How To Renew A Child’s Passport

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Tue Oct 10 2017

It can be intimidating to try and navigate all of the documentation and paperwork involved with international travel. With children, especially, there are extra steps that are taken to keep the child safe and make sure they’re identified correctly and have permission from their guardians to travel abroad. You might be wondering what steps you need to take to renew a U.S. passport for a child. When it comes to passports, a child is considered to be someone who is under 16 years of age. If your child is renewing their passport, they’ll need to fill out a DS-11 in person. The rest of the process is identical to the one they went through when they initially applied for their passport. Read on for a recap of what to expect!


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Passports for children under 16 years of age only last five years as opposed to passports for adults, which last twice as long. You should be prepared to include the child’s social security number if they have one. If they do not, you should be sure to submit the following as a signed and dated statement: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: [Child’s Full Name] has never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.”

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You should also be prepared to provide official proof of citizenship. Notarized copies and photocopies of these documents will not be accepted. You must obtain an official or certified copy of one of the following: a U.S. birth certificate, a valid and undamaged passport, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth, or a Certificate of Citizenship. Birth certificates should be issued by the city, county, or state of birth and must list the child’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth as well as their parent(s)’ full names. The date must be filed with the registrar’s office within one year of birth and should have the registrar’s signature and a seal of issuing authority. U.S. Citizenship Evidence submissions should

include a legible photocopy of the front and back of the evidence you are submitting on white, standard 8.5”x11” single-sided paper in black and white. Second certified copies of U.S. Citizenship Evidence are acceptable alternatives to photocopies.

Documentation listing the child’s legal guardians is also required. U.S. birth certificates and U.S. Citizenship Evidence are acceptable, as are Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, foreign birth certificates, adoption decrees, and divorce and custody decrees. You must be sure to submit certified copies or original documents rather than photocopies. Guardians also need to present identification documents, which could include valid, in-state driver’s licenses, valid and undamaged U.S. passports, Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship, government employee IDs, U.S. military IDs, valid foreign passports, or Mexican Consular Identifications. For guardians presenting out-of-state identification documents, an additional identification document will be required. You should also bring a photocopy of the front and back of each identification document that you present. These photocopies need to be on white, standard 8.5”x11” single-sided paper. You may not decrease the image size, but you may enlarge it.

Consent from the child’s guardian(s) is also necessary. It’s easiest for guardians to authorize the issuance of the passport by going with the child when they apply for the document. If both parents or guardians cannot be present, the present guardian should submit evidence that they have sole legal authority over the child by presenting a court order granting sole custody, a court order permitting that guardian to apply for the child’s passport, a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate that lists the present guardian as the only parent, a certified copy of an adoption decree that lists the present guardian as the only parent, a certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the guardian that cannot be present, or a certified copy of the death certificate of the guardian that cannot be present.

If one guardian is unable to be with the child for the application process, they may give permission for their child to submit their application by completing a Statement of Consent, also known as Form DS-3053. A photocopy of the front and back of their identification should also be submitted. If you cannot locate the other guardian, you must submit Form DS-5525, also known as a Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. You should be as detailed as possible with the forms you submit. Additional information and documentation, such as custody orders, restraining orders, or incarceration orders may be requested to protect your child from international parental child abduction. If neither parent can appear with their child, a third party can be present with the child so long as they have a notarized statement from the official parents/guardians giving them permission to apply for the child’s passport. That statement must also include a photocopy of the guardians’ identification. If the statement only comes from one guardian, the third party must have that guardian’s evidence of sole custody. Written authorization from any guardians who cannot be present must have been written within the past three months.

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You should not sign the child’s application form until you are told to do so by an acceptance agent. If you would like to request a passport book that has 52 pages, you may do so at no additional cost. Simply check the box on the top of the DS-11 that says “52 page.”

If you’re still lost and need some assistance with the passport renewal process, be sure to reach out to Travel Visa Pro! Our travel agents can guide you through the paperwork step by step and ensure that you have a worry-free experience as you prepare to take your child on an exciting adventure abroad. Take a closer look at our website or give us a call today!