Does a Child Need a U.S. Passport to Travel Abroad?


Are you planning an overseas trip and wondering if your minor needs a U.S. passport? Traveling abroad can be exciting yet nerve-wracking – the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not all of your documents will be in order before takeoff.

To guarantee that your travel plans go as smoothly as possible, it’s essential to know exactly what rules apply for minors traveling internationally from the United States; luckily, we’ve got all of the information you need! Read on to find out if a U.S. passport is required for minors when they cross international borders.

Does a Minor Need an I.D. to Fly?

Children under 18 are not required to have an ID for domestic flights. However, for international flights, they must possess a passport.

Related Read: Flying with a Baby and Your Responsibility

What Are the TSA Rules for Minors?

Every person traveling overseas must have a passport, regardless of age. For passport purposes, minors are children under the age of 16, and special requirements are required to obtain their passports:

  1. A minor must have parental consent to apply for a child’s passport. Parents must appear in person with the minor or submit a notarized parental consent form. If a minor has only one parent or legal guardian, proper proof that the parent or guardian has sole authority to consent must be provided.
  2. Parents may enroll minors in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. Designed to prevent international abductions, the program will alert the parents if a passport application is submitted for a minor to verify whether consent has been given.
  3. If a child is too young to sign their passport book, a parent may do it for them. The parent is required to print the child’s name, sign their name, and write their relationship to the child.
  4. Minors must comply with all other requirements for a passport, including evidence of U.S. citizenship, photo identification (the parent’s alone is acceptable if the child is too young to have an ID), passport photo, regular application forms, and applicable fees.


Traveling abroad as a minor can open the door to incredible experiences that will last a lifetime; however, it is important to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork before embarking on any adventure. Minors do need a U.S. passport when going abroad and the process for obtaining one should begin several months before the planned trip in order to ensure there is enough time for processing and approval.

It is also helpful to be aware of regulations surrounding unaccompanied minors flying internationally, speak with your parent/guardian or an expert to find out more details.

Lastly, remember that a passport serves as proof of identity and citizenship, so always keep yours accessible and up-to-date for any trip!