So you decided on a family trip out of the country. You found a time, set the budget, picked up plane tickets and booked the lodging. Now to get your child’s passport. Where do you start? Getting ready for a trip in the states? Take a look our camping prep for a 3 week trip.
Local Post Office
I personally like to talk face to face with a human when working through complicated procedures like my child’s passport. Luckily, I live in a small town where the postmaster still has time to chat with his patrons.
By going to the post office in a non-rush time (mid-morning or mid-afternoon) I secured a chat with my postmaster about passports for a fall trip to Europe.
If you live in a busy city where chatting with the postmaster would be difficult; all the directions for obtaining your child’s passport are located on the travel.state.gov website.
I am going to outline the basics below, but please read the website carefully as you don’t want to hold-up the process or have to do it a second time.
Main Facts About Getting Your Child’s Passport (Under 16 Years)
- All children need passports to travel out of the USA–newborns and Infants included.
- Passports for minors expire every five years.
- Child Passports can’t be renewed like adult passports. A new application, citizenship documents, and pictures must be summited.
- Passports for minors must be done in person by both parents and the child.
- Fill Out the Passport Application on Line. While you can fill out the passport application online you can not submit it by mail or electronically.
- Typically takes 6-8 weeks for a passport to arrive
Offical Documents You will Need for Your Child’s Passport Application
- Form DS-11 which can be filled out online and printed before you go to the official passport site–or obtain a form from your local post office. You can print out the PDF form from your computer and fill it out in black ink only by hand.
- Provide Proof of Citizenship (one of the following)
- USA Birth Certificate (original or official copy)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Citizenship
You must submit a photocopy or an official copy of one of these documents at the time of application.
3. Establish Parental Relationship
- U.S. birth certificate (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)
- Foreign birth certificate
- Adoption decree
- Divorce/Custody decree
Here is where it might get tricky. The easiest way to complete an application for a child’s passport is for both parents to be present during the application process with their official I.D.’s (drivers licenses, passport, birth certificates.). If that is not possible there are workarounds.
4. Provide Photo
Many post offices will take passport photos for a fee. Find directions for the exact specification for passport photos here. Want to take one at home? The HuffPost explains how in an article. Personally, I would rather have the PO do it and know that it is correct than save a few dollars. Cost at my local Post Office is $15 for 2 official photographs.
Child’s Passport Application if A Parent is Absent
- Option 1: Prove that you have sole custody of the child by official court order, adoption, death certificate of other parent or that their birth certificate only lists one parent.
- Option 2: File one of the following forms – please read these forms carefully as it may vary in different countries.
- Option 3: When neither parent can appear, notarized statements from both parents plus photocopies of official identification are required to start the process.
The base fee for a Child’s Passport is $80. You can pay by check or money order only in the exact amount.
The Execution Acceptance Fee is $35. Paid separately by check, money order or at some locations by credit card.
Rush orders of the passport or overnight or expedited shipping can add other fees. Without extra fees a child’s passport will cost $115. Use the above fee calculator for more accurate numbers according to your circumstances.
Final Note on Passports
As United States citizens we travel freely in a large country where you do not need a passport to cross state lines. A sports team playing in Utah does not need paperwork to play a game in California.
This is not true for most of the world. Travel offers a great opportunity to explain the lifestyles, customs, and freedoms of our country. For European children, passports are a way of life. Holidays, sporting events, and schooling may require a change in country location.
With our trip to Europe this fall, I am hoping to teach my boys how to handle themselves during border crossings, admittance to different countries and what to do in case of an emergency. Just the basic etiquette and safety will be our goals this trip, plus a whole lot of fun. Follow us on Instagram @thejoyousfamily for all the candid pics!