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Expedite Your Child's Passport: A Comprehensive Guide

a young girl smiles while holding her passport at the airport

Getting a passport for a child under the age of 16 is a more complicated process than getting one for an adult. There are extra logistical layers to the child passport application process that parents must be prepared for.

In this guide, we walk you through the steps to get a passport for a minor, including how to be sure you meet all the requirements and get your child's passport on time.

Applying for a passport for a minor currently takes 6 to 8 weeks with routine processing. If this is not fast enough for your needs, you have three options to get a passport for a minor more quickly. The following sections break down your options with step-by-step guides for expediting your child's passport.

Table of Contents


Assess if You Need to Expedite Your Child's Passport

Before deciding to expedite your child's passport, it's essential to evaluate the urgency of your travel plans. Consider the following factors:

  1. Travel Date: Check the departure date against the standard processing time for child passports (currently 6 to 8 weeks). If your travel date is close to or within the standard processing times, you should choose expedited processing.
  2. Unforeseen Circumstances: If a sudden travel need arises due to an emergency, expedited service is your only option to get a passport as quickly as you need.
  3. Peace of Mind: Some parents prefer expedited service for peace of mind, ensuring the passport arrives well before the travel date. Having a valid passport means being prepared for whatever international travel needs may arise.

Remember, expedited service incurs additional fees, so weigh the urgency of your travel against the extra cost.


Choose the Best Expedited Passport Option for Your Child

a brother and sister hold their passports at the airport

When you need to expedite your child's passport, there are three main options to consider. Each option has its own set of procedures, costs, and timeframes. Selecting the right one depends on how quickly you need the passport and your personal circumstances.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.


Option 1: Expedited Service at a Passport Acceptance Facility

If your travel date is not immediate but you need the passport sooner than the standard processing time, using an expedited service at a Passport Acceptance Facility is a viable option.

How Long It Takes

This service currently takes 2 to 3 weeks.

How to Apply

You will need to make an appointment and visit a local Passport Acceptance Facility with the following:

  • Your child
  • Both of the child's parents (or a signed, notarized Form DS-3053 for each legal guardian unable to appear).
  • Form DS-11*
  • Your supporting documentation
  • the expedited service fee
    • *Note: Do not sign form DS-11 until directed to do so by a passport agent.


You must pay the standard application fee and an additional expediting fee of $60.

In total, an expedited passport for a minor currently costs:

  • $135 for a passport book
  • $50 for an expedited passport card
  • $150 for both an expedited passport book and card

Best Option For:

Those who have at least 2 to 3 weeks before their travel date and do not have proof of imminent travel within 14 days.

Option 2: Expedited Service through a Passport Agency

a line of applicants waiting to get passports at the Atlanta Regional Passport Agency

For travel within 14 days, or if you need a foreign visa within four weeks, expedited service through a Regional Passport Agency is recommended.

How Long It Takes

Depending on the urgency of your travel needs, a passport agency will process your application within 8 business days or as quickly as the same day.

How to Apply

  • Make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency. You can do this by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.
  • Attend your appointment with the following:

      *Note: Do not sign form DS-11 until directed to do so by a passport agent.


Just like Option 1, you must pay the standard application fee and an additional expediting fee of $60.

At a Regional Passport Agency you can expect to pay:

  • $135 for a passport book
  • $50 for an expedited passport card
  • $150 for both an expedited passport book and card

Best Option For

Those who live near one of the 26 Regional Passport Agency locations and can document that their children have a need to travel abroad within two weeks.

Option 3: Using a Private Expediter

A registered passport expediting service can help you get a passport for a child quickly while also helping you navigate the complexities of the application process.

These passport expediting experts will start by walking you through the forms and documents you need to gather. From there, they will visit a regional passport agency on your behalf.

How Long It Takes

Passport expediting services can help you get a child's passport within two weeks or as soon as the same day in certain circumstances.

How to Apply

There are several steps to apply for a passport renewal through an expediting service:

  1. Choose a reputable passport expediting service

    Working with a passport expediter means entrusting them with crucial identifying documents for both you and your family.

    As such, you want to be sure to choose a trustworthy service. Choose a company that has a good reputation and a proven track record of success and reliability. These companies must take protecting your family's sensitive information seriously to maintain their reputations.

    For more on this, visit our guide, 5 Criteria for Choosing the Best Passport Expediting Service.

    In a rush? Check out our expert picks of the best passport expediters

  2. Gather your child's application materials

    Passport expediting services cannot gather and complete your application materials on behalf of you or your child. As such, you will need to complete all the same paperwork as if you were applying in person with Option 1 or Option 2. This includes visiting a passport office to sign your application documents in front of a passport agent witness.

    You will also need to complete a formal authorization letter that allows the expediter to legally represent you and your child before the regional passport agency. The passport expediter will provide these forms to you.

  3. Get the application documents to the expediter

    Once assembled, signed, and witnessed, all of the completed documents need to be transferred to the expediter. This can happen either in person or through the mail. This cannot be done electronically.

