Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

Child Passport Information - How to Get a Passport for a Minor Age 15 or Younger

Need a child's passport? Get ready to have your patience tested. Acquiring or renewing a child's passport is no walk in the park. Over the past few years, new requirements have been added in an effort to combat child abduction and trafficking. The new requirements mean more work for parents to acquire passports for their children. While guaranteeing the safety of children may be a worthy objective, it still means more work. To make it through the process without a hitch, it is important to begin early and pay close attention to detail.

The first thing you need to know is that your child must apply in person with both parents or guardians (see special cases below). There is no renewal of a passport by mail for minors so children under 16 whose current passports have expired or are near the expiration date must apply in person as if for the first time.


Complete Application Form DS-11

The are two ways to complete the application form.

Complete Form DS-11 Offline

Download New Passport Form

After downloading and printing, you can fill in the application offline. Applicants should write legibly in black ink. If the agent has difficulty reading what you wrote, it can lead to errors in the new passport. The application should not be signed until an acceptance agent asks you to do so.

Complete Form DS-11 Online

Online Passport Application

Print the form once you have completed it online. Some applicants have complained of connection problems or the fact that the online form would not accept some of their answers. In such a case, use the link above to print the form and complete it offline.

There are only 22 questions on 2 pages. Personal information that is requested includes the full name, date and place of birth, sex, phone number, travel plans and emergency contact. While the estimated burden is 85 minutes, you will most likely complete the form more quickly.


Gather Supporting Documents

There are several documents that you must either present at the time you submit the application at a passport office or send with the form to the processing center. The list includes the following:

Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

Certified copies can be acquired at the registrar's office of the state where your child was born. Be sure to get the "long form".

Evidence of Parental Relationship

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Adoption decree
  • Divorce/Custody decree
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen (FS-240)

The parent(s) or guardian(s) who are applying for the child's passport must submit photo ID if the child does not have one. Acceptable identification document is an undamaged passport or valid driver's license. A photocopy of each identification document must be submitted as well. The copy must be on plain white paper that is 8 1/2 x 11" in size. Images can only be on one side of the paper.

A passport photo that is 2x2 inches in size and was taken within the last six months must be submitted for each child.

Additional Documents for Special Circumstances

Minor Has Only One Parent/Guardian

Evidence of sole authority to apply for the minor must be submitted with the application in the form of a:

  • U.S. or foreign birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or adoption decree, listing only the applying parent
  • Court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)
  • Court order specifically permitting applying parent's travel with the child
  • Judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent
  • Death certificate of the non-applying parent

One Parent/Guardian Is Unable to Appear

The DS-11 application must be accompanied by a signed, notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the non-applying parent/guardian.

One Parent/Guardian Is Absent and Cannot Be Located

The applying parent must 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.

The applying parent also may be required to provide evidence (e.g., custody order, incarceration order, restraining order) to document his/her claim of exigent or special circumstances. To protect against international parental child abduction, the Passport Agency processing the application may ask for additional details if the statement is determined to be insufficient.

Both Parents/Guardians Are Unavailable

A third party may apply for a passport for the minor with a signed, notarized written statement or affidavit from both parents or guardians authorizing a third party to apply for the minor. Each statement must be accompanied by a photocopy of the parents' or guardians' identification. When the statement of affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the third party must present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The written consent from the non-applying parent that accompanies an application for a new passport must be less than three months old. New written consent from the non-applying parent must be obtained and submitted with any future passport application for the minor under age 16.


Visit Application Acceptance Facility

Once you have Form DS-11 completed and all the documents together, contact the nearest application acceptance facility. There are approximately 9,000 passport offices spread throughout the United States. Most of them are located in post offices.

Related Article: Applying for a passport at a post office.

Finally, you need to pay the child passport fees. There is an application fee and an execution fee. The first is paid to the Department of State and the second to the attending agent.

Applications that are submitted at a passport office take up to six weeks to process unless you request expedited service in which case it could arrive in 2 or 3 weeks. For faster service, you need to apply at a US passport agency or, if this is not possible, through an express passport service.

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