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How do I get father's consent to obtain a passport or passport card for daughter?

by Elizabeth
(Michigan, US)

Question: We are interested in making a trip to Canada in a couple months, so I would like to get the passport process started. Research has led me to the passport card. Is this something we can get instead of the passport? And is my 6-year-old eligible for this? Her father lives in Alabama and we live in Michigan, so how do we go about getting his consent for her? And where do we go to get all of this done? Is this something that is done at the post office? Thank you for your time!

Answer: You only need a passport for your daughter if you plan to travel to Canada by air. Children under 18 are only required to present proof of citizenship and identity. Of course, a passport card serves both these purposes. If you plan to travel by air, you must apply for a passport book.

In order to obtain a passport for a minor, you are required to appear in person with the child at an application acceptance facility. You can find a list of locations here.

Michigan Passport Offices

If you do not have sole legal custody, then you must submit notarized consent form DS-3053 from the father. He can download the application form online. He needs to complete the form and have it notarized then send it to you.

Besides consent to obtain a passport, you also need a notarized consent to travel form from the father. This is required by the Canadian Border Services Agency. There is no specific form for this document, but it should include dates of travel, parents’ names and photo copies of their state-issued IDs.

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Is a minor travel consent form necessary for a mother to travel alone with a child?

by Nicole
(Kent, WA, USA)

Question: My son has a current passport which both his father and I were present when applying, however I have since been informed that children traveling to Mexico with just one parent still need consent from the other parent beyond the passport?

If this is true what is the form number that I would need his father to sign? We have a vacation planned to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico traveling from June 25th returning on July 2nd and I want to make sure that when I show up at that airport that I have everything I need for my son to travel.

Answer: There is no hard and fast rule concerning travel with minors. Some border agents will ask for a consent form while others will not. Some countries that require you to present a consent form also require that it be notarized but not all do.

The U.S. government does not publish an official form. However, you can click the link below to download a form that others have used and should suffice if you are requested to present one.

Minor Travel Consent Form

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Passport department still insists they need absent parents consent! Help!

by Gemma

Question: Form DS-3053 has been submitted with passport application but the passport department still insists that they need the absent parent's consent! Help!

I booked a cruise to the Southern Caribbean for myself, my 18-year-old son, my 7-year-old daughter, and my parents. We are scheduled to depart on February 5th of next year but I am having trouble obtaining a passport for my 7-year-old. Her father developed a drug habit and we have not seen or heard from him for several years.

I submitted form DS-3053 explaining the situation but received a letter from the passport office requesting a sworn affidavit from him. I contacted the passport office and received a call back from the person handling the case who simply told me that I do need a sworn affidavit.

I have exhausted all avenues in trying to contact her father. I was never married to her father but his name is listed on her birth certificate. I'm just not sure what I can do at this time.

My only options per the passport office is to have his name removed from her birth certificate or file for full custody which cannot be done before our trip. The cruise is scheduled to depart from Puerto Rico and stops in St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Grenada.

Is there anything that can be done to help my case with the passport office?

Answer: First of all, you must follow the agent's instructions in order to get a passport for your daughter. Either you will have to submit the sworn affidavit or file for full custody. It is unlikely that the courts would permit the removal of the father's name from the birth certificate.

It is possible that our daughter may not require a passport. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix) are United States territories. Americans are not required to present passports when traveling to these locations.

According to information obtained from respective embassy websites, U.S. citizens are required to have 180 days remaining validity on their passports to enter Antigua, 6 months for Grenada and St. Lucia.

However, there is an exception to the passport rule for closed-loop cruises. These are cruises which begin and end in the same location. Passports are not required for travel on a closed-loop cruise.

Note, however, that you should check with the cruise line. Many cruise lines require a valid passport for passengers even though the countries that will be visited do not.

If you are unable to obtain a passport and the cruise line requires one, my recommendation is that you either change the cruise to one that only visits U.S. territories or look for a closed-loop cruise that does not require you obtain a passport for your daughter.

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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.

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How do I complete the DS3053 for my daughter when her father is unable to sign because of a stroke?

by Helen

Question: I need to renew my daughter's passport for a trip in December. My husband is now in a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center after complications during surgery. He is unable to sign the consent form. I have full POA but the post office told me that he needs to sign even though I explained he cannot read or write. What do I need to do? Thank you. Helen

Answer: There is a place on Form DS-3053 for special circumstances. I suggest you complete that section and include a copy of the POA and an official document from the doctor explaining your husband's condition and inability to sign the document.

Also, you may consider applying at a different passport application acceptance facility. You can access a complete list by clicking the link below.

Virginia Passport Offices

Finally, if you are unable to find a passport agent that will accept the application, you may want to visit a regional passport processing center. For more information, click the link below.

Passport Agency List

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Parental consent for minor child's name change on passport

by Dee
(Lincoln, RI, USA)

Question: I legally changed the name of my minor child, and need to get his name changed on his passport. Both his father and I (now divorced) are listed as parents on his birth certificate.

Do I still need to obtain his parental consent to get a new passport for my child? His current passport is still valid and does not expire until next year. Please advice. Thanks.