    Know that since passport applications require original documents, scanned or copied documents will never be accepted.

    Tip: If you are mailing your documents, choose the quickest shipping speed you can to be sure you can get your passport as soon as possible.

  4. The expediter takes care of the rest

    Once your expediter has your child's passport application materials, they will usually review them for mistakes. This includes problems with your application as well as noting any items that are missing or incomplete.

    A courier will then hand-deliver your child's application and documents on your behalf to a regional passport agency.

    After the application has been processed, the courier picks up your child's new passport and supporting materials. All of them are then returned to you-usually via overnight shipping.

    Some expediting services offer extra delivery options for special circumstances. For example, an expediter may offer to personally deliver the new passport to you at a hotel or airport.


In addition to the routine passport processing and expediting fees charged by the U.S. Department of State, you will also need to pay the passport expediting service. These services are free to set their own rates, and usually charge more the faster you need your child's passport.

While this technically results in a higher cost than the other options, it can wind up being less expensive than visiting a Regional Agency on your own. The expediter's service fees are often less than the cost of travel, food, lodging, and missed work that come with having to visit a Regional Agency and wait for your child's passport to be issued.

Best Option For:

Extremely urgent travel situations or for convenience if you are unable (or unwilling) to apply at a Regional Passport Agency location in person.


Tracking Your Child's Passport Application

Once you have applied for your child's expedited passport, tracking the application's status becomes crucial to plan your travel effectively. Here's how to stay informed:

  • Online Tracking System: Utilize the official passport tracking system available on the State Department's website. You will need to enter your child's application number to receive real-time updates.
  • Email and Phone Notifications: Opt for email and phone updates during the application process to receive notifications directly.
  • Customer Service Support: In case of any uncertainties or delays, contact the National Passport Information Center for assistance and detailed information about your child's application status.

By regularly tracking the application, you can stay informed and make necessary travel arrangements should processing take longer or less time than anticipated.

Required Documents for a Child's Passport

When applying for your child's passport, you'll need to gather several important documents:

Passport Photo Guidelines for Minors

Ensuring that your child's passport photo meets the required standards is crucial for a successful application. Here are the key guidelines:

  • Recent Photo: The photo must be taken within the last 6 months to reflect your child's current appearance.
  • Size and Quality: Standard passport photo size is 2 x 2 inches. The photo should be in color, clear, with good contrast and resolution.
  • Head Position and Expression: The child should be facing the camera directly, with a neutral expression or a natural smile.
  • Background: Use a plain white or off-white background without any patterns or objects.
  • Clothing and Accessories: Everyday clothing is recommended. Hats, head coverings, and sunglasses are not allowed unless for religious or medical reasons.
  • Infants and Newborns: For infants, lay them on a white blanket for the photo, ensuring no shadows on the face or background.

Remember, an incorrect passport photo is one of the main reasons for application delays or rejections.

FAQs about Expedited Child Passports

a traveling family checking in to a hotel with their child

Question: Can I expedite my child's passport if we're traveling due to a family emergency abroad?

A: Yes, emergency situations are often grounds for expedited passport processing. You will need to provide documentation of the emergency when applying.

Question: Does my child need any additional documentation besides a passport to travel internationally?

A:When traveling internationally with your child, besides a passport, additional documentation may be required, especially in certain situations:

  • Parental Consent: A notarized minor travel consent form from the non-traveling parent(s) or legal guardians may be required if traveling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian.
  • Visas: Depending on the destination, a travel visa may be required for your child.
  • Health Documentation: Some countries may require vaccination records or health certificates.
  • Additional Identification: Carrying a birth certificate or other identification for your child can be helpful.

Always check the specific requirements of your destination country and any countries you'll transit through. It's also wise to consult with airlines, as they may have additional requirements for minors traveling internationally, particularly unaccompanied minors.

Question: If my child's expedited passport application is delayed, can I get a refund for the expediting fee?

A: The expediting fee is non-refundable, even if there are unexpected delays in processing the passport application.

Question: Can I use a private expediter for a child's passport if I'm not in the U.S.?

A: Yes, private expediters can assist with passport applications from abroad, but ensure they are reputable and understand the specific requirements for applications from outside the U.S. Check out our directory of top passport expediters for options.

Question: Are there any additional requirements for expedited passports for children adopted internationally?

A: For internationally adopted children, you'll need to provide the adoption decree and, if applicable, the child's foreign passport along with the standard required documents.

Question: If I've recently changed my child's name, how does this affect expedited passport processing?

A: You will need to provide legal documentation of the name change (e.g., court decree, adoption papers) along with the other required documents for the passport application.

Have more questions about getting a passport for a minor under the age of 16? Click here for our full list of frequently asked questions about obtaining a passport for a child.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry?
2. What exactly does a passport expediter do?
3. Are passport expediting services legitimate?
4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor?
5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

Get answers to these questions and more in our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting.

In a Hurry? Get Reliable Expedited Passport Courier Service:Expedite My U.S.Passport Now!
About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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