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The 411 On Child Passports

Figuring out the who, what, when and how when it comes to traveling abroad with your children – the 411 on child passports – can be overwhelming.  Here’s for the busy parent looking for quick and easy instructions. We’ve broken it down for you so you can get the appropriate documents to travel when and where you need to with your infant or toddler.

international travel with kidsDo babies and toddlers need a passport?  YES. 

Any United States citizen, no matter what age, traveling outside of the United States by air requires a passport. The confusion can be when a minor is traveling by land or sea to Canada or Mexico they can use their birth certificate.  You can get additional information here.

Here is the 411 on child passports:

Passport Application

You must fill out Passport Application Form DS11. You may download it in advance or obtain it from the passport office. Do not sign the application until you are asked to do so in the presence of an Acceptance Agent.

Social Security Card
The passport application requires a Social Security Number.  If you have one, enter this information and bring your child’s Social Security card (and a photo copy) with you to the passport office. If you don’t have one, call the specific passport office you will be visiting in advance to be certain they will accept your application without one.

Birth Certificate
If you plan to travel within the first few months after a child is born, it is wise to put a rush on their birth certificate. Speak to the staff at the hospital or to your midwife (for a home birth) about how to do so. Once your birth certificate is filed and you are awaiting your copy, it is important to call the Registrar of Vital Statistics (the office that issues birth certificates) and additionally let them know that you will need to expedite the issuance of the birth certificate.

Two identical photos must be submitted along with your application.

Make Your Own Copies
Have both originals and copies of:

  • Applicant’s (Child’s) Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Mother’s photo ID (front and back)
  • Father’s Photo ID (front and back)
  • Any other additional documents needed for special circumstances (sole custody, Proof of Live Birth, etc.)


Minors Must Apply In Person
Don’t leave your baby at home! He or she must be present at the time of application. They need to take an oath! That seems very silly; but yes, an oath is is taken when anyone applies for a passport (in the case of a baby or toddler who can’t yet speak, it is read and the parents can swear to the oath on his or her behalf; but the person applying must be present for this oath). To find a Passport Acceptance Facility near you, please follow this link.

Both Parents
By law, both parents must be present at the time of application, along with the applicant.  If only one parent has sole legal custody of the minor, then they must provide proof of this, such as: being the only parent named on the child’s birth certificate or an official court order granting sole custody to that parent (original document and photo copy)

Application Fees
To see what fees are associated with obtaining your child’s passport, click here.

Final Checklist
Here’s a final checklist of everything you will want to have with you at the Passport Office.

  • Passport Application Form DS11
  • Birth Certificate
  • Photo copy of birth certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Photo copy of SSC
  • Mother’s Photo Identification (passport or State ID (must be from the state in which you are applying)
  • Photo copy of Mother’s Photo ID
  • Father’s Photo Identification (passport or State ID (must be from the state in which you are applying)
  • Photo Copy of Father’s ID
  • Application Fees (credit card, money order or personal check made out to the Department Of State)
  • Child Applicant must be present
  • One or Both parents must be present

Processing Times
It takes about 4-6 weeks to receive a passport from the date of application. This can be expedited for an additional fee (see above). If you are using the expedited service, you must prove that you are flying within two weeks by providing your airline tickets or an itinerary issued by the airline or travel service (a print out of an Expedia reservation, for instance, is fine). If you want to expedite, you must call the office in advance to make an appointment. The nationwide number to call is: (877) 487-2778.

Safe travels for you and your child!


Southwest Airline Flight Personnel Need Passport by End of 2013

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is planning to begin providing international service. They expect to offer the new service in 2014. The airline doesn’t currently fly to destinations outside of the United States. To prepare for this international phase of the airline’s history, Southwest announced that it would require all of its pilots and flight attendants to get passports by the end of 2013.

By making the announcement so far in advance, the airline is taking steps to ensure that none of their flight personnel will encounter any glitch or snafu that could potentially cause delays in the length of time it takes to get a passport.

The United States requires valid passports of all citizens who leave the continental United States, and a passport is required for re-entry into the country. The U.S. State Department website that deals with passports strongly urges people who are filing applications for passports to allow no less than three months for processing.

While the exact date of the notice that appeared in the Dallas Morning News is unclear, Southwest is providing itself and its employees with an extra cushion to ensure that entire process of applying for and obtaining a passport is as seamless as possible.

Southwest could have made the announcement via an internal memo to inform flight staff about the requirement. By making a more public announcement, the airline may be attempting to prepare its regular fliers for this new milestone in the airline’s history.

