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US Passports For Children

If you’re traveling out of the country with your family, here is important information on child passports.

If traveling outside the US, does my child need a passport?

In most cases, yes. Even infants need a passport to travel outside of the country. The only exception is for children under the age of 16 traveling by land or sea between countries covered by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and most Caribbean nations). Here, children under 16 traveling can use a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship to re-enter the US through a port or a land border crossing.  However, if you’re traveling internationally by plane, your child needs a passport even if you’re only going to Mexico or Canada.

How Do I Get a Passport for My Child?

Children must apply for passports in person at a passport acceptance agency such as a post office or courthouse or passport office. Like adults, children must fill out the US passport application form DS-11 and provide proof of citizenship.  However, in most cases both parents must consent before a child can be issued a passport.  So, there are extra steps that need to be taken when applying for a child’s passport, depending on the circumstances:

  • Both parents can appear with the child to submit form DS-11. Both parents must have identification, and you must bring proof of your relationship to the child, such as a birth certificate or court order granting guardianship. The proof of relationship should have both parents’ names on it.
  • One parent can appear in person with ID and proof of relationship, and bring a notarized copy of Form DS-3053 signed by the other parent.
  • If you have sole legal custody, you can appear in person with ID, proof of relationship, and legal evidence that you have sole legal custody of the child in question.
  • Have a third party appear with the child with a notarized statement from both parents authorizing the third party to apply for a passport for their child.
  • 16 and 17-year-olds can use either their own photo ID or their parents’ photo ID if they don’t have any of their own.
  • You must also submit 2 acceptable passport photos of the child.
  • Pay the $80.00 passport fee to get a passport book for minors under 16. Expedited service through the government is available for an additional $60.00, and can cut your wait time to 3 weeks.

If you need to get expedited passport services for your child, your best bet is to use a private passport expediting company. Companies like work with the government to get your child’s passport application processed quickly. If necessary, we can get your child a passport in as little as 24 hours!

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55 Responses to “US Passports For Children”

  1. m0

    Don’t you need a passport for travel to mexico now (for a child or
    anyone for that matter..?) I saw this was posted on the 5th of 2009…

  2. Alison Kroulek

    Hi, and thanks for your question!

    Currently, you don’t need a passport to travel to Mexico if you’re traveling by land or sea. You do need a passport if you’re flying. However, the second phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel initiative is set to go into effect on June 1, 2009. Once it does, all adults traveling to Mexico by land or sea will also need to have passports. However, at this time, the government is saying that children under the age of 16 traveling with adults will still be able to use birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to travel to Mexico by land or sea after June 1, 2009. They will need passports if they are traveling by air, just like they do now. For more information about the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, go to this page:
    That being said, if you’re traveling out of the country with your children, it’s best to go ahead and get them passports. That way, you’re covered if you have to fly home with them unexpectedly!

  3. elijah

    Hello my name is Elijah Jeong and I have a unusual circumstance for my child.

    I live in Korea with my life due to my work, and my children live over in Seattle.

    My youngest child who is 13, his passport expired this year. This summer we are going to probably going to need him to come out due to his grandmother being ill, and probably the last time he will be able to see her. Both me and my wife due to work and taking care of my mother will not be able to take the trip to the United States. Is there any other way to get the passport?

    Like can I get something notarized from Korea, for both parents will it work?

  4. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Elijah,

    First of all, I’m so sorry your mother isn’t well! I definitely understand needing to get your son to Korea to see her. To get his passport renewed, you’ll need to have someone take him to a passport acceptance facility to apply for a new passport in person. Have them bring a notarized written statement or affidavit from both you and your wife. The statement should give the person who is taking him to the acceptance facility permission to apply for his passport on your behalf. As long as the person who takes him has a notarized statement from both parents, he shouldn’t have any problems getting a new passport.

  5. Obtaining a Passport For a Family Cruise - Blog

    […] Obtaining a passport for a child under the age of 16 is a little bit more time-consuming than obtaining a passport for an adult, because both parents have to provide consent. This link will give you more details about obtaining a child passport. […]

  6. How To Get an Expedited Passport for your Internationally Adopted Child - Blog

    […] both parents are unable to appear at the acceptance agency to give consent, read this post on getting a child passport to learn about other options for meeting the parental consent […]

  7. Passport Renewal For Children - Blog

    […] from the absent parent, or evidence that the parent who brought the child in has sole custody (see Passport Services for Children for a list of what the US Passport Agency will […]

  8. Omee

    Hi.i like to i can travle out of country wid my 3 years old
    daughter .coz her father not respond me,n he not ler my sign the passpor
    .so pls tell me what is the any legal way in which i can trval wid my
    3 yars old dauthter.with out sign her father.,becoz we not live togther
    he have other marrige.,now.
    so pls tell me what is any passible way
    will wait for u fast rply
    Best regard,.

