What are the passport requirements for children?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Thu Aug 23 2018

Anyone under the age of 16 is classified as a child according to the US Department of State. As a result, a child applying for a passport can certainly receive one with both parents’ permission – see below for details – but instead of the ten-year document issued to adults, children only qualify for five-year passport books or cards. Under this system, assuming the parents start traveling with their child early, any US citizen can hold three passports before he or she turns 16.


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Passport requirements for children

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 (in which case, Form DS-3053 should be included in addition to DS-11). Applications for children’s passports can only be made in person at a regional passport office or a US embassy or consulate abroad, and appointments may be required.

When it comes time to apply, both parents, their photo IDs, photocopies of the IDs, Form DS-11, evidence of the child’s US citizenship, proof of the relationship with the parents, and photos showing an age progression should be presented to agent at the passport office. The fees vary, but you can expect $80 for processing, $35 for an in-person execution fee, and the option to expedite the application for an additional $60.

Children’s Passports Application Process

Every time a parent is applying for a passport for their child, whether it’s the first time as a toddler or a renewal at age 14, 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 (age progression in the case of a renewal), and fees must be provided with the application.

Children’s Passports Application Process - What are the passport requirements for children?

Passport Applications Using Form DS-3053

Though Form DS-11 is the application for a child’s passport, Form DS-3053
(https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds3053.pdf) must be included as part of that application when one or both of the child’s parents or legal guardians are unable to appear in person. This is fairly common: we live in a progressive world with children with only one parent, children with no parents (emancipated), and children with only one parent who may not be able to appear with the other. the State Department allows for exceptions to be made provided this form is included.

Because both parents or 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, Form DS-3053 allows for only one to appear, 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. Form DS-3053 is not required if both parents are able to present their child’s passport application together.

DS-3053 can 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. If the child has only one legal guardian who is unable to appear, proof of this must be submitted along with a copy of the form.

Other passport requirements for children

Form DS-3053 is one special case, but there are many others. 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 can appear, but he or she happens to have sole legal authority of the child, evidence of this must be presented with the passport application, e.g. a court order granting the parent sole legal custody of the child or one specifically permitting the individual to apply for the child’s passport. Other documents may be submitted for cases including the death or legal incompetence of one parent.

Do you have any questions concerning your child’s passport application? Leave them in the comments!