You’re planning your family’s next big adventure abroad, and you’ve checked to make sure your passport is valid, or maybe you’ve recently had it renewed… But what about your children’s passports? US Passport services are available 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 $100.00 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 5-7 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.