  9. OHNI


  10. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Ohni,

    Well, it depends. Do you have sole custody? If you have sole legal custody, just bring the court order that granted you custody in when you apply for her passport. If you don’t have sole legal custody, you can try to get a court order specifically permitting you to travel. For more information, check out the US Department of State’s webpage:

    Best of luck to you!

  11. kristina

    hi im only 16 years old and im illgitimate child i just went here like lastt year im immigrant and my father is american citizen,can i apply for us passport?? :) thanks.

  12. Vilour Gatchalian


    My children (14 and 12 yrs. old), both US passport Holder will be travelling to US from Canada with their Maternal Grand Mother, who is a Canadian Citizen. If we provided a consent letter to them, will that be enough for the immigration officer or border security to not question my children or their grand mother. My wife and I will not be able to go with them due to our work load at this time. Please advise. Thanks in advance.


  13. Chris

    My friend had a boyfriend for a few years and she got pregnant. She put her boyfriends last name and afew weeks later, he stop helping her. She moved to Maryland where her brothers are staying. She has all the records of the immunization of the child and the WIC documents that she sighns. She also has all the medical records and just proff that she is takeing good care of her daughter. The daughters father dont do nothing for her or the child. She wants to send her daughter over seas to see her grandma. The passport agincy told her that she needs the fathers signature, but the problim is that the father dosn’t want her daughter to get a passport, besides he lives all the way in California and she lives in Maryland. What can she do to get her daugher a US Passport. The child was born in California and she has the birth Certificat and all the documents needed. How can I help my friend on the whole passport issue.

  14. Kalee

    hi im 16 now, but when i go on a cruise its just to the western part of the caribbean and me and my friend were wondering if we need a passport for just around the caribbean

  15. Michele

    I am planning to take my 14 year old daughter to Jamaica in October.
    I have had sole custody since the day she was born.
    I was informed that her father who is in her life and does pay minimal
    support would need to sign agreeing to get her pasport. Is this true?
    He is reluctant to do so. Since I have sole custody is his signature
    truely needed? Thank You.

  16. Alison Kroulek

    @ Kalee-it depends on whether your cruise is a “closed-loop cruise.” If your cruise ends in the same American port it began in, then you can just use photo ID and a birth certificate. If it ends in a different port than it started from, you need a passport or a passport card.

    @ Chris- If your friend has been given sole custody of the child in court, she can submit documentation of that. If she doesn’t have that, she can try submitting a signed, notarized copy of form DS-3053 stating why she cannot get the father’s consent.

    @Vilour, according to US Embassy Canada, that should be fine, but make sure both you ands your wife sign it. For more information:

    @Kristina-If you are a US citizen, you can apply for a passport.

  17. lily

    can my 10-year old sign his own passport?

  18. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Lily,

    Yes, just make sure you have all of the correct documents.

  19. Dama

    I would like to get passports for my child. Though i was told I need to have both parents signatures on the application. The problem is the father’s name is not on the birth certicate and i have no contact with him in several years. What can i do to get a passport for my child?

  20. admin

    If the birth certificate only lists you, you can just bring a certified copy of the birth certificate with you. See the Department of State’s page on passport services for children.

  21. Andi

    The clerk at the post office told me my son would never be allowed to obtain a passport with his buio fathers consent. The father is listed on birth certificate. However, he left the state in 2002, never heard from him, no support from him, we were never married. I have no idea where he’s at. I do have a letter from a lawyer indicating in 2002 we looked for him (I was changing my son’s last name to mine). However, I have nothing stating I have sole custody. I filled out a DS-3053 as well and has been notarized. Can my son still be denied a passport? Is there something I else I could do?
    Thank you!!

  22. admin

    Hi Andi,

    Filling out Form DS-3053 was the right thing to do. It’s up to the Department of State now. The only other thing you could do would be to go to court and either get sole legal custody or just get a court order permitting your son to travel. If they turn down the DS-3053, you might try that.

