Documents Needed for a Child’s Passport

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Thu Jun 7 2018

According to the US Department of State, what is a child? When it comes to international travel, anyone under the age of 16 only qualifies to receive a passport book or card valid for five years. Because children are typically under the care of one or two legal guardians, getting a passport application processed for the first time can mean bringing in a slew of documents from both parent and child.


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What do parents or legal guardians need to do?


If the child has two parents, both must authorize the US Department of State to issue the child’s passport by having all three appear in person at a regional passport office for both first-time applications and renewals. However, exceptions can be made for one or neither parent being present for a child’s passport application. Work schedules may not allow one parent to escape during normal business hours, or the child may only have one legal guardian in the first place.

Form DS-3053 allows for one parent to appear in person with the child for their passport application as long as the other has completed the form giving their approval for a passport to be issued in their child’s name. This must be filled out in front of a notary public with the parent’s photo ID. Because Form DS-11 is still the application form used for a five-year child’s passport, DS-3053 isn’t required for a passport application unless one parent cannot appear.

In addition, if neither parent is available to appear under certain circumstances (NOT including imprisonment, mental incompetence, etc.), DS-3053 may be used. Both parents must fill out the form in front of a notary public with their IDs and authorize a passport agency like Travel Visa Pro to apply on behalf of their child. If one parent is unable to sign these form, proof of his or her absence must be provided along with the other forms.


What documents are needed for a child’s passport?


Unlike with adult passports, which are valid for ten years and require less paperwork with a renewal, child passport applications essentially require the same number of forms, photos, and documents for renewals as they do the first time. Assuming the parents start traveling with their child early, both parents would need to present themselves at the passport agency or fill out Form DS-3053 with a notary three times before their child turned 16. After that age, children can apply themselves using Form DS-11.

Form DS-3053 may be used for many cases when either or both parents can be with their child for their passport application, but others fall under Form DS-5525, Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. If one parent is in prison, subject to a restraining order again the other parent or child, or subject to custody order which leaves them unable to sign DS-3053, then Form DS-5525 may be used.

One parent may also have sole custody of their child; a court order to this affect must be provided with DS-3053. Essentially, if any legal guardian of the child is involved in any situation leaving them unable to appear, then there must be legal documents included with the passport application form.


Consider the aforementioned and prepare DS-5525 and/or DS-3053 along with Form DS-11 to a regional passport office or a nearby Travel Visa Pro. In addition to this, proof of the relationship with the parents, proof of the child’s US citizenship (birth certificate), and the parents’ original photo IDs must be provided. Photos of the child showing age progression are necessary for renewals.

Payment varies for a child’s passport application. The standard $110 processing fee for adult passports stands alone for mail-in applications, but these don’t apply for children due to one or both parents needing to be present. A $35 Execution Fee is required at regional passport offices in addition to the $80 processing fee. Expedited service is also available for $60.

Are you ready to start traveling with your child? Let us know if you have any questions?