When You Should Get Your Child Passport

Whether you are traveling overseas with your child the first time or just taking a cross-country trip, it is essential to know when you need a passport depending on the situation. People often think a passport is nothing more than another form of identification, but in reality, it is the difference in being able to travel to 170 countries. This kind of access makes people wonder if kids need a passport or if are they ready to go wherever they want, worry-free.

Domestic Travels

When traveling domestically, you do not need a passport. This applies to both children and adults alike. Do not worry about going over a sea if you plan on going to Alaska or Hawaii since it is still the US. You also don’t need a passport if you are traveling to a US territory such as Puerto Rico or Guam.

As a US citizen, traveling locally does not mean that you can go to Canada or Mexico without a passport. Children and adults alike will need a passport to travel to either Canada or Mexico.

Traveling Outside the US

When traveling internationally, age is not a factor in needing a passport. Regardless of how young a child is, they will need a passport to travel to any other country. In addition to needing a passport, they will need to fill out an application.

A child must have their passport application filled out by a parent or guardian until they are 17 years old. At 17, they are still a minor but can fill out their form. When a minor under 17 is applying for a passport, they will need the following:

  • Parental photo ID
  • US birth certificate or other proof of US citizenship
  • Proof of parent’s citizenship
  • Evidence of relationship to a child from a parent or guardian
  • Parental consent for the application
  • Photo of the child (passport size)
  • DS-11 form completed
  • Fees Paid

Passport Processing Time

The time to process an application, adult or minor, can take between one to six weeks. Where you submit the papers will determine how long the process will take.

Applying at the local acceptance facilities like a post office, county clerk’s office, courthouse, or a library can take two to six weeks. The average time which cost the least will take four to six weeks. To expedite the application, at these same facilities, will take two to three weeks. It will cost an extra $60.

Other facilities like a regional passport agency or a private expediting company can get a passport in 24 hours. Regional passport agency charges one fee since it offers only one service. However, a private expediting company has various services at different prices.

Passport Cost

The cost of a child passport is less than the price of an adult. The price is less because it expires in five years. Unlike an adult passport, which expires every ten years. A child passport is $115, and an adult is $145.

To expedite a child passport application will cost $175. To use the same process for an adult application will cost $205. At any regional agency, the price for a child passport is $275, and an adult is $305. The price will vary at private expeditors.