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How can I obtain passports for my children when their father cannot be located?

by Felicia
(New York)

Question: My husband and I have been separated for over 10 years. He lives in another state, I think. He chooses to have no contact with our children. I have attempted to contact him on several occassions. I would like to take my kids on a vacation next year. I need to apply for a passport for my two boys. What can I do?


Answer: Notarized consent from the father is required if you share joint legal custody. You can complete the special circumstances section of the consent form (DS-3053) but rarely is it approved in cases such as yours. Two possible alternatives are listed below.

1. Apply for sole legal custody. If you have sole legal custody, the father's consent is not required. Consult your lawyer concerning this option. Here is a resource you might want to acquire.

How to Win Child Custody

2. Apply for a court order requiring the father to sign the consent form. If the courts attept contact the father and he is unresponsive, they will issue a clearance letter. You can use this to obtain the passports.

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How do get a passport for my son if I was never married to his father?

by Alissa
(Durham, NC, USA)

Question: My son's father is in the military and leaves in Jan. 2011. I keep our son. We were never married but I want to travel overseas next year and go see some countries. I am not sure what to do about our son's passport.

I don't know what kind of info I need from his father and I don't know what to do, so if you could please tell me how I am supposed to proceed with this I would greatly appreciate it.

Answer: You have two options. One, you can appear with your son and his father at a passport application acceptance facility in order to get the passport. Two, you can appear with your son and submit a notarized consent form from the father which grants you permission to obtain a passport for your son.

For more information, click the links below.

Apply for a Child's Passport

Consent Form DS-3053

North Carolina Passport Offices

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Can I apply for my childs passport if the father is "unknown"?

by Jocelyn
(Dallas)

Question: I need to know if I can apply for my child's passport alone since there is no presumed father nor a name on my child's birth certificate.

Answer: Yes, you can apply for a passport for your child. You need to appear in person with your child, sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent, and submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child.

In this case, you will submit our child's certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only your name as parent.

There are other documents that need to be presented. You can see a full list of instructions, by clicking the link below.

Apply for Child's Passport

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What identification information is required from non-applying parent?

by Victoria
(New York, NY)

Question: I am going to get a letter notarized so that I can apply for my son's passport without my husband present. I wanted to make sure that I had all the information correct on the notarized letter. The directions state to put the parents identification information, but I wanted to know exactly what they meant by that. Do they need a SS#, passport number or is address sufficient?

Answer: Neither an address nor a Social Security number is sufficient proof of identity. The State Department has a consent form (Form DS-3053) that can be printed and, then, completed.

Your husband should complete items 1,2,3 and 4a. Item 4b is completed by the Notary Public. Proof of identity should be presented at this time. Options for identification documents that can be presented include a valid driver's license, passport or military ID. The actual document must be presented.

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Can I get a passport for my child if I did not include paternity on the birth certificate?

by Topi
(Houston,Texas)

Question: I have been told that I cannot get a US passport for my child without the fathers consent but I did not include the fathers name in the birth certificate.

I would like to travel soon and therefore use the birth certificate to get the passport. Would this be possible without any hassle?

Should it matter that I am not a US citizen?

Answer: First of all, it does not matter if you are a U.S. citizen as long as your child is and this can be proved.

One parent with sole legal custody must:

1. Appear with the minor at a passport application acceptance facility.

Texas Passport Offices

2. Submit Form DS-11 and supporting documents to the acceptance agent. (Do not sign form until requested to do so.)

3. Submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child with Minor's certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent.

For complete instructions, click the link below.

Apply for Minor's Passport

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My sons father is deployed and my son is going to visit him can I get him a passport without his father being there?

by Stacy
(Grafton, WV)

Question: My son's father is in Germany. We are planning to visit him in April Can I get a passport without his father being there?

Answer: Along with the application form DS-11 and all other supporting documents, the applying parent must submit the following.

