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Can a child return to the United States with an expired passport?

Question: Hi. At the moment, my family and I are in Canada and we are all Americans. I have a daughter whose passport expired. She is 5 years old. We want to go back home ASAP. I was wondering if I can use her expired passport and her birth certificate to re-enter the United States? We will be traveling by plane. The nearest embassy is 4 hours away. Please help! Thank you for your attention.


Answer: ALL PERSONS (including children) traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a valid passport book or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.

Children under age 16 will be able to continue crossing land and sea borders using only a U.S. birth certificate. This does not apply to air travel. The airline will not allow your daughter to board without a current, valid passport.

You either have to apply for your daughter's new passport at the nearest U.S. embassy or authorize a private expediting service to submit the application for you. While this would avoid the need to travel to the embassy, it can be quite expensive.

If you want to investigate further the option of using a private expediter, click the link below.

Apply to expedite child's passport

Comments for Can a child return to the United States with an expired passport?

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Can my son return to the US if his passport expires in a month?
by: Anonymous

Question: My family is traveling to Canada in July and my son (7 years old) has a US passport that expires in a month (Aug 2017). Can he return to the U.S. by land with his passport in July 2017?

Answer: Yes, your son can return to the United States without a problem. U.S. citizens may re-enter the U.S. up to the expiration date of their passports.

Re-entering the USA with expired passport
by: JG

Question: My sister-in-law voluntarily left the USA about 5 years ago since she was an illegal alien. She gave a notarized document to her mother to bring her 3 U.S. citizen kids into Mexico by land. Stating it was only for vacation. Now the kids want to come and visit but their passports are expired. She has tried to renew their passports but they need the father's permission. The father was sent to jail and has not heard or seen him since she left the USA. What can she do?

Answer: All U.S. citizens traveling from Mexico must re-enter the United States with a valid passports.

The mother must find a way to contact the father to obtain the consent for passport issuance. The father must execute a signed and notarized statement of consent that the mother must present to the U.S. embassy or consulate when applying for her children's passports.

If contact cannot be established, the mother may submit Form DS-5525 Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances for Issuance of a U.S. Passport to a Minor Under Age 16. She must explain (in as much detail as possible) that efforts she has made to contact the absent parent to obtain the consent. Applications submitted with Form DS-5525 are issued on a case by case basis.

Please have her contact the Mexican Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate for more information and assistance.

Child's Passport
by: Anonymous

Question: My son's U.S. passport has expired. His father has signed and notarized the necessary form for reapplication but is refusing to provide me with a copy of his driver's license to go with the form per directions on the form. What can I do? He has a valid passport for Australia so he can travel down there to see family but what about coming back?

Answer: A copy of the non-applying parent's ID is necessary to obtain a passport for your child. If you cannot secure this requirement, the notarized consent will not be accepted.

You may try submitting Form DS-5525 (Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances for Issuance of a U.S. Passport to a Minor Under Age 16) with your application. However, understand that applications submitted under exigent family circumstances are processed on a case by case basis.

Need Help ASAP
by: Paola

Question: I went to Mexico (TJ) but I don't have a passport, or driver's licence, nor an Identification Card. I only brought my birth certificate and a previous school ID. I am 18 and I'm a U.S citizen. Can I travel back by land with just those two?

Answer: When returning from Mexico, U.S. citizens are required to present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document such as a passport book or passport card. You can go to the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana and apply for an emergency passport. You do not need an appointment for this if you are leaving within the next 10 days.

Once you're back in the U.S., you can apply for a full-validity replacement passport. If you apply within a year of issuance, you will not be charged any additional fees.

Return from Canada with expired US passport
by: Anonymous

Question: Child is 19-yrs-old. Can he return via land with a US birth certificate and expired US passport?

Answer: For entry into the United States via land borders, your son must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card or Enhanced Drivers License.

I want to travel with my son but his passport is expired.
by: Ida

Question: I want to travel with my son, but his passport is expired. He has a green card. I want to get the new passport in the country where I'm going to because his passport is from the same country. Is it possible? Does it cause any problems?

Answer: Your son will not be allowed to board his flight without a valid passport. Please contact the nearest embassy or consulate general to get your son a new passport.

My brother's passport expired
by: Yehya

Question: My brother's USA passport expired. He is overseas and the country he is in right now has no U.S. Embassy. Can he mail it to me and I renew it for him? He is over 18. Thank you.

Answer: Yes, you can do this as long as your brother was age 16 or older when he was issued the passport and the passport is not significantly damaged.

Your brother needs to send you his passport, a signed form DS-82 and a recent passport photo. You should mail these documents and payment for fees to the address on the application form.

The mailing address he enters on the application form must be a U.S. address.

expired passport
by: Anonymous

Question: Can a child return to USA with a copy of birth certificate because her passport expired 3 weeks ago if traveling by land with both parents?

Answer: When returning from Canada, U.S. citizens under the age of 16 need only present a birth certificate.

When returning from Mexico, all U.S. citizens are required to present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a passport or a passport card. You can get an emergency, limited-validity passport from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general.

Passport Renewal
by: Lenin

Question: Thanks for providing the exact information regarding the U.S passport. I have also the same doubt and now that is solved. Could you please share the exact procedures to renew the U.S passport?

Answer: You will find a list of requirements and step-by-step instruction for renewing a passport here.


Travel to Canada with Expired Passport
by: person

Question: If my passport expired three months ago can I go to Canada by land and come back to America with it. I also have a student I.D. and a safe child card. Can I use those for proof to come back.

Answer: When returning to the United States from Canada, it is very important to note that all U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States via air. For entry into the United States via land and sea borders, U.S. citizens must present either a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document. The only exception to this requirement is for U.S. citizens under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) who need only present a birth certificate (original, photocopy or certified copy), Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate.

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