Did you know that a child passport is only good for five years? Adult passports last for ten years, so it’s all too common for families to forget to renew their children’s passports when they expire.
So, if your child has a passport, do yourself a favor and go check the expiration date. Has it expired already? Is it going to expire in the next six months? If so, you’ll need to get it replaced before traveling. Here’s everything you need to know to renew a child passport.
How to Renew a Child Passport
So, how do you renew a child passport? That’s actually a trick question. You’re only eligible to use passport renewal form DS-82 if you got your last passport after you turned 16.
You can replace your child’s expired passport with a new one, but you’ll have to go to a passport office in person to apply.
The procedure to renew a child passport is slightly different depending on whether or not your child is under the age of 16.
Step 1: Gather your documents
Here’s what you need to renew a child passport if your child is under 16:
- Passport Application Form DS-11. This is the same form you’d use if you were applying for a passport for the first time. Use black ink, and don’t sign it until you’re at the passport office and the acceptance agent tells you to do so.
- Proof of citizenship for the child. You can use your child’s birth certificate or their expired passport for this, as long as it’s in good condition.
- Proof of your relationship to the child. For this, you can use a birth certificate with both parents’ names, a Report of Birth Abroad with both parents’ names, adoption decree with both parents’ names, or a court order establishing custody or guardianship.
- Proof of identity for both parents.
- Parental consent: For a child under the age of 16 to get a passport, both parents must consent. But what if both parents can’t go to the passport office? Or what if you’re a single parent? In that case, you’ll need one of the following documents: A notarized statement of consent 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 Department of State will accept).
- 2 Passport photos: Make sure your passport photo is government compliant. We recommend the Passport Photo Creator mobile app so you can take a compliant photo that you approve.
If Your Child is 16-17
16 and 17-year-olds are almost grown up. They can’t vote, but they can drive. And they’ll get an adult passport, complete with the standard 10-year validity period. Here’s what you need to get your teen’s passport renewed before they flee the nest:
- Passport Application Form DS-11.
- Proof of citizenship for the child.
- Proof of identity. Your child can use their own driver’s license. Or, if they don’t have one, they can use a parent’s ID instead.
- Parental consent: For older teens, only one parent has to tag along to demonstrate “awareness.”
- 2 passport photos: Make sure your passport photo is government compliant. We recommend the Passport Photo Creator mobile app so you can take a compliant photo that you approve.
Step 2: Find a passport office.
Most people apply at a post office, but there are often passport offices in libraries and local government buildings, as well. Use this tool from the Department of State for a complete list of passport offices near you.
At the passport office, you’ll meet with a passport acceptance agent who will review your documents, take your payment, and watch you sign the application form. Then, they’ll send the completed application to the Department of State for processing.
Step 3: Pay the application fee.
Fees vary depending on how old your child is.
Here’s what you’ll pay for a child under 16:
- Passport book: $80 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- Passport card: $15 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- Passport book and card: $95 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- If you need your passport in 3 weeks or less, you’ll pay a $60 expedite fee.
For children over 16:
- Passport book: $110 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- Passport card: $30 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- Passport book and card: $140 application fee plus a $35 execution fee.
- $60 expedite fee, if applicable.
Now, all you have to do is wait.
How to Renew a Child Passport Quickly
If you apply at a post office, typical passport processing time is 4-6 weeks for regular service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service.
But what if you need it sooner than that? You have two options: find the nearest regional passport agency, or use a private passport expediting service.
Both options can get your child a shiny new passport quickly, with processing times as quick as 24 hours.
But a private passport expediting company is often a more convenient option for faster service.
You may not live near a regional passport agency, so visiting the nearest location could mean a road trip. Can you say “Are we there, yet?”
Even if you do have one close by, most have limited operating hours and require an appointment. As a result, you may have to miss work, school or extracurricular activities to get your child to the office at the scheduled time.
With a private expediting company, there’s no need for any of that. By Fed-Exing your child’s documents to an expediting company after being verified at the post office, his or her passport application can be processed in as little as 24 hours. Renew your child’s passport with RushMyPassport.com today!
This post has been updated as of April 2018 with current information.