of State to issue their child’s passport. Even with this form, the signing parties must appear in person with their child at a regional passport office.
Naturally, with work and other scheduling conflict, there are situations in which the child has no legal guardian, or has recently been adopted with a different surname. The US State Department makes exceptions for some situations provided the appropriate paperwork is included: Form DS-5525 may be used for a “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances.”
On the other hand, Form DS-3053 isn’t so much a necessity in applying for a baby’s passport as much as a statement of consent if one parent cannot appear. It allows for one parent to appear in person with the child for their passport application, provided the other has completed the form giving their approval for a passport to be issued in their child’s name in front of a notary public with their ID.
This form may also be used if neither legal guardian is able to appear to apply for the child’s passport. Both must fill out the form in front of a notary public with their IDs and authorize a third party – like Travel Visa Pro – to apply on behalf of their child.
Do have any questions about getting a passport for your baby? Leave them in the comments below.