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Can a 16-year-old get her passport without father's permission?

by Angela
(Phoenix, Az United States)

Question: I am 16 and my parents are separated. My father is living in a different state, he never fought for custody, and I live with my mother. My mother, sister, brother (both of legal age), and I want to go to Mexico in the summer. Do I need my father's permission to get a passport and leave the U.S.?

Answer: If your mother has sole legal custody, then the father's consent is not required. Even if she does not have sole legal custody, your father's consent may not be required.

There has been inconsistency in relation to this issue. Some acceptance agents require the presence of both parents or the presence of one parent and notarized consent from the non-applying parent. Others will accept a passport application from a 16-year-old accompanied by only one parent.

Contact the nearest Phoenix passport office for more information about specific requirements.

Many countries require minor children traveling with only one parent to carry notarized consent to travel from the non-traveling parent. Contact Mexico's Secretary of Tourism for more information. The number is 1-866-640-0597.

For a list of requirements to obtain a passport, click the link below.

New Passport Requirements

For a list of location where you can apply in Phoenix, click the link below.

Phoenix Passport Offices

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Can Noncustodial Leave Country With 16 yo
by: Reema

Question: I’m 16 and my dad who doesn’t have custody is trying to get me a passport and leave the country with me. Can he do this? I live in New York.

Answer: At 16, you will only need one parent's consent (implied will do) in order to get a passport. Your dad may write you a check for the passport fees and give you a signed letter stating consent for the passport application.

You need the following for the passport application:

1. Form DS-11
2. Evidence of U.S. citizenship (original or certified copy)
3. Your own government-issued photo ID (present original, submit a photocopy)
4. One new passport photo
5. Payment for fees

Standard service takes 8 to 11 weeks. If you expedite (add $60), you will get your passport in 5 to 7 weeks. These times are just approximations -- the passport may arrive before or after the published processing times. We strongly recommend not making any final travel arrangements until you receive your passport.

As for leaving the country with the non-custodial parent, you will have to check the custody orders issued by the courts. It is possible that consent from the custodial parent is required for you to leave the United States.

Need passport without father's consent
by: Nataly

Question: I live with my mother and all my siblings, no father present. He lives with his family in Portland. We live in Salem. We stopped seeing him because he is tiring and not responsible, especially with his wife there to interfere with bonding time. Me and younger brother really want our passports and dual citizenship before its too late, but our dad just won't give it to us. He says no unless he gets joint custody of us. He blackmails my mother saying it's the ONLY way he will do it. But that will NEVER happen because we don't want him to have any decision making and control of our lives. I'm going to be 17 soon, and feel that I am running out of time. I'm extremely tired of fighting with him and feel hopeless. My mother agrees with getting my passport and especially my dual citizenship because I need that before I turn 18 and can't afford the fees every time I want to travel when I do turn 18. I don't know what to do anymore. HELP PLEASE!!

Answer: At 16, you can already apply for your passport without your father's consent. Minors age 16 and 17 who already have their own government-issued ID may apply with only one parent. Your mother can either accompany you to the acceptance facility or provide a signed consent plus a photocopy of her ID. Consent may also be implied if she writes a check for you to pay the fees.

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UPDATE: Mailing delays and high demand are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility. Standard service may take between 8 and 11 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 5 to 7 weeks excluding mailing times on the front and back end. Current mailing delays are significant. Requesting 1-2-day mailing service is recommended.

Regional passport agencies are offering two types of appointments: Life-of-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 3 business days.

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment:

Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. ET, call 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY:1-888-874-7793) Outside of these hours, call 202-647-4000.

For Urgent Travel Service, you need to call 14 days before your scheduled international travel or 28 days if you also need to secure a foreign visa.

If you need to travel urgently for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency, please call the NPIC at 1-877-487-2778 Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. ET.

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