    Hope that helps!

  23. Stephanie


    I want to get my passport just to have. I was first issued a passport when I was six years old. So, it expired when I was eleven. My father has since misplaced it. Should I check the box that says I was issued a passport?

    Also… since I am sixteen years old, do I need my parents to go with me to get my passport? Or can I go by myself?

  24. admin

    Hi Stephanie,

    Go ahead and check the box that says you’ve been issued a passport, and fill out Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport in addition to your passport application. Yes, if you’re 16 you do still a parent to go with you.

  25. jummy

    i am 14 and wondering if i can get a passprt with only 1 parent signiture and without the other parent or there signiture.

  26. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jummy,

    You need both parents’ permission to get a passport if you’re under 16, unless the parent who goes with you has sole legal custody of you. In that case, the parent you apply with can bring proof that he or she has sole custody of you along with the other documents listed in the article. This could include: a birth certificate or adoption decree with only that parents’ name on it or a court order granting sole custody. Depending on the circumstances, legal proof that the other parent is deceased or legally incompetent could also be used if applicable.

    Obviously, I don’t know what your circumstances are, but if none of the above documents are available, you can either get a court order permitting you to travel outside the country with just the one parent or you can submit a form explaining why you aren’t able to get the other parents’ permission. If you choose the second option, it’s really up to the Department of State whether they issue the passport or not.

    Good luck!

  27. ShyAnn

    hi, im traviling to mexico in 2012 with my 3 yr old daughter do i need a passport for her? I have a passport my self and her father is a illegal immagrant (getting legal) so do i?

  28. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Shyann,

    It depends on how you plan to travel. If you are flying, then yes, you will need a passport. However, if you traveling by land, you can get away with a passport for you and a birth certificate for her. Also, if her father is not traveling with you, you’ll a notarized letter from him showing that she has his permission to travel to Mexico. Have a great trip!

  29. Laila

    I m trying to apply for a passport for my daughter and I’m facing an issue with the fact that her birth certificate has my maiden name listed and it doesn’t match my driver’s license. I used to be married, got a divorce 3 years ago and never took my maiden name back. when I gave birth I was asked for all of my names so I listed my maiden name as well and they put it on my daughters birth certificate. Now I’m being asked to provide a legal document showing a name change but I dont have any, would my marriage certificate work? As a clarification my daughter’s
    father isn’t my ex husband. Thank you!

  30. admin

    Hi Laila,

    Yes, your marriage license should be fine. That’s legal proof of the name change-it shows that the name listed on the birth certificate was yours before you got married. :)

    Now, if your daughter’s father is listed on the birth certificate, you will need to show that you have his permission to have her passport issued. Just print out Form DS-3053 and have him fill it out and have it notarized. Here’s a link:

    Good luck!

  31. aj

    K… here is a complicated situation… I was pregnant with my daughter by an exboyfriend when I got married to my current husband. When she was born my husband was automaticaly listed as the father since WI has an automatic paternity law. I gave my daughter her biological fathers last name even though my husband and my last name are different. My ex, the biological dad has never been in her life and has been in another country since before she was born. My husband nor I have ever contested his paternity or his name listed on the birth certificate. He is for all legal reasons her father since his name is on the birth certificate. Now that we have applied for her passport, they called and said I needed to explain the origin of my daughters last name. I briefly explained it and she said that I might need to change her last name or get court papers stating my husband, father on the b certificate, has legal custody of her. Why would it matter if both parents listed on her b cert signed and submitted the req id/papers? Why would I need to explain the origin of her last name? I could have given her any random last name I wanted when she was born….so does it matter if both parents on the b cert signed?

  32. Alison Kroulek

    Hi AJ,

    That is complicated. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of this, especially since your husband is legally and practically the only father she has.

    Generally, the requirements for having both the mother and the father sign off on a passport application for a minor are there to protect children from being abducted. You’re right that it doesn’t make sense for them to ask you to change her last name or to get court papers since his name is on the birth certificate and he’s legally the father.

    That said, you have to take this issue up directly with the passport agency. I’m not sure why it would matter to them, but apparently it does. Maybe call back and ask to speak to a supervisor?

  33. Connie Garcia

    We are planning a vacation to Mexico and this time my 14 year old nephew would like to come. However, neither he or his parents can afford a passport at this time. Is he able to return to the US without one? and Do we need a letter stating that he has permission to come with us? Thanks!!

