More than 145 million valid U.S. passports are in use, according to the U.S. Government’s Department of State. And it’s not only adults who need to travel, but babies too!
Planning to apply for a U.S. passport for a baby so you can go on holiday together? This article will eliminate your doubts about the procedure, and help parents of newborns stay informed and be prepared.
This definitive step-by-step guide includes 6 (six) simple and detailed steps on how to get a passport for a baby. It will also let U.S. parents know what requirements need to be met to get a passport for their newborn. It’ll only take a few minutes, then parents can rest assured that their baby’s passport application will not be delayed.
- Applying for passport for newborn: everything you need to know
- How to apply for passport for baby: steps explained
- Step #1: complete the form to apply for the U.S. baby passport
- Step #2: prepare required documentation to apply for a newborn’s passport
- Step #3: proceed with the payment to get a passport for a baby
- Step #4: book an appointment to apply for a U.S. newborn’s passport
- Step #5: attend the passport facility to get a passport for a newborn
- Step 6#: after applying for a newborn’s passport, track the application status
- Applying for passport for newborn: process completed
Applying for passport for newborn: everything you need to know
Parents can start applying for a U.S. passport for a baby as soon as he/she is born, at any age. This means that even a 1 (one) month old baby can get a passport. However, parents need to be aware of the requirements for applying for a baby passport, which we explain in this section.
Every single document submitted to the authorities must be the original document (or a certified copy) issued by the corresponding officials. These documents must be in physical format (i.e., printed on paper); digital ID documents (e.g., electronic certificates) are not accepted. Photocopies of the original documents must also be provided along with the originals, but photocopies are not acceptable as substitutes instead of originals—not even if they are notarized copies.
Photocopies must be:
- fully legible
- in black and white
- and printed on 8 1/2 x 11 standard paper size.
How to apply for passport for baby: steps explained
Applying for a baby’s passport requires U.S. citizens to go through 6 (six) steps, which we’ll elaborate on throughout this section.
Step #1: complete the form to apply for the U.S. baby passport
Parents must download Form DS-11, available on the USCIS website, to get a baby’s passport and complete it, which may take approximately 20 (twenty) minutes.
A newborn’s guardian may print the document as a single-sided page and complete it by hand or use the Online Form Filler before printing it.
The passport application form must be completed thoroughly, without leaving any blanks. If the information requested in any box doesn’t apply, “N/A” should be written. Also, the document must include the parent’s name on Address Line 2: “In Care Of.”
NOTE: application forms are only signed once an agent instructs the parent to do so at the passport office.
Step #2: prepare required documentation to apply for a newborn’s passport
Below is the list of required documents to apply for a passport for a baby:
- U.S. birth certificate or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad / certified Foreign Birth Certificate
This document works to prove both the parental relationship and the U.S.citizenship of a baby.
Any birth certificate must be issued, signed, and sealed by the matching official jurisdiction, as well as contain detailed information about both the applicant and parents, and include an English translation if the document was issued in a foreign language.
*Other documents that are accepted are a Certificate of Citizenship to prove the baby’s U.S. citizenship and an adoption act, custody act, or divorce act to demonstrate the parental relationship.
- Passport photo to apply for a baby’s passport
Parents must provide the passport agent with 2 (two) U.S. government-compliant passport photos for a baby.
Photos must be:
- 2 x 2 inches in size;
- printed on high-quality photographic paper;
- babies must face the camera with their eyes open;
- they must also pose on a plain white background.
*Be aware that the passport officer will staple the photos to the form. Applicants are not allowed to do it themselves.
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Step #3: proceed with the payment to get a passport for a baby
The process of applying for a U.S. passport for a newborn also entails the payment of two fees:
- application fee:
- passport book: $100
- passport card: $15
- passport book and passport card: $115
- execution fee: $35
The method of payment varies depending on the passport office where the baby’s passport application is processed; the most common is a check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State. For more information regarding alternative payment methods, citizens may contact the corresponding passport facility.
Those interested in acquiring a baby’s passport as soon as possible can pay the expedited processing fee, i.e.; $60. This means the application would be processed in only 3 (three) weeks or even 8 (eight) business days if expedited at the agency.
Step #4: book an appointment to apply for a U.S. newborn’s passport
A baby’s parents or guardians must book an appointment online via iafdb.travel.state.gov. and choose the nearest passport facility by zip code, state, or city.
