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Passport for a Child Born out of Wedlock

by CM Smith
(Columbus, GA )

Question: My son was born out of wedlock and his father is not willing to sign for his passport. He has not been legitimized, although his father did sign his birth certificate in the state of Georgia where he was born. His father resides in TN. In the State of Georgia, law states that the mother has sole legal custody of a child born out of wedlock, but I have no court papers saying that, as we have not been to Court for anything in Georgia.

We went to court in TN and had Paternity tests to prove he was the father to get a child support order in effect, but that is all we have. He has no visitation rights, he doesn't care to visit the child, doesn't call, etc., he just pays the support for now. I would like to get a passport so that we can go on a cruise. Please tell me what I need to do.

Answer: The following documents are accepted by the Department of State as evidence of sole legal custody.

Minor’s certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent

Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) listing only the applying parent

Court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)

Adoption decree (if applying parents is sole adopting parent)

If you cannot submit one of these documents, please contact the National Passport Information Center to find out if there are any alternatives.

Note, passports are not required to exit or re-enter the United States when traveling on a closed-loop cruise. Therefore, your son may not need a passport for the trip. You should also verify the foreign entry requirements for the destinations you plan to visit during the cruise. Finally, confirm travel document regulations with the cruise line.

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