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What if the non-custodial parent will not sign for the child to have a passport?

by Dawn
(Alpharetta, GA, USA)

Question: My son is 13 years old and we will be traveling to the Bahamas in June of next year for 3 days. I had to cancel our vacation last year because his father, who lives in Virginia, we are in Georgia, would not sign for him to have a passport. His only explanation was that he didn't need to go on a cruise.

There has to be something I can do in order to give my son this experience. He is not an active participant in my son's life and I would like any information that could be useful in obtaining a passport for my son.

Answer: If you have sole legal custody of your son, then the father's consent is not required. Of course, you must prove that you have sole legal custody.

If the father is identified on your son's birth certificate, has been granted shared legal custody by the courts and he can be contacted, then you must submit his notarized written consent if it is required.

Note, if your son will be traveling to the Bahamas on a closed-loop cruise, then a passport may not be required. A closed-loop cruise is one in which the cruise ship departs from and returns to the same U.S. port. It is highly probable that this is the case.

Please contact the cruise line for further information about document requirements. For contact information, click the link below.

Cruise Lines: Contact Information

If you discover that a passport is required for your son to take the cruise and the father does not agree to provide the consent form, one solution may be to seek a court order from a judge that would grant you permission to obtain the passport or require the father to consent. There is no guarantee that your request would be granted.

Comments for What if the non-custodial parent will not sign for the child to have a passport?

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Additional question
by: Aj

Question: If following the signing of child's birth certificate you are deemed Custodial Parent, do you still need signature of other parent for passport?

Answer: You need to be awarded sole LEGAL custody in order to apply for a child's passport without the other parent's signed consent.

Sole legal custody
by: Anonymous

Question: Can I still have sole legal custody if my daughter's dad is paying child support?

Answer: We recommend you consult an attorney regarding custody and child support issues.

Questions about an application
by: Anonymous

Question: I submitted an application for my 13 year old daughters passport. The father is not involved and never has been. A few years ago I legally changed her name through the courts by publishing an article in an attempt to locate the father. I submitted this court order as well as the form for exigent circumstances stating I haven't been able to locate this gentleman. I also stated paternity was never established via DNA testing.

I haven't heard back in regards to her passport and it's been about 3 weeks or so. My question is do you suspect this is enough information to support my request? Just anxious but afraid to reach out and inquire.

Thank you.

Answer: According to the State Department, requests may qualify as special family circumstance if the minor's family situation makes it exceptionally difficult or impossible for one or both of the minor's custodial parents/legal guardians to provide the notarized, written consent. Based on your explanation, your child's situation falls under this category.

If you want to check the status of the application, you may do so at the following web page:

You may also call 1-877-487-2778 to speak to a customer service representative.

Minor passport with 1 parent overseas
by: Anonymous

Question: How can we apply for a passport for a child born in USA whose father lives in another country and is not a US citizen?

Answer: The father can visit the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general to complete a consent form DS-3053 and have it notarized. He then needs to send the form and a copy of his ID used at time of notarization to you. You can submit these with your child's passport application and other required documents.

Passport with full custody
by: Anonymous

Question: Ok. I have full custody of my son and I live in Ohio. I want to send him to Mexico next year. When I went to apply for a passport for him, they said they need the mother's consent. I would like to know if this is true.

Answer: In order to apply for your minor son's passport without the consent of the mother, you must submit evidence of full legal custody. If you have full physical custody but not full legal custody, you must submit the mother's notarized consent.

Custody and documentation
by: Anonymous

Question: I applied for my son's and daughter's passports. I assumed sole physical custody was enough and submitted my request for passports. I checked the status of one and it is asking for the noncustodial parents consent or the special form about not being able to contact the other parent. I received my daughter's but not my son's.

Answer: Sole physical custody is not sufficient to apply for a minor's passport. You must submit either notarized consent from the non-applying parent or evidence of sole legal custody.

