What Parents Need to Know About Getting Passports for Kids

You’re planning a beautiful family vacation to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit. It goes without saying that you want even the youngest members of your family to be able to enjoy the trip and to come along with you. But if you’re going out of the country, do children need passports? Yes. Plus, you need to make sure that you know how to get a passport for a child. There are lots of rules that you might not initially expect, but the good news is that they’re not terribly difficult to follow. Whether you need a passport for a teenager under 18, or if you need an infant passport, read on to learn what you need to know.

How to Get a Passport for Baby

First, let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to secure an infant passport. When you apply for the passport, you’ll need to make sure that both parents and the baby themselves are present. You’ll need to make sure that you bring the following primary documents (so, no copies):
  • A birth certificate
  • Proof that you are the parents
  • Adoption decree (if needed)
  • The government-issued ID of both parents
  • Your Social Security card
We suggest that you make at least one copy all of these documents, and bring them with you in addition to the original. You’ll also need to complete the DS-11 application form for an American passport. You should write only in black ink, but remember not to sign it until you’re in the Passport Acceptance building. Let’s say that, due to travel or work obligations, it becomes impossible for both parents to be present at the passport application meeting. In this case, you’ll need to make sure that you have a notarized letter of consent from the absent parents. This is called the DS-3053 form. If you’re a parent with sole custody of a baby? Then you’ll also need to bring a judicial declaration supporting the fact that you’re a sole parent. If the baby’s mother or father has died, you should bring their death certificate. In general, you’ll need to wait between four and six weeks to receive your infant’s passport. Of course, you’ll also need to pay a passport processing fee to the Department of State.

The Baby Passport Photo

Let’s talk about some of the rules surrounding the baby passport photo. You’ll need to bring two passport photos, that are copies of one another. They need to have a white background and need to be 2 by 2 inches in size. The head of the baby needs to be uncovered, and not even the hand of a parent supporting the child should be in the photo. An infant’s eyes should try to be somewhat open, if possible. Avoid casting any shadows on your baby’s face, and aim for an all-white background. You can put the baby down on a white sheet and take the photo from above.

How to Get a Passport for a Child

Now, let’s discuss how to get a passport for a child. It’s important for you to keep in mind that passports created for children who are under the age of 16 will only be valid for five years. Additionally, if you’re applying for a passport for someone under 16 years of age, you will need to apply in person. Both parents will need to be present, as a means of showing parental consent. The first step is to download and fill out the DS-11 form. As with the baby passport, don’t sign it until you’ve been instructed to do so during the in-person application process. You’ll need to give your child’s Social Security number, as well as documents that can help you to show your child is a U.S citizen. This can include an older expired passport, a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship, or a report of a birth abroad if needed. Bring both the originals and copies and if it’s not possible to get an original, bring a certified copy. You’ll also need to prove that you have a parental relationship with the child. This can be your birth certificate, a custody decree, an adoption decree, or a foreign birth certificate. You’ll also need to bring your government-issued ID and a photocopy of it. You’ll also need to pay fees, which can be calculated on the U.S. Department of State Travel website.

Photos for a Child Passport

Your child needs to have a neutral expression, and they need to be directly facing the camera. They need to keep both eyes open, and they should also show the tops of their ears. As with the infant passport, you’ll need a plain white background for the photo. When it comes to size, the photo will need to be in color, and 2 by 2 inches in size.

Ready to Get a Passport for a Minor?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand how to get a passport for a child. Whether you need to get an infant passport, or if you want to get one for your teenager, it’s important that you become as familiar with the rules as you can. This will save you a lot of headaches down the line. Of course, we know that you sometimes leave the job of getting a passport to the last minute. If you’re in need of an expedited passport, we want to help you to be able to get it. Spend some time on our website to learn more, and reach out to us when you need help.