Some local post offices, public libraries, clerks of court, and different government offices are also authorized by the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to process passport applications.
Before booking a U.S. passport appointment, note that applying for a baby’s passport needs the consent and attendance of both parents or legal tutors (those who represent the minor in legal matters) on the day of the appointment, whether at a passport agency or authorized passport acceptance facility.
Step #5: attend the passport facility to get a passport for a newborn
When attending the passport facility, BOTH parents/legal guardians of a baby applicant must be duly identified and present their physical photo IDs and a back-and-front photocopy to the state agents. The presence of the baby is also mandatory.
Below are valid IDs to prove a parent’s identity at the passport agency:
- a U.S. passport book or card (no matter whether it is valid or expired as long as it is in perfect conditions);
- an undamaged, valid passport from a foreign country;
- in-state fully valid driver’s license including an ID photo;
- Green Card (U.S. Permanent Resident Card);
- Mexican Consular ID—better know as Matrícula Consular;—
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship;
- Certificate of Naturalization;
- current citizenship government employee ID or U.S. military ID;
- other documents such as Trusted Traveler IDs, non-driver photo ID, temporary driver’s license, Enhanced Tribal Cards, or Native American tribal photo IDs.
In the case of an out-of-state ID, the parents of the newborn baby may bring an extra ID to validate their identification on the day of the passport appointment, such as an employee worker ID, a health care card, or a voter registration card.
Another option would be bringing along an ‘Identifying Witness.’ This is a person who has known you for at least 2 (two) years and swears to your identity on the day of the appointment. This person must be:
- a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder;
- have a valid ID;
- submit a completed Form DS-71—obtainable at the same passport agency or passport application center—;
- and bring a photocopy of his/her ID.
Step 6#: after applying for a newborn’s passport, track the application status
Once the application is submitted, its status can be checked online by inputting the last name, date of birth, and last 4 (four) digits of Social Security Number to the Online Passport Status System.
The application status will be ready to track after 2 (two) weeks, when the application may be considered “In Process,” meaning that applicants should wait if the status update is still “Not Available.”
*Learn how to track a U.S. passport status here.
Moreover, parents have the ability to receive automatic email notifications from the U.S. Department of State whenever the application status has been altered by inputting their email address in the system.
Applying for passport for newborn: process completed
The submitted documents, along with the new American passport, will be mailed back to your home address once the passport application has been processed.
A U.S. passport for newborn babies with a validity of 5 years will be ready in the applicant’s mailbox after 8 (eight) to 11 (eleven) weeks.
Passport Photo Online
Many people think that taking a baby’s passport photo at home requires professional equipment, advanced camera and photo editing skills, and a perfect understanding of the photo requirements established by the government.
But this will change as soon as they get to know Passport Photo Online, an app praised by different internationally well-known media, such as National Geographic, Forbes, or Glamour. All parents need is a smartphone or tablet.
This online passport photo tool allows parents to enjoy numerous advantages:
- babies stay in their comfort zone, making the task of taking a passport photo stress-free;
- babies are often moody and sleep for over 16 hours a day, but now parents can take the photo whenever they want and as many times as necessary;
- if found, shadows will be removed;
- parents don’t need to worry about the baby’s head position as long as the face is not covered;
- Passport Photo Online can delete any undesired element, such as toys, from an image;
- also, the app transforms any background, so no need to care about colorful walls. The photo will look like it was taken on a plain, white background;
- ensure compliance with the standards set by the government. The app’s AI system will detect any anomaly and inform the user in such a case, who will be able to take the photo again;
- once the image is ready, a free passport photo template will be generated, which parents can print for approximately $1 at the nearest printing store;
- if parents don’t want to waste their time, they can enjoy delivery services. Take a photo in 1 (one) minute and wait till receiving the baby’s passport photos at your mailbox in 3 (three) working days.
Apply for passport for newborn: FAQ
Here, parents wishing to know more details about a baby’s passport application process can find the answer to the most frequently asked questions.
Can a baby get a passport?
Yes, all babies can get a passport using Form DS-11 and following the required application process.
How soon can a baby get a passport?
A baby can get a passport as soon as he/she is born, provided the parents acquire a Certificate of Birth, as this document is required to apply for a newborn baby’s first passport.
How old does a baby have to be to get a passport?
