Now children travel more than before, and even babies have passports.
Since the pandemic, more and more parents in the United States believe that learning about the world outside of the community at an early age helps children become more compassionate human beings.
Therefore, it is important that parents provide the American passport to their children as soon as possible, regardless of whether they are newborns, small children or adolescents. You never know when you will need them to travel.
At first, obtaining a US passport for a child seems like an arduous task, but at least the waiting time to process the passport is less than that established during the pandemic, a period in which you had to wait about four months to process routine services.
There is no established minimum age to apply for a passport, and many parents wonder at what age a child needs a passport, if a baby needs a passport or what documents need to be provided when traveling with their young children or minors.
There are several essential documents for traveling with children, such as the boarding verification document, passport and photo ID, and birth certificate.
Even though the under 18 yearsincluding infants, are not required to show a passport for domestic travel in the US, every international trip requires all persons, regardless of age, to present a valid passport.
Both the US passport and passport cards are proof of your citizenship and identity in the US.
But for both a child and an adult, passport cards are only valid for certain land and sea border crossings, such as those made on a cruise vacation, which allow you to enter Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Mexico. They are not valid for international air travel to any other country. In this case, the traditional passport is required.
Read more: The most powerful passports in the world to travel without a visa in 2023. And the American what?
Documents to apply for an American passport for children and babies
▪ To start the passport application process, you must complete the Form DS-11required for first-time applicants and also for children under 16 years of age.
▪ You must present proof of citizenship that shows that your child is a US citizen, such as an original copy or a certified physical copy of the birth certificate of the newborn, child or minor adolescent. To do this, you must present one of the following documents:
- Be issued by the city, county or state of birth.
- Indicate the applicant’s full name, date of birth and place of birth.
- List the full names of the parents.
- Have the filing date at the registry office, which must be within one year of birth.
- Have the signature of the registrar.
- Have the seal of the issuing authority.
Read more: Do you want to have two nationalities? These countries allow dual citizenship with the US
When you choose the type of document to present, make a clear photocopy for the Department of State, which will return the original to you later and keep the copy.
▪ Provide proof of parental relationship. In this case, in addition to a US birth certificate, you must show a consular report of birth abroad, a foreign birth certificate, or an adoption decree.
Also, a divorce or custody decree is accepted as proof of parental relationship, as these documents list the names of the parents or legal guardians.
▪ In addition, the child’s Social Security number must be provided.
If you are applying for a newborn passport and your Social Security card has not yet arrived, you must submit a signed and dated statement with a specific wordingwhich includes the phrase “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: ‘You enter the full name of the child’ has never received a Social Security number from the Administration of the Social Security”.
▪ Present identification document. Parents or guardians applying for a child’s passport must present a government-issued physical photo ID, along with a photocopy of the front and back.
This document can be a passport, a state driver’s license, a certificate of naturalization, or one of the other suggested options by the Department of State, such as the green card, the Trusted Traveler card, among other primary identification documents with a photo.
Read more: ESTA, US entry program easier and faster than applying for a visa
How to make a passport appointment for a minor
▪ After collecting all the necessary documentation, schedule an appointment at an authorized passport facility. Through a government platform, you can enter your zip code to find a location.
▪ On the day of the application, the child must be present and accompanied by both parents or guardians to certify the consent of both parents. Only in certain circumstances, parents can be absent.
▪ When the child is in the sole custody of one parent, the parent must prove by certified evidence that they have sole legal authority over the child.
Evidence such as a divorce decree, court order, death or birth certificate, or adoption decree listing you as a single parent is acceptable.
▪ If a parent or guardian is unable to attend the passport appointment, a signed and notarized statement of consent must be provided through a Form DS-3053.
In case they are deceased, a death certificate will be required.
Read more: Follow these steps to get a second US passport. Do you qualify to get it?
▪ When the other parent or guardian cannot be reached or contacted, the Form DS-5255 and present additional evidence, such as a restraining or incarceration order.
The Department of State requires this additional documentation to prevent international parental child abduction.
▪ Child passports are only valid for five years, unlike adult passports, which remain valid for 10 years.
▪ If the passport expires before the child turns 16, you must reapply for the passport in person, following the steps above. But, you cannot renew a child’s passport using the DS-82, a form that is only available to those over 16 years of age.
▪ A child’s passport is $135 and passport cards are $50.
▪ Obtaining a child’s passport takes between 8 and 11 weeks, according to the Department of State, without taking into account shipping time, which can vary.
Expedited service, which reduces processing time by 5-7 weeks, is available for an additional $60.
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