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Passport Guidelines for Little Ones

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Now that you’re in charge of a tiny human (or a collection of tiny humans) it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck in one place! Traveling is still possible, don’t you worry – it just takes a little longer, there are some new steps, and you have to carry a seemingly infinite collection of snacks. Some recommend waiting to travel until your little ones are older, but sometimes the travel bug just won't leave you alone. Some families even find themselves traveling more after having kids than before! However, before you can jet to a far-off locale with babies in tow, you have to face the passport application process. Don't worry! We've outlined the steps here so you can have your paperwork ready the moment you step into the building. Then all you have to worry about is the line!

Passport for Babies, Toddlers & Children

Despite not being able to walk anywhere themselves or having the power of coherent speech, infants must have a passport when traveling out of the country. Passports for babies or other children under sixteen are only valid for five years, so keep that in mind when planning any trips down the road. The steps for acquiring a passport for your baby or child are the same as acquiring a passport for yourself – just with a tinier and cuter picture!
  • Step One: Fill out the DS-11 form
  • Step Two: Prove your child is a US Citizen
    1. Submit one of the following documents:
      • Passport – may be expired
      • U.S. Birth Certificate
      • Certificate of Citizenship
      • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    2. Provide a photocopy of the document you submit
  • Step Three: Prove relation to your child
    1. Submit one of the following documents to provide evidence of parental rights:
      • U.S. Birth Certificate
      • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
      • Foreign Birth Certificate
      • Adoption decree
      • Divorce/custody decree
  • Step Four: Provide ID for Parents
    1. You must provide documentation that you are the parent – a valid passport, driver’s license, military ID/government ID, or a naturalization certificate
    2. Submit a photocopy of the ID you provide
  • Step Five: Prove parental consent if one parent cannot be present
    1. While it’s easiest to get a passport with two parents present, there are exceptions that you must provide evidence of:
      • Sole custody
      • One parent cannot appear
      • Third-party submission when neither parent can appear
  • Step Six: Passport Photos and Fees
    1. With the completed paperwork and correct ID provided, the last step is to provide two 2 x 2 in photos and pay the necessary fees (an application fee and an execution fee)
  • Step Seven: Submit all of the above in person. It may take four to six weeks to receive your little one’s passport so plan accordingly.
    1. If you need a passport in a rush, you can expedite the process for a fee.
  • Ready for My Closeup

    While all babies are photogenic to the max, taking a passport photo is a completely different animal from snapping cute candids throughout the day. They have to sit still? And can’t be resting in their favorite rocker? There has to be a white background? There’s a lot of rules with passport photos that, unfortunately, little ones aren’t exempt from. Here are the requirements the picture must meet to be accepted:
    mother and father carry baby in infant car seat to board an airplanemother and father carry baby in infant car seat to board an airplane

    - Must be in color

    - Your baby’s full face must be in view in front of a white or off-white background

    - The photo must be recent enough to accurately reflect what your little one looks like at the time of application (because we all know they grow faster than seems possible)!

    - No one else should be present in the photo

    - If your baby can’t sit upright, the picture may be taken with your little one lying down on a white surface

    - Nothing can be obstructing your child’s face, i.e. no pacifiers or hair over their face

    Now that you’ve got passports for the whole family, it’s time to travel! Whether you have a trip all planned or you’re just covering all your bases for the future, check out our tips on flying with kids – because even though you have the right forms filled out and identification handy it doesn’t mean it’ll be smooth sailing (or flying)!