A signed, notarized statement from the non-applying parent, (or guardian, if any), agreeing to passport issuance to the minor. (Listing child's name and date of birth.) The non-applying parent may type or write his or her own statement, or complete and sign the appropriate section (4A) on the Department's form DS-3053 entitled "Statement of Consent." A photocopy of the non-applying parent's identification is required.
Sample wording would be:

"I, (name) consent to the Passport Application of my son/daughter (Name)(Date of Birth). Signed (Non-Applying Parent's Signature)

The statement from the non-applying parent (or guardian) must be notarized. The statement does not have to reflect any identification documentation for the non-applying parent. A faxed copy of the parental consent statement may be acceptable for urgent departure cases.

If the consent of the non-applying parent cannot be obtained because of an "Exigent" or "Special Family" circumstance, the applying parent must submit a written statement explaining the situation, or complete and sign the appropriate section (5) on the Department's form DS-3053 entitled "Statement of Consent".

For more details, visit the pages below.

How to Get a Child's Passport

Passports for Minors

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How can my child get a passport if her mother cannot be located?

by Larry
(Savannah, GA)

Question: I am a divorced father with legal custody of my three daughters. I want a passport for my oldest daughter, age 14. According to the divorce decree her mother must sign for it as well as I. The mother has not exercised her right for visitation for 2 years and she cannot be located. I have tried in vain to locate her but all certified letters come back as "addressee unknown".

My daughter has an opportunity to take an educational trip to Europe with her grandparents but of course cannot go without a passport.

Answer: There is space on the Statement of Parental Consent form DS-3053 to explain special circumstances. However, given the fact that the divorce decree states that the mother must sign in order for your daughter to apply for a passport, it is not likely to be accepted.

We recommend that you seek to obtain a court order from a judge that authorizes you to get a passport for your daughter and permits her to travel with her grandparents.

Please consult your lawyer concerning how to do this.

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Can i renew my daugther's passport with out my ex-husband?

by Maria
(Escondido, Ca, USA)

Question: My ex-husband gave my 15 year old daughter permission to have a passport about 10 years ago. Her passport has expired. We have tried to contact him but he won't reply to our request for the paperwork to get it renewed. Can I get her passport renewed without him. I have custody of her. He hasn't had any contact with her in over 10 years. Thank you for your time.

Answer: Unless you have sole legal custody, consent from the father is required for your daughter to get a passport. If you do not know the location of the father, then you can fill out a consent form and describe the situation in the space for "special circumstances". There is no guarantee that this will be accepted and the passport granted. Another option is to apply for a court order granting you permission to apply for a passport for your daughter. We recommend you consult a lawyer concerning this option.

For complete instruction on how to apply for a passport for a minor and links to required forms, click the link below.

Passport for Minor

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How does a single mother who has full custody of her child get the child's passport?

by Kory
(Deerfield Beach, FL)

Question: Hello. I am an attorney with the state of Florida. My client, a woman, is trying to get a passport for her minor daughter. When she went to get the passport the people who work there told her that both the father and mother's signature is required to get the minor child her passport. However, the Florida courts have granted the mother full custody of the child and took the father's rights away from him.

So my question to you is.....if the father's rights were taken away then why would his signature be necessary to get the child's passport?

If this is actually not the case then what would my client need to obtain a passport for her daughter? If she brought into the passport office the official court document showing that the mother has full custody of the child would that be enough proof to allow the mother to solely get the passport for her daughter?

Thank you for taking the time in addressing this matter.

Answer: A parent who has full custody of a minor may obtain a passport for the child without the consent of the other parent. The parent who has custody must submit evidence of sole legal custody. In the case of your client, the court order granting her full legal custody will suffice.

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I am single father and I am unclear on how to renew my daughter's passport?

by Gregory
(Fort Worth, Tx. USA)

Question: Can I simply follow the normal renewal process? Her first passport was issued on 20Aug02 and expired on 19Aug07, I signed for her and we have traveled since. We are planning a trip to the Bahamas this summer and need to know how to get started as soon as possible.

Answer: You must apply for a new passport for your daughter using form DS-11 and submitting all the required documentation. Passports issued to minors cannot be renewed by mail.

When applying for a child's passport, both parents are required to appear with the child. If you appear alone, you either have to submit a notarized consent form from the mother or evidence that you have sole legal custody.

For complete instructions, click the link below.