  34. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Connie,

    You do need a notarized letter with permission from both of his parents. If you’re driving into Mexico, I suggest getting him the cheaper passport card. If you’re flying, he absolutely needs a passport book. Hope this helps!

  35. Diana

    When I got my passport on 1st Jul 2008 I was 13 years old (now 17). I have never really used it, so I never ‘signed’ the “Signature of Bearer” line.
    I am traveling this week, so I think I must have it signed.
    But should I sign it myself? or should I have it signed by one of my parents?
    If it’s the latter, how should one of them sign it? Thank you!

  36. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Diana,

    You do need to sign it, but you can sign it yourself. Have a great trip!

  37. gaby loa

    DOes my 3 year old needs a passport if he is going to travel by air with mu uncle from GA to EL paso texas???

  38. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Gaby,

    Not at all, since he’s not leaving the US. However, you may want to include a notarized letter from you giving permission for him to travel with his uncle, just in case anyone asks.

  39. Maria

    Hi, my ex-husband lives in mexico and he sign the consent form to get a passport for my 15 year old in 2009. I want to take my son to cancun do I need to have another consent form from my ex-husband? Thank you Maria.

  40. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Maria,

    How old is your son? If he’s under 16, you definitely need it. Even if he’s 16 or 17, “You may be requested to provide written parental consent for a child age 16 or 17 if it is not implied on the application.”

  41. Alex

    My son’s father lives in Mexico. He needs to sign the consent form… but does this have to be notarized thru the Embassy or any notary?

  42. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Alex,

    It does need to be notarized through a US notary. Preferably, he would go to the Embassy, but he should be able to get it done anywhere US notary services are available. He will need to present Mexican passport or some other official form of ID when getting the form notarized. Hope this helps!

  43. Mabel

    My husband and I are driving to México in a few weeks for my nephews baptism. My 18 months old baby is coming With us. Does he needs a passport or birthday certificate and SS Card are enough?

  44. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Mabel,

    Since you’re driving, your 18-month-old can use his state-issued birth certificate (make sure it has a raised seal). You and your husband need either passports or passport cards. Have a great trip!

  45. Sandra Robles

    Hi my question is does my daughter need a passport to travel to korea?
    She is a 4 year old but her Dad is in the military And is station in korea. Please help

  46. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Sandra,

    Yes, she needs a passport. Hope this helps!

  47. Millie

    Hi, I need your help. I have two kids 10 and 12, How can I get a passport for them when their father is deceased and I can not get a death certificate because the family and the funeral home did not file one. This is not thier first passport so I don,t understand why they are giveing such a hard time now, when I obtained the first one without him before, because the kids always live with me. Thank you

  48. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Millie,

    How frustrating! The passport agency is required to either get the consent of both parents before issuing a passport to a minor or obtain proof that either the other parent is deceased or that the applying parent has sole custody. You probably had to submit your custody arrangement with the application when you got their passports before.

    Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and ask if there is anything you can submit other than a death certificate. If all else fails, use Form DS-3053 to file a Statement of Special Circumstances explaining why you are unable to obtain his consent.

  49. Katharine

    Hi i am 17 and planning on going on a mission trip with my church this summer. I no longer live with my parents and they do not take care of me. Do i need them to come in with me or give consent? My dad is completely untrusting of any other place besides our home city and i dont think he would give consent. Can i have my mom give consent even if she does not have custody of me?
    thank you

  50. jazmine ramirez

    Hi my name is jazmine

    I have a question my husband is trying to get passports from his two daughters but they are in mexico the girls are 3 and 2 years old but he tried to get the passports but they wouldnt give him the passports cause the girls are not here there still in mexico so I want to and he does if its okay if the can cross with there birth certificate?

  51. Alison Kroulek

    They will need a birth certificate as well to cross the border.
    This article will help –

  52. Alison Kroulek

    Hi Jazmine, thanks for your comment. Most likely you will need a passport. Check out this article – it will help:

  53. Alison Kroulek

    I would call our customer service line – 877-503-9838 as they will be able to provide you with that specific information.

  54. Kerri Kaufmann


  55. Gracie

    I am filling out a passport application for my 14yr old daughter. It asks for parents name at birth. I was adopted and issued a new birth certificate with my adopted last name. Do I list my original last name on my daughters application or the name on my reissued birth certificate?

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