How old is your daughter? Minors ages 16 & 17 only need the parental awareness of one parent. If she is age 15 or younger and you did not submit evidence of sole legal custody, the passport should not have been issued.

passports for my children
by: yasmeen

Question: I'm trying to get passports for my kids. I haven't heard from their fathers in 2 years. I can't get in contact with them. I don't know where they are. I want to know what forms can I sign so me and my kids can see our family?

Answer: Please call 1-877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative.

I have sole custody. How do I obtain my child's passport?
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi. I'm planning a trip to the Dominican Republic for 5 days stay with my 2-year-old son. I have sole custody of my son. I have no comunication with his dad. I don't even have his address or contact number. Do I need his permission to obtain my son's passport?

Answer: If the father is listed on your son's birth certificate, you have to either submit notarized consent from the father or evidence of sole legal custody. Sole physical custody will not suffice.

Question about my 2 1/2 yr old son's passport
by: Anonymous

Question: I'm a single mother with a 2 1/2 yr old son. I'm planning on traveling within the US to a few states including Hawaii and Alaska. I heard about new laws being placed that to fly within the US one will now need a passport. I was wondering if this is true or if I can fly with my son anywhere within the US without a passport still?

Answer: A passport is not required for domestic flights.

child living abroad
by: Anonymous

Question: My son is 11. He was born in the US. Both his dad and I are from Nigeria. His father moved with my son to London 7 years ago. He got a divorce decree in Nigeria 4 years ago awarding him custody. I still live in the US. The father refuses to renew my son's passport. My son is living in the UK illegally. I'm traveling to the UK to see my son for the first time after 7 years and would like to bring him back to the US. Is there a way I can get a passport for my son when his father refuses to sign the statement of consent. Can my son's residence status in the UK help me get a passport without the father's signature. If I have to use the courts, do I have to use courts in the UK or should go to the courts in the US for a court order.

Answer: We recommend you contact the U.S. Embassy in London concerning this issue.

Will I need permission for my 15-year-old daughter?
by: Anonymous

Question: Hello, I've booked a cruise to the Bahamas and will be traveling with my 15-year-old daughter from Florida. We will board the ship on Jan/21 and will arrive in Bahamas on the Jan/22. Which is my daughter's 16th birthday. Will I need permission from her father before we cruise? We were never married and he is on her birth certificate. Also, my daughter is not a passport holder.

Answer: Please contact the cruise line for travel document requirements. They can inform you concerning whether or not the father's consent is required and if your daughter needs a passport.

by: Anonymous

Question: I share joint custody of my teenage son (15) and I am the primary custodial parent. I am attempting to get a passport to travel to England in August of 2017. I attempted to send a DS-3053 to my ex-husband but he said he will not sign it. Is there anyway for me to get a passport?

Answer: If your son will turn 16 before August 2017, he can apply for a passport without his parents as long as he has a valid photo ID.

If he will not complete his 16th birthday before the trip, he will need the consent of his father. If the father is unwilling to sign, you can speak with a judge at the nearest family court to see if the father can be obligated to sign or if his signature can be bypassed.

my minors' passports
by: Anonymous

Question: Hi, I gave birth to my twin girls in the United States in January 2015. I live in Nigeria. Their father's consent was given and his name is on the birth certificates and passports. We have been having issues and he seized the kids' passports from me. Now I want to travel to the US with the kids for vacation but he has refused to give me the passports. What should I do? The marriage is abusive and I want to leave the marriage. How do I get new passports without their father?

Answer: We recommend you contact an attorney or the nearest family court for assistance. You might also contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.

mutliple passports
by: Anonymous

Question: Is it possible for a child to have two passports? I have joint custody and both parents, I think, are willing to sign to consent for a passport. However to avoid one parent from holding the passport "hostage" is it possible for two copies; one for each parent? With or without parents consent for two copies? Which obviously could avoid legal expense in the future to compell one parent to release the passport for perfectly legal travel for a parent with joint custody. thanks

Answer: It is not possible to obtain two passports for the case you described above.

