The main difference between applying for a child’s passport and an adult passport is that the child’s passport application process requires the applicant to be physically present at the Passport Acceptance Facility.
Also, passport holders who are younger than 16 (sixteen) years old cannot have their applications renewed, and must apply for a new passport instead. So what are the steps to filling out a passport application for kids? Follow along to find out!
A child’s passport application – the basics
To apply for a passport for your child who is under 16 (sixteen) years old, you must gather the necessary documents and be ready to accompany your son or daughter to the passport office. Let’s go over each step that you must follow for the passport processing to go smoothly.
Form DS-11 is the application form you will need to fill out for your child’s new passport. If you’re filling out the form by hand, you’ll have to write “In Care Of”, and either your name or the name of your child’s other parent or (legal) guardian under “Address Line 2”. You will have to wait for the acceptance agent so you can sign the application form.
Another extremely important aspect of completing Form DS-11 is providing your child’s Social Security number.
If they don’t have one, you must provide a signed and dated statement with the phrase: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: (child’s full name) has never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.”
Be mindful that a child who is under 16 years of age does not qualify for passport renewal and therefore must always submit Form DS-11 if they want to get a passport.
Looking for more tips for your passport application? Look no further:
- Do Both Parents Need to Be Present for a Child Passport Application in the U.S.?
- Does a Child Need to Be Present for a Passport Application – Quick Answer
- Passport Application for Kids – Everything You Need
- How To Apply For a Passport for an Adopted Child?
- How to Get a Child’s Passport with One Parent Absent
- Does My Child Need a New Passport When They Turn 16?
- Does a Child Need a Passport for Cruises?
Proof of U.S. citizenship
Submitting evidence of U.S. citizenship is absolutely crucial for processing any U.S. passport application. The following citizenship documents are acceptable:
- an undamaged U.S. passport (it may be expired);
- U.S. birth certificate that:
- was issued by the child’s city/county/state of birth;
- includes your child’s full name, and date and place of birth;
- includes your child’s parent(s)’ full names;
- includes the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office; – must be within 1 (one) year of the child’s birth;
- includes the registrar’s signature;
- includes the issuing authority’s seal;
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
- Certificate of Citizenship.
Remember that you must submit either an original or certified copy of your citizenship document.
Photocopy of the U.S. citizenship document
You will also be required to provide a photocopy of the front and back* of the child’s citizenship evidence you are submitting. The photocopy must be:
- printed on white 8.5″ x 11″ paper;
- black and white.
Instead of a photocopy, you can also submit another certified copy of the citizenship document, however, it’s non-returnable.
*NOTE: you only need to include a photocopy of the back of the document if it has printed information.
Documents from parents or guardians
The next step in applying for a child passport is to show the parental relationship. To do this, you will have to submit documentation identifying you as the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the minor applying for a U.S. passport.
You can, of course, apply for a passport for your adopted child. For more detailed information on this topic, visit our post on obtaining a U.S. passport for an adoptee.
Acceptable parental relationship documents include:
- U.S. birth certificate.
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
- Foreign birth certificate.
- Divorce or custody decree.
- Adoption decree.
Parent or guardian ID
As a parent or guardian, you also have to present an identification document to the passport acceptance agent. You will just need 1 (one) of the following:
- an undamaged (valid or expired) U.S. passport;
- a fully valid driver’s license or an enhanced driver’s license;
- Certificate of Citizenship;
- Certificate of Naturalization;
- a city, county, state, or federal government employee ID;
- U.S. military/military dependent ID;
- a valid foreign passport;
- a Mexican Consular ID (Matricula Consular);
- a U.S. Permanent Resident Card – Green Card;
- a Trusted Traveler ID (such as FAST, SENTRI, NEXUS, or Global Entry);
- an Enhanced Tribal Card and Native American tribal photo ID;
- a fully valid learner’s permit;
- a fully valid state ID;
- a temporary driver’s license.
