If you want to travel between the U.S. and another country, then you will need a passport. This includes children under the age of 18 and the rules for these minors are a bit different and more difficult than for those people applying who are over 18.
Proof of parents or guardian is needed
If your children need a passport, then both parents now have to apply for one at the same time and in person. If for some reason only one is available, then they have to totally fill out and get a Statement of Consent Form DS-3053 filled out and notarized in order for you to apply for a passport for your underage kids. Passport for children are necessary if you are traveling with kids below 16 years of age.
This gets a bit complicated if a parent has died, or if the child is adopted or other less often cases such as a parent with sole custody. Legal documentation must be shown in all of these cases and the proper paperwork filed when you go to get your child their passport. This includes paperwork such as s death certificate, adoption certificate, etc.
Don’t forget the requirement to have the proper size of photos of your children to submit with the passport documentation and applications. Many photo places like those in drug stores, or department stores can take these photos and get them in the proper format for you for relatively cheap prices and quickly.
Both children and adults applying for a passport need two photos which are on a white background and are sized two inches by two inches and they must be in color. The child must be positioned in the photo so that his face is one and three-eighths of an inch from the bottom of their chins to the top of their head. No glasses or hats can be worn unless they require glasses to see and have a prescription to wear them.
Other documents also needed
Besides the above documentation, the children’s parents have to bring a valid government ID like a driver’s license or a passport to show who you are and show your citizenship. Plus, you have to bring with you the child’s birth certificate to prove both of you are the parents, as your names must appear on the certificate. If your child wasn’t born in the United States, then you need further documentation, which would be either the birth certificate from the country in which the child was born or an FS-240, which is a form to get a foreign birth certificate. You will also need proof of the child’s social security number.
Next you must get the DS-11 form, which can be downloaded from the U.S. Department of State website and fill it out either in the paper format or online. Online is preferred if you want to do this in a quicker fashion. This is the actual passport application form.
After the aforementioned necessary documents are at hand, you need to download the application form DS-11. Completely answer the form and sign it. The US Department of State also has a website; you can also use their online application to apply for a passport for children. You can also track an application for either adults or children online. In most cases unless you pay an extra fee for expediting it, a passport can take four to six weeks to process and receive. You need to show proof that it is needed faster though, such as a plane ticket with a date of departure less than four weeks from the date of your applications.
If you choose to fill out the paperwork in hard copy, you can take it to a passport acceptance place, such as the post office, to turn it in. Since children must sign in front of a witness at the acceptance facility you may as way bring it in the hard copy format.
What do Passports Cost?
At the time of this report in 2011, it cost $105 to apply for a child’s passport. If you need it faster, there is an additional fee of $60. It depends on where you apply for the child’s passport as to what types of payment methods are accepted. Check ahead before heading off to make the application.
Special Passport requirements for ages 16 and 17
Even though children who are 16 and 17 have the same above paperwork requirements, they will not have to apply in person if they need to renew their passports at a later date, as they will be over 18 since passports are good for between five and 10 years depending on the type of passports.
Why were the new rules put into place?
You may wonder why the government decided to take the actions that made applying for a child’s passport more complicated. It was a measure to protect children from being abducted and taken out of the country by people other than the parents. It is not meant to make your life or vacation less enjoyable, it is just a measure to help children stay safe.
So, if you are getting ready to go on that great vacation of a lifetime to a location that requires a passport, then make plans early and have all the documentation in place and ready to bring to apply for a child’s passport along with your spouse. Be sure that everything is properly notarized and all documentation has the raised seals from the proper agencies so they are legal documents and not just copies.
Vacations are a fun time to relieve stress and have a good time. But if you don’t plan ahead, your vacation could be ruined for lack of a passport for you or your child. Therefore, follow the above rules and regulations when applying for a passport for any kids that are less than 18 years old. Enjoy your vacation.