Father of daughter won't respond to request for signature
by: Anonymous

Question: My husband and I want to take our kids and grand kids to Mexico 2017. We have filled out the form where the other parent cannot be located stating how we have tried to find him and just found out that it was denied stating we needed his signature. She is almost 12 and the father saw her two days after she was born and two weeks after she was born and has not been in her life since. They were never married. I sent him a private message via Facebook - he read it and then blocked me. My daughter then sent a message - he didn't read it but immediately blocked her. We have no other way to get in touch with him. My heart is broken because my dream has been crushed. Any help on what we should do next would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Answer: You might want to consider one of the following options. One, consult an attorney about obtaining sole legal custody. You might find the resource Child Custody Strategies for Women useful for this.

Two, contact the nearest family court to see if a judge will bypass the father's signature, or make him sign.

Noncustodial parent will not consent to a passport
by: Anonymous

Question: I am the custodial parent and I want to visit my sister in China along with my 3-year-old. Her father (noncustodial) will not sign off on the birth certificate. His name is not on the birth certificate but he has court ordered visitation. Would I be able to obtain a passport without his consent?

Answer: You can submit your child's birth certificate as evidence of sole legal custody in order to get a passport for her.

by: Anonymous

Question: I applied for my daughter's and son's passports and submitted the form DS-5525 with both applications. I got a letter in the mail stating that I needed to submit the form but I already had. Where can I get started with the process of getting sole custody of both kids so it'll be an easier process in the future?

Answer: Please contact the nearest family court or consult an attorney.

Run away father
by: Anonymous

Question: My son was born two months ago. His father signed his birth certificate but a week later he ran off to Mexico and is unreachable. I tried reaching out to his family many times, but no one will give me any info. I'm going to Mexico with my baby in less than a month and I need to know what to do. Please help!

Answer: Along with Form DS-11 and required supporting documents, you can submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. The statement must explain in detail the non-applying parent's or guardian's unavailability and recent efforts made to contact the non-applying parent.

Minor passport
by: Ivey

Question: I want to get my daughter's passport but am not able to find her father because his name was never put on her birth certificate.

Answer: Since the father's name is not on the passport, he does not need to be present nor do you need to submit notarized consent to apply from him. You can submit the birth certificate as evidence of sole legal custody. For a list of all requirements, click here.

My son
by: Anonymous

Question: I'm a father of a 3yo and want to get a passport so we can travel. But neither myself nor his mother has custody because I cant find her. Can Í still get a passport without her?

Answer: If the mother's name is listed on the birth certificate, here consent is required. If you cannot find her, you can submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. For more information about getting a passport for a minor, click here.

I'm the custodial parent? Do I have to have permission from the non-custodial parent for a passport?
by: Anonymous

Questions: I'm listed as the custodial parent for my 13 year old son. This was done as a court order. I have two questions: 1. Do I need a noterized letter from his father to take a cruise (closed loop)? 2. do I need his permission to obtain a passport for my son?

Answers: 1. Contact the cruise line concerning document requirements when a minor is traveling with only one parent. 2. Unless you have sole legal custody and not just physical custody, the father's consent is required in order to get a passport. Note, passports are not required to re-enter the United States when traveling on a closed-loop cruise. They may be required for the destinations you will visit. Again, contact the cruise line about travel document requirements.

by: Anonymous

Question: If I do not have custody of my child and his father has custody, he is not on the child's birth certificate. I do not want to give any consent to allow his father to take him out of the country - do I have this right? Can his father go over my head? Do I have the right to pick state where he can take our son?

Answer: One parent can apply for a passport for minor under the following conditions.

1. The applying parent presents notarized consent from the non-applying parent.

2. The applying parent presents evidence of sole legal custody. This can be either a birth certificate that has only the applying parent's name on it or a court order granting sole legal custody.

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