On a high level, these are the 5 steps needed to apply for a minor's US passport. I am going to share all paperwork, forms, fees, and documents needed for a minor passport application. Passports for children under age 16 are only valid for 5 years.
Passport for kids
You need a passport for kids as an essential travel document that serves as proof of identity and citizenship. It becomes really important to have a passport for various reasons, like traveling with parents internationally, studying abroad, or attending some family event abroad.
There could be several reasons why you need a passport for kids so it's better to get it as soon as you get some time. In the United States getting a passport for kids is a very simple process and this blog will help to make it simpler for you as I have gone through this process.
Step 01. Obtain a Birth Certificate
Before applying for the passport, ensure that you get the birth certificate from the county office or state where the child was born. This is a pretty straightforward process and everything for me was done at the hospital, I was asked to collect it from the county office in 2 to 3 weeks. However, if you are a California resident, you can also apply it from this link.
A birth certificate that is authorized and certified is generally accepted as a valid document for various legal purposes, including travel, passport application, proof of citizenship, social security, driver's license, school registration, personal identification, and more.
Step 02. DS-11 Passport Form
This form is available online you need to download it, print it, and then fill it out by hand. You can also obtain the form in person but why complicate it?
You can follow this link to download the latest copy of the form. Please do not sign the form until instructed by the accepting agent. Rest you can fill out the form providing accurate information. You can also find detailed instructions for passports for those under 16 at this link.
Step 03. What Documents do I need for a Passport?
Before applying for a passport for minors, ensure that you have the following required documents and paperwork ready for passport application.
Child passport application form i.e. completed DS-11 form from the previous step
Proof of parental relationship and minor's U.S. Citizenship for example birth certificate, adoption decree, divorce/custody decree, and child's SSN
Documents for parents that you might need to present such as evidence of your immigration status or US citizenship/ passport, government-issued state ID or driver's license, permanent residency card or green card, etc
Payment for the passport fee: Please remember to take your checkbook with you because you would need to pay the fee through a check. There are different fees based on the processing time of the passport. I have provided the screenshot below.
The expedited one has obviously additional fees and processing time varies as well. Issuing agency would provide you exact days/ backlog at that point in time and the fees needed. We got the passport in 6 weeks.
Photograph for the passport: This has been discussed in the next section
Take a printout of these copies as well since you might be asked to submit a photocopy.
How to get a Child Passport with one Parent Absent
It's better if both parents visit the passport facility together but in case you cannot as everyone has a different situation please follow these guidelines. In our case, we both went together and for most of you, I believe it would be the same so you can skip this step.
In cases where one parent is absent, the parent applying for the passport must demonstrate that they have sole legal custody of the child or have obtained the necessary consent from the absent parent.
You would need notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the absent parent or legal custody documents proving that the applying parent has sole legal custody of the child. You can download DS-3053 from here.
Baby Passport Photo Requirements
You can choose the option to take the newborn pic by yourself/studio or some passport acceptance facilities may provide it with some additional charge. You can locate the passport facilities in your zip code here.
In any case please do not staple the pic on the DS-11 form instead take the pic with you and show it to the agent at the passport facility, they will let you know if the pic and correct and staple it there. I chose the latter option of having my newborn pic clicked at the passport facility.
Step 04. Submit and Track Application
Take the completed DS-11 form, required documents, and payment to a passport acceptance facility or passport agency which you can locate from the zip code mentioned in the previous section. Passport acceptance facilities include post offices, libraries, and courthouses.
Some facilities require an appointment, so it’s best to check in advance. At the facility, a passport acceptance agent will review the application and documents and administer an oath to the applying parent(s) or guardian(s). There you would be asked to sign the DS-11 form as well.
You can track your child's passport application here.
Step 05. Receive the Passport
After applying for a minor's passport, the process of issuance begins. Once the application is processed, the passport will be printed and mailed to the address provided on the application.
When the passport is received, you should carefully check that all the details are correct, including the spelling of the minor's name, date of birth, place of birth, and other relevant information. You further need to sign the passport, just follow the instructions on the passport.
In summary, applying for a passport for a minor requires gathering the necessary documents, filling out the DS-11 form, submitting the application and payment to a passport acceptance facility, tracking the status of the application, and receiving the passport. By following these steps, you can ensure that the process is smooth and stress-free. If there are any questions please feel free to ask me in the comments section below, I will try my best to help you out.