How to get a court order for a Child Passport?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Mon Jun 15 2020

When it comes time to take your family on an international trip, there are naturally a few boxes you’ll need to check. In addition to accommodations and airline tickets, children usually fall under a different category of passports than adults.

In the United States, any citizen under the age of 16 qualifies to receive a passport book or card valid for five years from the time they are born. Between the ages of 16-18, minors can obtain a ten-year “adult” passport, but might still need permission from both parents or legal guardians.


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What do parents need to do to get a Child Passport?


There are a few conditions under which children may need neither parent, both parents, or just one parent present to get their passport. No matter what, applying for a passport for the first time can mean bringing in a number of documents. Let’s look at some of these cases.

If the child is emancipated or has no legal guardians able to apply

In some cases, neither parent may be available to appear in person to apply for their child’s passport. This does not include circumstances like mental incompetence or imprisonment.

If the child has two parents or legal guardians, they may fill out form DS-3053 (statement of consent) in front of a notary public with their photo IDs. This does not usually allow children to apply for passports on their own, but rather authorizes a third-party agency like Travel Visa Pro to apply on their behalf.

Suppose a child is legally emancipated and can provide documentation with their passport application. Passports can be issued at the discretion of the Department of State.

If the child has only one parent or legal guardian able to apply

Form DS-3053 also allows for only one parent to appear in person with the child at the time of the 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.

However, the other parent or legal guardian must have completed the form in front of a notary public. This authorizes the other parent to apply for the child’s passport on their own.

If the child has two parents or legal guardians able to apply

All three — two parents, one child — should appear in person at a regional passport office, whether they are renewing their child’s passport or applying for one for the first time. They can apply for the child passport using form DS-11.


When is a court order required for a Child Passport?


Form DS-3053 may be used when both parents are considered legal guardians to the child. However, there are times when additional documentation is required: emancipation, loss of custody, death of one parent.

For example, if one parent has a restraining order against the other, is in prison, or has sole custody of the child for other reasons, a court order may be required. Under these circumstances, form DS-5525 (statement of exigent/special family circumstances) may also be used in lieu of one.

Should you have a court order reflecting sole custody or granting one parent permission to obtain the child’s passport, DS-5525 may be unnecessary. Essentially, if any legal guardian of the child is unable to appear, then there must be documentation included with the DS-11 passport application form.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of State cannot assist in any matters requiring a court order. Hiring a lawyer or filing a claim in court pro se is the only way to get supporting documentation for a child passport application.


What other documents are needed for a Child Passport?


In addition to form DS-11, DS-5525 or DS-3053 may be required (see above). Bring these forms along with your child to a regional passport agency with proof of the child’s US citizenship (birth certificate), proof of the relationship to the parents, and the parents’ original photo IDs. For children under 16 obtaining a passport renewal, photos of an age progression are necessary.

There is an $80 processing fee for child passport applications, whether you’re applying for the first time or getting a renewal. This excludes the $35 execution fee required for all in-person applications. Expedited service is also available for an additional $60.

Does that answer your question about getting a court order for your child’s passport? Let us know in the comments.