Keep in mind that any form of state ID (such as your driver’s license or learner’s permit) must include your photo. Digital IDs are not accepted – you must present a physical ID along with a photocopy of it.
The photocopy of your ID should be:
- printed on white 8.5″ x 11″ paper;
- high resolution.
Ideally, both parents or legal guardians should be present with the child at the time of submitting their application.
However, this is not always possible for various reasons. In that case, you will have to submit additional paperwork proving that you either have sole custody of the child or other appropriate documentation demonstrating that the other parent or guardian cannot be present at the Passport Acceptance Facility or passport agency (more on that below).
For example, if one or both parents or guardians cannot accompany the child to their passport appointment, you will have to file Form DS-3053.
For more information on parental consent documents, visit the U.S. Department of State website.
Just like with any passport application form, you will be required to provide your child’s passport photo. However, in the case of a child, you have to submit only 1 (one) color photo. Make sure that the photo meets the U.S. Department of State requirements for passport photos.
Pay the passport fees
The application fee for a child’s passport may vary depending on whether you’re applying for a passport book or a passport card, or both. The applicable fees are:
- Passport Book – $100
- Passport Card – $15
- Passport Book and Card – $115
- Execution fee – $35
You may also request an expedited service which costs an additional $60.
Submit your child’s passport application
Now that you have the application form and all the documents ready, you have to submit everything in person at an acceptance facility. Both you (and/or the other parent or legal guardian) and the child must be present at the time of submitting the application.
Your child may qualify to apply for a passport at a passport agency if their date of travel is soon, however, this is decided on an individual basis.
Get your child’s passport photo conveniently online
Make your child’s U.S. passport application process even smoother with Passport Photo Online. Here’s an app that lets you take passport and visa photos from anywhere in the world! Not only that, but the passport photo application also verifies your pictures using its intuitive AI system, followed by photo verification by a human expert.
Your photos are cropped and adjusted to the correct dimensions, the background is replaced, and shadows (if any) are removed. You only pay for the final, expert-verified version of your passport photo. For a flat rate of $6.95, you will get digital copies of your photo, and for $9.95 your passport application-ready printouts will be sent to your street address.
The Passport Photo Online offer comes with a double refund guarantee in case the photos don’t get accepted by the passport office.
Getting verified ID photos that comply with the U.S. State Department’s standards has never been easier, and with Passport Photo Online it will take you only 3 (three) seconds!
Passport Application for Kids: FAQ
Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the passport application process for kids.
Does the child have to be present when submitting a passport application?
Every child under 16 years of age must be present at the passport office at the time of submitting the application.
Do the parents have to be there for their child’s passport appointment?
Parents or legal guardians of children under 16 applying for a passport must be present at the passport office. If you have sole legal custody of the child and can present evidence of it to the acceptance agent, you can be the only guardian accompanying your child to their passport appointment.
Should I sign my child’s DS-11?
No – you can only sign the application form in the presence of a passport agent.
How many photos do you need for a child’s passport?
You will need to attach 1 (one) photo to your child’s application.
What do I have to bring to my kid’s passport appointment?
Apart from Form DS-11, you will be required to submit proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship (and a photocopy of the citizenship document), your ID, documents proving your parental relationship with the child, a passport photo, and written consent explaining why only one parent will be present (if applicable). You can find detailed descriptions of the acceptable documents in this post.
Passport application for kids – final thoughts
As you can see, applying for a minor’s passport is not always a breeze. However, if you gather all of your paperwork ahead of time and run a checklist to make sure you haven’t omitted anything, it’ll turn out to be more of a friendly process.
In the end, it all just boils down to submitting the right documents and being present with your child at their appointment.
Don’t forget to check out Passport Photo Online to get expert-verified passport photos without having to leave your home.
Enjoy your next international vacation with your child!
Magda is an art & travel expert who is passionate about all things late-Victorian, history, languages, casa museos, Spain, and food illustration. She is a specialist in the field of biometric photography. Magda also loves reading, creative writing, and hanging out with her three cats.