What Do I Need for a Children’s Passport?

What Do I Need for a Children’s Passport?

Do you need to apply for a child’s passport but are uncertain what documents to bring? Perhaps you need to make sure you’ve got all the right papers for a minor passport application?

In this blog post, we’ll cover all the documents you will be required to present at the passport acceptance facility, so you don’t need to keep asking yourself “What do I need for a children’s passport?

In this article:

A child’s passport – requirements for a minor

The list of all the documents you need to provide at the scheduled meeting includes up to 5 (five) items you will have to present on behalf of your child to get the passport application process rolling. They include, firstly, 1 (one) document proving your child’s U.S. citizenship. 

A handful of documents can serve as proof of citizenship :

  • an undamaged U.S. passport, valid or not;
  • the child’s birth certificate (a certified copy of the birth certificate will do as well as the original);
  • a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (if applicable);
  • a Certification of Live Birth (completed shortly after the baby is born in a hospital and sent to you via email);
  • a Certificate of Citizenship, for example a Certificate of Naturalization (average processing time of one year, acquirable by filing Form N-600).

Additionally, you should bring photocopies of the front and backside of the child’s U.S. citizenship evidence, as well as a single 2 x 2 inch photo adhering to the official U.S. passport photo guidelines.

The photocopies you bring need to be legible, single-sided, and in black and white, printed on standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper. 

What do I need for a child’s passport – requirements for a guardian

Parents or guardians that attend the child’s passport application appointment with the minor need to provide valid documentation as well. Apart from having to attend the meeting with the child (something we will expand upon later), they also are required to provide proof of paternal relationship. They can use one of the following:

  • a U.S. birth certificate;
  • a Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
  • a Certification of Birth;
  • a Certificate of Naturalization
  • a foreign birth certificate;
  • an adoption decree;
  • a divorce decree;
  • a custody decree.

Only original documents or certified copies of the aforementioned papers will be accepted at the passport agency.

What do I need to get a passport for a minor – additional parenthood documents

Both parents need to approve the child’s passport application. In an ideal situation, both parents would have to arrive at the scheduled passport meeting, but if one of them cannot be present, there is a way of moving forward with the application.

You can, for instance, provide documents confirming your sole custody of the child, which enables you to complete the process without the other guardian or parent. Other documents that can prove your sole custody include:

  • a divorce decree;
  • a sole custody court order;
  • a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, which confirms you as the only parent;
  • an adoption decree;
  • a certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the other parent;
  • a death certificate of the other parent.

On other occasions, you can use Form DS-3053, which is essentially a document confirming the other parent’s consent to the child’s passport application. Use this method when the other guardian simply cannot be present or both of them are unable to accompany the child. With this form, even a third party will be able to complete the application process for the child.

One of the most common cases in which this form is used is when one of the parents is deployed on a military mission and cannot attend the child’s passport application appointment.

On rare occasions, when the other parent cannot be reached at all due to the nature of their assignment, either Form DS-5525 will be required or a signed statement from their commanding officer confirming the inability to reach them.

You may also need to file Form DS-5525 when the other parent cannot be located and thus, won’t be present at the passport application appointment. Using this form, which serves as protection against international parental child abduction, will require additional proof in the form of either a custody order, or restraining order.

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What do I need to bring for a minor’s passport – guardian’s ID

Not only do the parents or legal guardians need to provide proof of parenthood, but they are also required to present a valid ID confirming their identity.

A clerk at the passport facility will be thorough and go through all the documents and double-check every piece of evidence just in case.

The IDs you can present are:

  • an undamaged passport book (an expired one will also work);
  • a valid foreign passport;
  • a passport card in good condition;
  • Certificate of Naturalization;
  • Certificate of Citizenship;
  • government employee ID;
  • U.S. military ID;
  • Mexican Consular ID, also known as Matricula Consular;
  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card;
  • Trusted Traveler ID;
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards and Native American tribal photo IDs;
  • a photocopy of the front and backside of the ID you present.

These too have to be submitted in physical form, even though some states in the U.S. issue digital IDs in 2022.

Form DS-11 for a children’s passport

To have a passport issued for your child you need to apply using Form DS-11.

You need to make sure to complete the form and bring it to the appointment on the date you and the clerk at the passport office have agreed upon. Do not sign the form before the meeting.

What do I need for a children’s U.S. passport – application fees

A minor’s U.S. application will demand a passport fee that can be as low as $50 and as high as $150.

  • execution fee – $35
  • passport book – $100
  • passport card – $15

You can pay with a check or money order addressed to the U.S. Department of State when applying for a children’s passport in person.

Passport photo online – perfect photo for your kid’s passport

If you’re looking for an amazing photo for the upcoming passport application for your child, try Passport Photo Online.

For just a price of $13.95, you will get a valid, professionally edited, digital photo. For $19.95 you’ll receive 2 (two) physical passport photos within 2-3 days. You just need to upload your child’s photo to the Passport Photo Online application or website. On top of that, you can get a free passport photo template, printable at any other store for less than $1.

Passport Photo Online comes with a satisfaction guarantee or a 200% refund if the passport photo doesn’t pass muster.

Try out a tool that’s already gathered encouraging reviews from Yahoo!, Glamour, National Geographic, or Forbes.

What do I need for a children’s passport – summary

To apply for a children’s U.S. passport, apart from the passport fee, you need a range of documents including a paper confirming the child’s American citizenship, like a birth certificate, and a single, valid passport photo of the child. 

Parents or guardians arriving with the child at their passport application appointment need to present documents confirming their parental relationship with the minor, their own identification documents, and potentially an adequate form allowing them to complete the application on their own.

What do I need to get a passport for a minor: FAQ

Below you’ll find the most common queries on the Internet, containing key information about acquiring a U.S. passport for a child.

What do I need for a children’s U.S. passport?

First, you need to schedule an appointment at the passport acceptance facility. Then, you’ll have to find papers confirming the child’s nationality, such as a birth certificate, and any evidence of a parental relationship between you and the child. A sole custody court order, a divorce decree, or an adoption decree will work in that regard.
You also need to be able to confirm your own identity with a birth certificate or another photo ID, such as a passport.
Provide a completed Form DS-11 and a sufficient fee depending on what exactly you wish to apply for, which can go as high as $150.
Last but not least, the child will need a valid passport photo to be submitted during the meeting at the passport acceptance facility.

What documentation do I need to get a passport for a minor?

The documentation you need to bring for the minor’s passport application starts with Form DS-11. Depending on the child’s parental situation, you might need to also submit a completed Form DS-3053 or Form DS-5525.
Additionally, you are required to show documentation that confirms the child’s identity and nationality, like a Certificate of Citizenship, as well as your own using either a passport book or card, and documents confirming a parental relationship between you two. An adoption decree, sole custody court order, or the child’s birth certificate will do.


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