How to Get a Child Passport [Process Explained for All Ages]

Steps explained to get a child passport.
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A valid passport is crucial for any American citizen to travel internationally without issues. But what if you want to enjoy your next trip with the whole family, including your child?

Minors, in most cases, also need an official identification document to leave the country. In this article, you’ll learn how to get a passport for your child in 4 steps—whether it’s a newborn, toddler, or teenager

Here’s an overview of what you’ll find below:

Need more information on the topic? Check out these related articles:

Getting a child passport: the essentials

The US passport is one of the most powerful documents you can get, allowing you to travel visa-free to over 185 countries. So, naturally, you may want to get one for your child as soon as possible! But how early can you submit a new passport application for your underage family member?

According to the State Department’s rules, you can apply for your child’s passport anytime after they’re born. Now—

The passport application process for a child is similar to that for an adult, but you’ll have to provide additional documents. Read on to find out exactly what you need to do when applying for your child’s travel document.

Important: Passport validity for minors under the age of 16 is shorter than adult passports—only 5 years. Older applicants will obtain a full-validity document (10 years).

Passports for newborns & children under 16

Here’s how to get your child’s passport in 4 steps:

Step #1: Collect the following documents.

Get a head start by gathering all of the documents required by the State Department.

1Form DS–11Fill out the application form on your computer to avoid errors. Once completed, print it out. Don’t sign it before the appointment.If you can’t provide your child’s Social Security number, you must present a signed statement (with a date) stating this fact.
2Evidence of US citizenship & a photocopyProvide one of these documents (original or a certified copy):
• US birth certificate
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
• Certificate of citizenship
• Your child’s current or expired passport 

Along with the original document, you must also submit its photocopy on white 8 1/2×11’’ paper in black and white.
You must submit a physical document. It’ll be returned to you after the passport’s been issued.
3Proof of Parental RelationshipBring a document listing the child’s parents or legal guardians, for example:

• Your child’s birth certificate
• Foreign birth certificate
• Divorce decree
• Adoption decree
Are you an adoptive parent? Read how to get a passport for an adopted child.
4Your ID & a photocopyParents or legal guardians must submit proof of identity, such as:

• Valid or expired US passportValid driver’s license
• Enhanced driver’s license with a photo
• Valid foreign passport
Green Card

Additionally, you’ll need a photocopy of your ID’s front and back (8 1/2×11’’ paper, single-sided).
Digital IDs (e.g., a mobile ID or driver’s license) are unacceptable. 
5Compliant passport pictureProvide one photo adhering to US passport photo requirements.Certain baby passport photo requirements are less strict than those for adults. Check them out and learn how to take your newborn’s picture stress-free.

Taking a child to a photographer, especially a newborn baby, can be a hassle. Take passport photos at home with our Passport Photo Booth App for iOS or Passport Photo Maker App for Android stress-free!

A picture converted into a government-compliant passport photo in 3 seconds using Passport Photo Online mobile app.

Step #2: Book an appointment

Once you’ve prepared the necessary documentation, you must contact a passport acceptance agency or a US embassy or consulate (if you’re living abroad) to see if an appointment to submit your application is required. 

Remember that all minors under the age of 16 must apply in person accompanied by two parents or guardians to prove parental consent.

What if only one parent can be present? This article will help you:

Step #3: Pay the fees 

You’ll have to pay two separate fees for your child’s passport application. See the table below for details:

Type of documentApplication feeExecution fee
Passport book$100$35
Passport card$15$35

Step #4: Wait for the passport

The processing time for a child’s passport varies throughout the year, but usually takes between 8 and 11 weeks. This, however, only refers to the passport acceptance facility’s processing time—so we recommend adding an additional 2–4 weeks (to account for mailing times) when calculating how long it will take to get your new passport.  

Pro tip: Are you in a rush? Check if your child is eligible to apply for an expedited child passport. Note that the expedited service costs an additional $60.

Passport for children aged 16–17

If your child has turned 16, they must follow the same process as that for younger minors, with several exceptions:

  1. Parental Awareness. Applicants can apply on their own; however, they must prove that at least one of their parents or legal guardians is aware of their application. This can be done in several ways:
    • Ask one parent to visit a passport acceptance facility with you and bring a copy of their ID (see accepted forms of identity)
    • Bring a note signed by a parent along with a copy of their ID
    • Show proof that their parent paid the application fees (e.g., a signed check or money order)
    • Submit a Form DS–3053 (a notarized statement)
  2. Book an appointment. If you bring one of the documents listed above, you can go to your passport appointment without any of your parents present.
  3. Pay the fees. The costs of a passport for applicants aged 16–17 are as follows:
Type of documentApplication feeExecution fee
Passport book$130$35
Passport card$30$35


How much does it cost to get a passport for a child?

The costs of passports for children vary depending on the child’s age and the document’s type:

• Newborns and children under 16: $100 (passport book) and $15 (passport card)
• Children between the ages of 16 and 17: $130 (passport book) and $30 (passport card)

If needed, it’s possible to get both a passport book and a card. Note that the prices don’t include the mandatory execution fee of $35.

How long does it take to get a child’s passport?

The process of getting a passport for a minor takes (on average) between 8 to 11 weeks. This timeframe, however, doesn’t include the time your application’s documents need to be delivered to the passport agency (up to 2 weeks) and mailed back to your address (up to 2 weeks).

How soon can a newborn get a passport?

There’s no fixed age your child must be to get identification documents. You can apply for your newborn’s passport right after they’re born. 

Your child’s passport application: summary

Getting a US passport for your child is a straightforward process that can be summarized in 4 steps:

  1. Collect the documentation required by the US Department of State.
  2. Book an appointment (if necessary).
  3. Pay the fees.
  4. Wait for your child’s passport to be delivered to your address.

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