Southwest has developed a reputation for offering very low ticket prices, and for not charging passengers to check luggage. The flip side of that, however, is that those cheaper prices don’t allow passengers to reserve a specific seat. Arriving at the gate early is the key to getting a good seat.

Travel Alert: Measles Outbreak in Pakistan May Lead to International Travel Ban

An uncontrolled measles outbreak is taking its toll on Pakistan. A report released last month stated that less than four months into the new year, there have already been 25,401 reported cases of measles in Pakistan, and 146 children have already died as a result of this disease.

This uncontrolled measles outbreak may soon lead to an international travel ban in Pakistan.

Dr. Sania Nishtar, Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Technology, Education and Trainings, and Science and Technology, said that this was the second time a measles outbreak could not be prevented in Pakistan. She warned that this could lead to international isolation and a potential international travel ban.

In 2012, there were over 7,000 laboratory confirmed cases of measles in Pakistan. Of those cases, tests show that 60 percent of the children had never received a single dose of measles vaccine, while another 20 percent had been given only a single dose.

Dr. Qamarul Hasan, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) focal person on the measles outbreak in Pakistan said that Pakistan is one of the top five countries in the world having the highest number of unvaccinated children.

When planning to travel abroad, always stay informed about potential health alerts in your destination.  The US Department of State provides country specific information on Travel.State.Gov with requirements for entry, health and medical conditions, and more.

If international travel plans to Pakistan are on your agenda this year, be aware that both a valid US passport as well as a valid Pakistani visa is required for entry into Pakistan by US citizens.  Additional information for obtaining a Pakistani visa can be found on the Embassy of Pakistan’s website or by contacting one of the locations below.

Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC
Consular Office Washington DC
3517 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008.

New York Consulate
Consulate General of Pakistan
12 East, 65th Street
New York, NY  10065

Los Angeles Consulate
Consulate General of Pakistan
10850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250
Los Angeles, CA 90024.

Chicago Consulate
Consulate General of Pakistan
333 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 728
Chicago, IL  60601

Houston Consulate
Consulate General of Pakistan
11850 Jones Road
Houston, TX  77070

Alternately, you can get your Pakistani travel visa online at  While no international travel ban has been issued yet, this measles outbreak in Pakistan is a potential health risk that you should know about before traveling to the country.

2013 Record International Travel Predicted

International travel will hit record highs this year, at least that’s the prediction from Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines.

In its annual forecast, A4A predicts that this year U.S. airlines will carry close to 209 million global passengers during the height of summer travel (June through August, 2013). Included in that estimate are 27 million international travelers.

If this forecast runs true, summer air travel this year will reach its highest peak in five years. When will airports and airlines be most crowded? The busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between mid-Jun and the first week of August.

Top 25 International Travel Destinations











With the busiest international travel season ahead, passport processing times can be higher than normal.  If you are planning international travel and still need to apply for a new U.S. passport, name change, or add pages to an existing passport, get started now.

If your passport will be expiring within 6-7 months of your planned travel date, get it renewed.  Be aware that some countries require for your passport to be valid for 6 months beyond your arrival date – or from your departure date – depending on the rules in each country.  For example, Brazil and China base their six-month rule on the arrival date.

If you’re short on time (or patience), consider getting an expedited passport.

Your US Passport Can Take You to Japan- but is it Safe?

More than four months after an earthquake and a tsunami delivered a devastating one-two punch to Japan, the tourism industry is still reeling from the blow. Perceptions about the safety of the country (or lack thereof) are keeping many Americans away.

Japan’s travel industry tends to rely on well-heeled travelers, but according to the New York Times, tourist visits are down 50 percent. Meanwhile, Daniel Simon, the general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, told the newspaper that “we don’t really think the high-end leisure traveler will come back until Chinese New Year 2012 because there’s still too much negative news in the media about Japan.”

So, high-end travelers are staying away. More intrepid travelers might very well say, “Let them.” Though the country will likely experience aftershocks for some time, the actual risks of traveling to Japan are low. For example, according to the US Department of State,

The “health and safety risks to land areas which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens. Out of an abundance of caution, we continue to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid travel to destinations within the 50-mile evacuation zone of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.”

And that’s it…just avoid a circle of the country that’s a 100 miles in diameter, out of a total area of 145,925 square miles. That means that almost 95% of the country is still safe to visit. Even within that 50 mile radius, the Department of State says it’s perfectly fine to travel as long as you’re just passing through via train or through Sendaki airport.