Answer: In order to change the name on a passport for a minor, you must apply for a new child's passport. The requirements include the physical appearance and consent of both parents. If the father cannot appear, then you must submit a written, notarized consent form DS-3053 from him.

Besides the regular requirements for a minor's passport, you also must submit evidence of the legal name change.

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Can I obtain passports for my 15 and 17-year-old children without their father's consent?

Question: We have 50/50 parenting time. He has medical, dental and vision decision making. I have all other decision making. My 3 children's passports expire in August. In order to obtain them, I had to hire an attorney and go through a very expensive legal battle ($60,000) in order to get their father's signed consent form. Even after he was ordered to sign, I had additional expense and had to battle him for another 6 months to actually obtain his signature. The process took over 2 years.

Now that it is time to renew, I'm trying to figure out if there is any way to avoid that time and expense again. Two of the children are 15 and one is 17. Our court order states, "Petitioner (me) is hereby designated custodian of the children solely for the purposes of all federal and state statutes which require a designation or determination of custody."

Is there any chance this will suffice so I don't have to get his consent? If so, will I need to provide a complete copy of the entire court order, or just this part? Will the copy have to be certified by the court? Are the rules different for my 17-year-old than they are for my 15-year-old children? If I obtain the passports, will the children still need his consent to travel out of the country?

Answer: The 17-year-old is fine. No consent is needed. For the 15-year-old children, you need to submit the father's consent unless you have sole legal custody with a full court order signed by the judge with a raised seal. This must be the original document or a certified, embossed copy. Note, at age 16, only one parent is required to appear with the minor.

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Parental consent and delayed passport

by Benjamin
(Chico, CA, USA)

Question: We are trying to check on the status of a new passport for our son. We submitted paperwork for our other three children at the same time and have received their passports, but apparently a parental consent form was not included in my son's packet that we submitted originally through the Orland post office.

We submitted a letter of consent for him to obtain a passport as soon as we were requested to do so by the passport agency in San Francisco, but it has been 2 weeks now and we have not received his passport. Any update?

Answer: Please click the link below to check the status of your son's passport application.

Passport Status Check

If you need further information, you can contact the National Passport Information Center by calling 1-877-487-2778 or sending an email to npic@state.gov.

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Non-custodial parent cannot be located for signature on children's passports

by Dana

Question: My kids and I are planning to take a vacation to the Dominican Republic this summer. Their father cannot be located; in the past I tried to file for child support through the courts for a court order child support.

I have legal paper work stating the non-custodial parent could not be located, and that his whereabouts are unknown. Since I have paper work stating the father could not be located, I don't have any information of his whereabouts, and his name was listed on the Birth Certificate.

Is there anyway that I can get a passport for both of my children, without having the consent of their father since he can not be located?

Answer: You can complete the "Special Circumstances" section of Form DS-3053. Explain the situation as thoroughly as possible. Include evidence to the fact that you do not know where the father is located and have no means of contacting him in order to obtain his consent for you to get passport for your children.

Note, there is no guarantee that your request will be approved. Applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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What can I do if the father does not want to get the passport for our child?

(San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Question: I want to get a passport for my little daughter but her father doesn't want to cooperate in order to get her the passport. She lives with me and I have the custody. We didn't get married so we don't have any legal paper that proves my legal custody. He doesn't have any reason but just wants to give me a hard time in everything I do. He can do it but he doesn't want to cooperate with me. Do I have any legal "tool" to make him sign to get the passport?

Answer: In order to apply for a passport for your daughter without requiring the consent of the father, you must provide proof of sole legal custody.

If the father's name is given on your daughter's birth certificate, then you must submit a notarized letter of consent from him in order to get the passport. If the father's name is not on the birth certificate, then the consent form is not needed.

Another possibility is to try to obtain a court order that would allow you to get the passport for your daughter and travel with her. I recommend you consult a lawyer before proceeding with this option.

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Minor traveling with grandparents. What do they need?

Question: I have a minor who wants to travel to Mexico with my parents. What do I need to do for her to travel with them?

Answer: First of all, the minor will need a valid passport in order to travel to Mexico and return to the United States. You can access complete instructions by clicking the link below.

Get Passport for Minor

Also, you should provide the minor's grandparents with a notarized consent form granting them permission to travel with the minor and authorizing medical treatment if necessary. Click the link below for a form you can use.

Parental Consent Form for Travel with Minor

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Nephew needs a passport but his parents cannot take time off.

by Chuck
(Oakland, CA)

Question: My nephew (15 years old) and I are traveling to Europe in August and I need to get him a passport. Both his parents have started new jobs and work Monday - Friday and have long commutes from two very different cities. Are there any places in the San Francisco Bay area that have Saturday hours?

Answer: There are a couple of locations in San Francisco where an application for a passport can be submitted on Saturdays. They are listed below. Most require an appointment.

Marina Station
2055 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 351-1875

San Francisco P&DC Finance
1300 Evans Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94188
(415) 550-5211

It is also possible for you to accompany your nephew and submit the application. Besides the normal requirements, you would need to submit a notarized statement or affidavit from both parents granting you permission to do this. Click the link below for a complete list of requirements.

Passport for Minor

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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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