Apply for Child's Passport

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What if one parent of the minor has been deported and is unreachable?

Question: The father was deported in 2003. Have not heard from him since. Have joint custody. How do I apply for the child?

Answer: There are two options in this case. One, you can complete Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent or Special Circumstances and submit it along with Form DS-11 and all other required documentation.

Form DS-3053 has a section for "Special Circumstances". You can describe your situation in this space. You must sign and date Form DS-3053 in the presence of a Certified Notary Public. The notarized form must be submitted within 3 months of the date it is notarized.

If the State Department does not accept the special circumstance and denies the issuance of your child's passport, then you can apply for a court order that would grant you permission to apply for the passport and travel outside the U.S. with your child. Please consult your lawyer concerning this option.

For a list of all documents needed to get a passport for a minor, click the link below.

Apply for Child's Passport

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What if only one parent is listed on the birth certificate?

by Nancy
(Lewiston, ME)

Question: All the websites emphasize that both parents must be listed on the birth certificate. My daughter was born in CT and they would not put the fathers name on the birth certificate without his consent. He did not give consent and has relinquished all parental rights. I have a court order granting me sole custody. Will the birth certificate be a significant issue? If so, what can I do?

Answer: Both parents must appear when they are both listed on the birth certificate and have shared legal custody.

Since you are the only parent listed on the birth certificate and have sole legal custody, the father is not required to appear when applying for a passport for your daughter.

You also are NOT required to submit a consent form from the father.

For complete instructions on how to get a passport for your daughter, click the link below.

Get Passport for Child

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How do I get regular passports for my children if their father is deployed?

Question: I want to apply for tourist passports for me and my family. My kids and I already have military passports, so I was wondering how to go about applying for tourist passports for the 3 of us. Also, with a general power of attorney can I even get them passports or will I need a special poa? My husband is deployed.

Answer: Following are the regulations in a situation in which there is only one parent present at the time of application:

Passport regulations require that the DS-3053 or statement of non-applying parent's consent be notarized.

* The applying parent, (or legal guardian, if any), will execute the minor's application, with child present.

* The applying parent, (or legal guardian, if any), will provide acceptable identification documentation.

* Acceptable evidence listing the executing adult as the minor's parent will be submitted (see section above on both parents)

* The applying parent will provide either of the following:

1. A signed, notarized statement from the non-applying parent, (or guardian, if any), agreeing to passport issuance to the minor. (Listing child's name and date of birth.) The non-applying parent may type or write his or her own statement, or complete and sign the appropriate section (4A) on the Department's form DS-3053: Statement of Consent. A photocopy of the non-applying parent's identification is required.
Sample wording would be:

"I, (name) consent to the Passport Application of my son/daughter (Name)(Date of Birth). Signed (Non-Applying Parent's Signature)

The statement from the non-applying parent (or guardian) must be notarized. The statement does not have to reflect any identification documentation for the non-applying parent. A faxed copy of the parental consent statement may be acceptable for urgent departure cases.

If the consent of the non-applying parent cannot be obtained because of an "Exigent" or "Special Family" circumstance, the applying parent must submit a written statement explaining the situation, or complete and sign the appropriate section (5) on the Department's form DS-3053 entitled "Statement of Consent".

-OR-

2. Documentary evidence that the applying parent or guardian has sole legal custody or legal guardianship of the minor, that the minor is being authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction to travel outside the United States where a passport is required, or that the minor may be issued a U.S. passport. Such documentary evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) A certified birth certificate providing the minor's name, date and place of birth, and the applying parent's name only;
(b) An adoption decree naming only the applying parent;
(c) A guardianship decree naming only the applying guardian;
(d) A court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent or guardian. The order cannot include a provision limiting the minor's ability to travel outside the United States;
(e) A court order specifically authorizing passport issuance to the minor, regardless of custodial arrangements;
(f) A court order specifically authorizing the travel of the minor to a country where a U.S. passport is required;
(g) A court order declaring the non-applying parent or guardian to be incompetent;
(h) A copy of a death certificate for the non-applying parent or guardian.

For complete instructions, click the link below.

How to Get a Passport for a Child

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