Passports For Kids: Here’s What You Need to Know

Passports for kids are necessary when you’re traveling abroad — even if the kid doing the traveling is a newborn. Yes, even children who don’t require airline tickets need passports. Here’s something else: Getting passports for kids is a pretty specific process. The good news: We’ve compiled everything you need to know right here.

Where should you apply for passports for kids?

To get a baby passport or child passport, you’ll need to go to an official passport agency or authorized application acceptance facility, which often includes post offices, libraries, or municipal offices. Be sure to make an appointment first. For more, reach out to the National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778).

What you need to bring with you to the passport agency?

For starters, both parents or legal guardians need to go with the child to the passport agency. If a single parent is not listed as such on the child’s birth certificate, that parent must provide a divorce/custody/adoption decree, death certificate, or notarized consent form from the absent parent. Here’s what you should have with you when applying for passports for kids:

1. A completed DS-11 form (do not sign in advance!)

2. One 2”x2” passport photo (preferably looking at the camera, although not required) taken within the last six months

3. Original or certified evidence of child’s U.S. citizenship (via a birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad), plus a photocopy

4. Evidence of relationship between child and parent(s)/guardian(s) (via U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, foreign birth certificate, adoption decree, or divorce/custody decree)

5. Parent or guardian identification and photocopy of identification

6. Provide parental consent (both parents appear in person with the child to apply, or certified consent from absent parent or proof of sole custody)

Okay, it’s a lot to remember, but the reason for much of the paperwork and parental proof is to reduce child abduction and trafficking, so it’s pretty important.

How long will it take to receive passports for kids?

Count on a minimum of six weeks to receive the passport, although it may take longer in summer. If you’re traveling internationally in less than two weeks, schedule an appointment at a passport agency (rather than an acceptance facility) and bring hard-copy proof of upcoming travel, as well as the additional $60 expedite fee in addition to all completed forms and required documentation.

How much do passports for kids cost?

The current cost for a passport book is $105 ($80 application fee + $25 acceptance fee). You can also opt to get a passport card which costs $40, so significantly less. At a passport agency, fees can be paid by credit or debit card, check (personal, certified, cashier’s, traveler’s) or money order made out to “U.S. Department of State.” Credit and Debit cards are not accepted if you apply at an application acceptance facility (like the library). Some fees can be paid in cash, but be sure to have exact change. Application fees and acceptance fees must be paid separately. Additional fees may apply at your local facility, so be sure to check ahead of time or go with additional cash or checks. There are also options for expedited service ($60) and overnight delivery ($15.45).

How long are passports for kids valid?

A minor passport is issued for children under age 16, and it’s valid for five years.

Yes, there’s a lot to think about when getting passports for kids but once they arrive in the mail, it will be totally worth it. Let the globetrotting begin!

Photo: Getty

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