Everyone has their own tolerance for risk, of course. If you feel the risks of traveling to Japan are acceptable, there are certain advantages to going now instead of waiting: you’ll pay less for everything from tickets to lodging, and you’ll spend less time waiting in line.

Masaki Hirata, the executive director of marketing and promotion at the Japan National Tourism Organization, told the New York Times that since the disaster, “It’s less crowded now, and package tour prices are down 20 to 50 percent.”

If you do decide to go, you’ll need a US passport if you don’t have one already. Be careful about booking last-minute plane tickets without a passport, because it can take at least six weeks for your documents to arrive in the mail after you apply. Even with expedited processing through the Department of State (1 $60 fee), you can expect to wait three weeks.

What’s a spur-of-the-moment traveler to do? For faster service, you can make an appointment at one of twenty-four regional passport agencies, or take the easy way out by using a private passport service like RushMyPassport. We deliver your passport application directly to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.

Let us help you get your US passport today!


Only 30% of Americans Have a US Passport

How many people do you know who actually have a US passport? Unlike, say, a driver’s license, a passport isn’t one of those documents that everyone has. In fact, according to CNN, only 30% of Americans have a passport- about 1 in 3. Compare that to Canada, where 60% of citizens have passports, or the UK, where 75% of citizens do, and you can see just how low that percentage really is.

Why do only 30% of Americans have a passport? The obvious answer is that we simply don’t travel abroad as much as people in other countries do. According to CNN, Americans took approximately 61.5 million trips overseas in 2009. That may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t when you consider how many people live here. Also, that number is down 3% from 2008.

So what’s the deal? Are we that provincial, just unwilling to deal with even minor cultural differences? Maybe that’s part of it. CNN quotes Matthew Kepnes of, who says “Not taking the leap is comforting, because this is the American life. Breaking outside anything that is your norm is scary.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Bommarito,executive vice president and chief operating officer for the U.S. Travel Association, sounds a similar note: “Americans are comfortable in their own environment.” (more…)

Get a Passport and Save on Travel With Daily Deal Sites

“Daily deal” sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are the “next big thing.” These sites allow you to purchase vouchers for products and services for deep discounts, usually 50% and often more. These sales only last for brief periods of time, usually for only one day.

You may have used these sites to save money at local restaurants or to finally treat yourself to that long-overdue massage. But did you know that you can also use them to save on trips to Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond?

It’s true-by carefully monitoring these sites and getting deals while the getting is good, you can get a nice vacation without spending a lot of money. For example, LivingSocial recently offered a four-night stay for two at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun for $1,479. You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to deals posted in your city, either. When purchasing a deal posted in another city, just read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure that redeeming the voucher before it expires is going to be practical for you.

So, how do you find these deals? Clicking on every single city on every single deal site to find travel deals that you can use takes WAY too much time. Your best bet is to use an aggregator like Dealery or YipIt. Selecting your city on Dealery will show you both local deals and nationwide deals, and there’s also a section exclusively for vacations. To use YipIt, you have to subscribe by email, but you can choose the types of deals you want to receive emails about.

There are also daily deal/flash sale sites devoted exclusively to travel. For example, features flash sales from luxury hotels around the world, while Groupenture offers discounted adventure travel packages- the more people who buy a package, the cheaper it gets.

Of course, if you’re leaving the country, you’ll need to get a passport first. Currently, according to the Department of State it’s taking at least 6 weeks to get a passport with normal processing, and at least 3 weeks with expedited processing. However, RushMyPassport can help you get your application processed in as little as 24 hours, with no need to make an appointment or wait in line at a passport agency.

Found a “daily deal” you like? Let us help you get a passport today!

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is an incredible country. Whether your goal is to explore the jungle or simply lounge on the beach, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. But do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica? What do US citizens need to get into the country?

According to the Department of State, you definitely need a passport to enter Costa Rica. If you don’t have one, get one before you travel. Equally important, if you have a passport already, check the expiration date. To enter Costa Rica, it’s not enough simply to have a valid passport. Your passport has to be good for at least 30 days after you arrive. If your passport expires in less than 30 days, you won’t get into the country. You’ll also need to show proof that you plan to leave: either a ticket home or a ticket to another country.

The passport requirement for Costa Rica exists even for visitors who arrive on a round-trip cruise from the United States. You will still need a passport to enter the country.

