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How to get a passport for a child

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Tue Dec 18 2018

Children need passports to travel internationally too. From a newborn baby – though it’s not recommend to fly with a child so young – to a teenager, children receive passport books and cards from the US Department of State valid for five years. Under this system, assuming the parents start traveling with their child early, someone can hold a maximum of three passports before she turns 16.


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Getting a passport early

While children can hold passports, they certainly can’t apply on their own (with some legal exceptions). Every time a child under the age of 16 needs a new passport or a renewal, both parents or guardians must accompany them in person to a regional passport agency. There, they must present proof of the child’s US citizenship in addition to their own, Form DS-11, proof of the relationship with the parents, passport-sized photos, and fees.

How to get a passport for a child

  1. First, consider the age of your child. Both children under 16 and those between 16-18 may use Form DS-11 when applying for a new passport, but children under 16 must have the approval of both parents or legal guardians, with certain exceptions mentioned below.
  2. Applications for children’s passports can only be made in person at a regional passport office or, in the case of foreign births or residency, US embassies or consulates. Sometimes an appointment is required. Third party agencies like Travel Visa Pro can process your child’s passport on your behalf with a copy of Form DS-3053 from both parents (see below).
  3. At a US consulate or regional passport office, present your child, 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. In the case of renewing a child’s passport, you’ll need photos showing an age progression.

Once you submit an $80 processing fee, a $35 execution fee, and the optional $60 expediting fee, your application should be accepted and available to be picked up in person or sent by mail.

How to get a passport for a child with only one parent

Form DS-3053 must be included with any application for a child’s passport (DS-11), if one or both parents are unable to appear. Usually, both legal guardians must authorize the US Department of State to issue their child’s passport by appearing in person with the child at a regional passport office. However, exceptions can be made provided the appropriate paperwork is included.

Form DS-3053 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 is more of a statement of consent if one parent cannot appear, and not always required to get a passport for your child.

DS-3053 may also be used if neither legal guardian is able to appear to get the child’s passport. Both parents must fill out the form in front of a notary public with their IDs and authorize a third party passport agency like Travel Visa Pro to apply on behalf of their child.

Other cases for getting a passport for a child

Form DS-3053 is for special circumstances involving custody of the child, but there are other situations requiring additional paperwork. If there are issues of one parent being incarcerated, subject to a restraining order, or any other form of custody order which leaves them unable to sign DS-3053, then Form DS-5525 may be used for a “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances.”

If only one parent or legal guardian has sole custody of the child, evidence of this must be presented with the child’s passport application. Other cases including the death or legal incompetence of one parent require additional documentation.

Do you have any questions about getting a passport for your child? Leave them in the comments!