What are the requirements for child passports?

Traveling with children is hard enough. Add in the travel planning before you go and it can be overwhelming. But we make the child passport process easy to understand. Do you need a passport for your upcoming international trip? Do children and minors need a passport?  YES.

Any United States citizen, no matter what age, traveling outside of the United States by air requires a passport. Confusion arises when a minor is traveling by land or sea to Canada or Mexico. It may be permissible for minors to travel to Canada and Mexico to use their birth certificate. However, the U.S. Department of State recommends all international travelers hold a valid passport book. If there is an emergency, you will not be able to fly home if you do not have a valid passport book. Here are the requirements in order to get a child passport.

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. If your newborn baby has not yet been issued a social security number, you may enter all zeros on the passport application.

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. You will need to submit the original birth certificate with the raised seal. All original documents will be returned with the new child passport.

Child Passport Photo

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 child at home! He or she must be present at the time of application. The acceptance agent will need to verify the identity of the application and the parents/guardians. Click here to find a Passport Acceptance Facility near you.

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). If a parent or guardian is unable to give consent, there are parental consent forms available that will be required.

Application Fees

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

Processing Times for Child Passports

It now takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks to receive a passport from the date of application. But you can get your child passports processed faster. RushMyPassport provides expedited child passport processing so you won’t miss your upcoming trip.