As you plan your Costa Rican adventure, make sure you allow enough time for your new passport to arrive. Currently, it’s taking at least 6 weeks for passport applications to be processed. If you spend an extra $60 for expedited processing, you’ll still be stuck waiting at least 3 weeks for your passport to arrive in the mail.

However, there is still hope if you’ve waited until the last minute or just happened to notice that your passport expires in less than 30 days from the day you plan to enter Costa Rica.  If you’re traveling in less than 14 days, you are eligible to make an appointment at a regional passport agency office. These facilities can issue passports in 24 hours or less, but there are few caveats you should be aware of.

First, there are only 21 passport agency offices serving the entire US at this time, although the Department of State plans to open more over the next year. That means you may have to travel a significant distance to get to the office. Second, these offices generally have limited hours of operation, so you’ll probably have to take off work to get there when they’re open. Depending on your employer, this might be easier said than done.

The easiest way to get your passport in time is to use a private company like RushMyPassport. We’ll meet with the Department of State on your behalf to submit your passport application, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours.

Need a passport in a hurry? Let us help!

Top 5 Reasons to Get a Passport in 2011

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to start planning the places you’ll go in 2011. To help you get started, I’ve hand-picked 5 of the best destinations recommended by travel experts – 5 great reasons to get a passport in 2011!

London, England

Travel experts agree: this is London’s year. The upcoming marriage of Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton is expected to attract a flurry of tourists from England, America and beyond, all there to bask in the pomp and circumstance that surrounds a royal wedding.

But the Telegraph has what I personally consider a much better suggestion: skip the wedding. Watch it on TV. Then, go later in the year, after things have died down a bit, and stay in one of the new luxury hotels that are opening in the city.

Turin, Italy

Turin is one of those cities that’s often overlooked, taking a backseat to more famous Italian jewels like Rome and Florence. Not this year. According to the Guardian, art lovers will converge upon Turin in 2011 as the city celebrates the 150th anniversary of Italian unification with stellar exhibitions of both Renaissance and modern art.


USAToday notes that “2011 will mark Curacao’s first full year as an autonomous nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, adding a new chapter to the island’s rich history.” Why not go out and see the Caribbean’s newest island nation for yourself?

New Zealand

New Zealand is an exciting place to be this year, with the Auckland Arts Festival for art lovers, the World Rugby Cup for sports fans and the filming of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit for geeks.


Why Iceland? Hot springs, breathtaking scenery and a smoking nightlife are combined with prices that are still quite reasonable. Even better, new airline routes make it easier than ever to get to.

Of course, to visit any of these destinations you’ll need to get a passport. Apply early, as it takes about 6 weeks if you apply for regular processing. You can get a passport in 3 weeks if you pay an additional $60 for expedited processing. If you need it sooner, your only options are to make an appointment at a regional passport agency office or apply through an expediting company like An expediting company is definitely more convenient, as you don’t have to make an appointment, travel to a passport agency or wait in line.

Don’t wait – Get a passport today!

Renew Your Passport and Enter Finnair’s New Contest

Wouldn’t you love to get paid to travel? Winners of Finnair’s new “Quality Hunters” contest get to do just that: get paid to fly to Finnair’s destinations and evaluate their experiences. (h/t Jaunted). Here’s how Finnair describes the contest on its website:

Ever dreamed of getting paid to explore the world? Finnair, one of the world’s longest continuously operating airlines, offers you the adventure of a lifetime. We are on a global search for four Quality Hunters; intrepid, outspoken and discerning individuals whose task is to travel to Finnair’s destinations in Europe, Asia and the US for a period of two months in search of quality experiences.

The 4 contest winners will be traveling from October and November 2010. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, if you vote for the top Quality Hunter on the Rethinking Quality blog, you’ll be entered to win free international air tickets from Europe to Asia.

Of course, one of the questions on the online application is whether or not you have a valid passport. If you haven’t been out of the country in a while, you should probably go check your expiration date and see if it’s time to renew your passport.

Passport renewal by mail using the government’s standard service generally takes at least 6 weeks. To renew your passport with expedited service, you should allow at least 3 weeks. 3 weeks is a long time to wait, but it’s better than 6 weeks. Fortunately, if you have a confirmed itinerary that shows you need it sooner, you can either make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency office or use a private passport expediting company like

RushMyPassport walks you through the application process step-by-step, cutting down on both the frustration of filling out complicated paperwork and the chances of making an error that could delay your application. Then, we hand-deliver your application to the Department of State, cutting the processing time needed to renew your passport to as little as 24 hours.

Time for a renewal? Renew your passport the easy way!