Is a Passport Necessary for a Child?

Parents who are thinking of traveling abroad may wonder if their children have to have passports to go with them. Minor citizens did not always have to have passports to travel out of the country. However, the laws changed because of a few parents who tried to abduct their children after divorce proceedings and custody hearings. In 2001, the United States passed new laws that require all minor children to have passports, no matter what their age is. Any parent who is traveling with a child under the age of 16 must obtain a minor passport for that person. The passport is valid for five years from the date of approval.


How to Apply for a Minor Passport

Unfortunately, there is no easy online application method for minor passports. Interested parties must apply for their children at an authorized passport acceptance facility. A parent who wants to apply can find the address of such an establishment at the U.S. Department of State website. The forms are available online for the applicant to complete and bring with him or her to the office. The forms include form DS-11, which is an application for a U.S. passport; form DS-3053, which is a statement of consent; and form DS-5525, which is a statement of special family circumstances.

Necessary Documentation

A parent who is applying for a passport for his or her child will need to provide photo identification, evidence of a parental relationship, and evidence of United States citizenship. A birth certificate for the child is usually enough proof of U.S. citizenship. Custody decrees and birth certificates may also provide parental relationship. Only a valid passport or driver’s license is acceptable for photo identification. Additionally, both parents must appear in person and consent to the application, unless one parent is granted sole custody of the child.

Processing and Fees

A passport application has an application fee and an execution fee attached to it. A minor passport with a book and card costs approximately $120. The book by itself is $105, and the passport card alone is $40. Any additional services such as expedited processing and overnight delivery can cost the applicant additional monies. Expedited service costs $60 in addition to the application fee, and the agency charges a $150 fee for file searches. An applicant may need to request a file search for a previous application passport. People who are overseas and fall victim to passport theft may need a file search for their passport information.

The normal processing time for a standard passport application is four to six weeks. An expedited application will be complete in approximately three weeks. An application that the customer expedites at the agency can be done in approximately eight business days.

Again, an applicant should contact an authorized passport acceptance facility.  They will have trained staff available to assist in the application process.  Any errors could result in the passport being delayed.

When our qualified staff is not assisting people with the passport application process, we are likely to be found in and around Austin, Texas, having drinks or taking in a local band.

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