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Can you get a passport for my minor child if he is already out of the country?

by Brenda
(Texas, USA)

Question: I have a friend that sent his son to Mexico with his family and did not get the passport before his son left. He thought that he would be able to get the passport without him being present.

He is not on his son's birth certificate but he was, by law, given custody of his son and is the legal guardian. Will he still be able to obtain a passport for his son or will he still be able to bring him without the passport.

His mother is nowhere to be found, but he is the legal guardian. Please let me know as soon as possible so that I can tell him what he needs to do. Thanks.

Answer: If I understand correctly, your friend is legal guardian of a minor who is presently in Mexico. Your friend wants to apply for a passport for his son.

First of all, the person to whom the passport will be issued must appear in person before an authorized passport agent. Therefore, your friend cannot apply for a passport for his son without his son being present.

One solution is for a third party to take the man's son to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general in Mexico. There, he will be able to apply for a passport.

In order to do this the person that takes the child must either

1) Submit a notarized written statement or affidavit from both parents or guardians authorizing them to apply for the child's passport or

2) when the statement of affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the person must also present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.

All other requirements apply. For a complete list, click the link below.

How to Get a Child's Passport

Comments for Can you get a passport for my minor child if he is already out of the country?

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by: Anonymous

Question: My nephew was born here. He has been in Mexico since he was 2. How can we bring him to the United States? His parents are not in Mexico and are not of legal status to travel.

Answer: Your nephew must apply in person at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or any of the U.S. Consulates located all over Mexico. If he is age 15 or younger, he must be accompanied by an adult. His parents need to provide this person with notarized consent to apply for the passport.

Passports not required for travel within "border zone"
by: William

Since March 1, 2010, all U.S. citizens ? including children ? have been required to present a valid passport or passport card for travel beyond the ?border zone? into the interior of Mexico. The ?border zone? is generally defined as an area within 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location. Regardless of the destination in Mexico; however, all U.S. citizens age 16 or older must present a valid U.S. passport book or passport card to re-enter the U.S. by land. A passport book is required to return to the United States via an international flight.

Doubt about passport requirement for travel to Mexico
by: Miguel

We went to Mexico by land on mothers weekend and my sister in law doesn't have a passport for any of her 3 children in the way back the agent ask for passports and documentation she gave their birth certificates and he asked her for the passports so she ask them if they needed one since they are little. So the agent said no they don't need one if they are under 16 years least I'm thankful that the agent didn't make us stay there for a long time and check their identity and all that but this caught my attention because everyone says that any U.S. citizen needs one regardless of their age.

Passport for Minors
by: Brenda

Is it true that if the minor is traveling only by land, they do not need a passport? Will the minor be able to enter the United States again with only his/her birth certificate?


This is true for Canada but not for Mexico. Minors who will enter the U.S. from Mexico are required to present a valid passport.

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Return to Passports for Minors FAQ.

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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 10 and 13 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 7 to 9 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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