The U.S. government does not set any age limit for obtaining a passport, so the baby’s parents can get one when needed. Remember that babies require a passport to travel abroad, like any other U.S. citizen.
When can a baby get a passport?
A baby can get a passport as soon as parents obtain the corresponding birth certificate, which must be submitted along with Form DS-11 to prove both the baby is a U.S. citizen and the parental relationship with his/her parents or legal guardians.
How long does it take to get a baby passport?
The entire passport application process for a newborn can take 6 (six) to 11 (eleven) weeks, depending on the number of applications being processed at the time.
However, parents who paid an additional fee for the expedited service just need to wait 3 (three) to 4 (four) weeks.
Can I mail my baby’s passport application or apply online?
No, the U.S. government does not allow parents to submit passport applications online or to mail them, considering that this is their first passport issued. They can, however, book an appointment online and attend the office on the indicated date.
Do I need to make an appointment to apply for a baby’s passport?
Yes, acceptance facilities require appointments to process a baby’s passport. Make an appointment at the desired passport application office in order to apply for a passport for a baby.
Do I need to bring my baby to get his/her passport?
Yes, you must bring the baby to get his/her passport. The baby’s presence is required on the day of the appointment since the officer will ensure that the photographs submitted were indeed taken from the infant applying for the passport.
Do both parents have to be present to get a passport for a baby?
Yes, both parents or guardians must be present and accompany the child when applying for a passport to provide parental consent. They also need to bring their identification documents and sign the DS-11 form in front of the passport agent.
What do I need to get my baby a passport?
To get a passport for your baby, you need documents to prove the parental relationship and his/her U.S. citizenship. A U.S. birth certificate or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad / certified Foreign Birth Certificate may work for both ends. Also, it is required to hand in 2 (two) passport photos and submit evidence of fees payment.
How to get an American passport for a baby?
To get an American passport for a baby, first gather the supporting documents (U.S. birth certificate and 2 passport photos), then proceed with the fees payment. Look for the nearest passport facility by zip code, state or city and book an appointment. Both parents and the baby’s presence are mandatory on this day. Parents/legal guardians must attend the passport office and bring their IDs.
How to apply for a passport for a 1-year-old baby?
The process to apply for a passport for a 1-year-old baby is the same as the process for the rest of U.S. citizens under 16 (sixteen) years of age getting their first passport. Parents must gather the citizenship documents, 2 (two) passport photographs, pay the fees, book an appointment at a passport application center, and attend the meeting along with the baby, both bringing their corresponding IDs too.
My baby is 11 months old: how to apply for a passport?
Applying for a passport for your 11 (eleven) month old baby requires parents to book an appointment at the desired passport facility and pay for the fees. The day of the appointment, remember to bring 2 passport size photographs and the baby’s birth certificate (to prove both U.S. citizenship and parental relationship). Presence by both parents/legal guardians as well as the baby is mandatory.
How to get a passport for a baby of international parents?
A baby of international parents can get a passport the same way as any other newborn in the U.S. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad / certified Foreign Birth Certificate is required to prove both U.S. citizenship and parental relationship.
How to get a passport for a baby in California?
A baby can get a passport in California as long as their parents fill in Form DS-11, gather the necessary documentation, and book an appointment at their nearest passport facility right after paying the fees.
How to get a baby passport in NYC?
To get a baby passport in NYC, parents may gather the required documentation (such as a U.S. birth certificate and two passport photos), pay the fees, and make an appointment, so as to submit them along with Form DS-11.
How to get a passport for a baby in NJ?
Parents can book an appointment via online (visit iafdb.travel.state.gov) and look for a passport office by zip code-based filters that allow them to attend the nearest facility in New Jersey. Before the appointment, they must gather the required documents, pay the fee and fill in Form DS-11 correctly.
How to get passport for baby: summary
Enjoy the peace of mind of having your baby’s passport issued after following the above-mentioned 6 (six) simple steps to get a passport for a baby.
Step #2 (prepare required documentation) may be the most time-consuming. Thanks to Passport Photo Online, taking passport photos for newborns is simpler than it has ever been. In only 2 (two) minutes, parents can prepare a baby passport photo from home stress-free.
Born in Málaga, Alejandro Martín holds a Master’s in Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. His love for travel mainly stems from his attraction to different gastronomic cultures and cooking. His other passions are Afro-American music and skateboarding. Alejandro is an author of passport photography articles.