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I did not provide legal consent for my daughter's passport?

by Gary
(Poultney, VT)

Question: My daughter lives with her mother in Wachula, FL. I recently learned that she has a passport and has been out of the country without my legal permission? How do I find out about this?

Answer: Passports for minors age 15 or younger require the consent of both parents unless one parent has sole legal custody. If your wife has sole legal custody, then your consent would not be necessary.

Minors ages 16 and 17 can apply without the presence of their parents. Parental consent may or may not be requested.

You can apply for a passport record for your daughter. The fee is $50 and it takes up to six weeks to process. The record does not include proof of travel. It only includes information concerning the application and supporting documents that were submitted in order to obtain the passport. For more information, click the link below.

How to Get a Passport Record

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May my ex wife renew my 5 year old daughter's passport without my consent?

by Dennis
(Rock Island, Illinois, United States)

Question: My ex wife is an active duty military member and is currently stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. I am a separated military member living in Illinois.

She has been contacting me about signing a document so she may renew my daughter's passport. She has not allowed me to see my daughter in almost 2 years despite the fact I have a court ordered custody agreement stating we share custody of the child. She has used the fact that she is stationed in Guam, several thousand miles away and overseas to her advantage in keeping my daughter from me. Although she does allow me to call and speak with her whenever I want, she will not share the custody with me as ordered.

I have not the money to fight this battle at this time. I do not want to sign this document because I'm fearful she may transition somewhere else and I will not know how to find her. She will not tell me where she is going. Please help me in whatever way you can....

Answer: The short answer is maybe. The U.S. Department of State Passport Services requires both parents to appear in order to get a passport for a minor age 15 or under.

In cases where only one parent appears, the applying parent must submit either notarized consent from the non-applying parent or proof of sole legal custody.

If your ex wife cannot get your consent and does not have sole legal custody, she could submit a request for a court order allowing her to get a passport for your daughter. Since she is active duty military, it is possible that such a request would be granted if she is being transitioned to another location.

One thing you can do is enter your daughter's name in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program. If your an passport application is submitted for your child, then you will receive notice of this.

For more information, click the link below.

Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program

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How can I check if my ex-wife got a passport for my child without my consent and how can I revoke it?

Question: My daughter's mother has taken my daughter to Paris on several occasions and I am wondering how she obtained a passport if i never signed any paperwork. She never put me on my child's birth certificate but the question of her being mine was never an issue. I am working to have that fixed but with no cooperation from her.

Answer: If you are not listed on the birth certificate, then the mother has sole legal custody. According do the requirements established by the U.S. government, one parent can apply for and obtain a passport for a minor as long as he or she can prove sole legal custody. One way to do this is to present a birth certificate that only lists the father or mother on it and not both.

The only way that your consent would be required is if you had shared legal custody. If you want to pursue this, you need to consult your lawyer.

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What can be done if you suspect that your ex-spouse obtained a passport without proper consent or documentation?

by Steve
(Denver, CO)

Question: My ex-wife obtained a passport for my 13-year old son and I did not give her any type of approval. I am listed on the birth certificate and she does not have "sole legal" custody spelled out in the divorce decree. Thus, I am not sure how she could have gotten this passport and what can I do to find out how she was able to get a passport?

What are the requirements to have "sole legal" custody? The court order specifically states that I must be informed of my children's whereabouts at all times thus, I can't see how she would qualify for sole legal custody. The court order states that she has "permanent care, custody and control of the minor children subject to visitation" and that I have "the right to be consulted on the minor children's care, guidance, maintenance, medical care, education, religion, supervision and rearing." Nowhere does it say "sole legal" custody. What should I do?

Answer: I recommend you contact a lawyer who can explain the implications of your divorce decree in relation to the custody of your children.

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Can my minor children get passports without their fathers consent?

by Ann Marie
(Paramus, NJ. Bergen)

Question: I have sole custody of my 2 children ages 13 & 10. Their father has made no effort to see them in over 6 years. Can they still get their passports without him being present or without his consent?

I have a permanent restraining order against him, but there are no restrictions to seeing his children. He has just chosen not to. Last we knew he lived in Hackensack, New Jersey--10 minutes from the kids and me.

My 13-year-old daughter has expressed to me that she would like to take a cruise from my brother's in Florida to the Bahamas. But a passport is needed to do so.

I appreciate your response in advance.

Answer: If you have sole legal custody of your children and have the document to prove it, then your children do not need the consent of their father in order to obtain their passports.

For a list of application requirements and a list of documents you can submit to prove sole custody, click the link below.

Apply for a Child's Passport

Be aware, it takes 4-6 weeks to process passport applications. Requests for expedited services are done in 2-3 weeks. If your daughter needs the passport sooner, you must apply at a regional agency that serves New Jersey or through a professional expediter. For more information click the link below.

Philadelphia Passport Agency

Get Child's Passport Fast

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Can my 9 year old daughter obtain a passport without my permission?

Question: The mother and I made an agreement that she was taking my daughter on a cruise. I later found out that she(the mother) was not attending this vacation. I explained to her parents that until I spoke with her I was not allowing my daughter to go.

Well, after numerous phone calls to the mother with no response, she finally got in touch with me 3 days before her family was departing for the cruise and confirmed she was not attending. That was a Thursday.

That Friday was my visitation weekend and I went to pick my daughter up and her parents would not let me have my visitation. I guess they were leaving that Saturday instead of that Sunday which was what they told me.

She, the mother, signed some affidavit for her parents to get my daughter a passport. Is she allowed to obtain a passport for my daughter without my permission or signature?

Answer: The only way one parent can obtain a passport for a minor is if that parent has sole legal custody. This can be proved by the presentation of a birth certificate with only that parent's name on it or a court order that officially grants sole legal custody of the minor to that parent.

If both parents have shared custody of the child, then both parents must appear with the child in order to get a passport or one parent can appear and present a notarized consent form from the non-applying parent.

Note, closed-loop cruises do not require a passport so it is possible to travel on some cruises without a passport.

If you have shared legal custody of your daughter and a passport was obtained without your consent, you may want to consult a lawyer concerning this issue.

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Unable to locate my child's father to obtain notarized consent.

by Christine
(Lowell, MA USA)

Question: My daughter's passport just expired this month, at the time I obtained that passport I was able to locate her father in jail and he was able to provide notarized consent for me to obtain her passport.

We are traveling to Bermuda in August and I have been unable to locate her father through all my resources. Is there another way for me to go about getting her passport for this trip?

I have tried going to court to obtain sole legal custody of her and cannot do so, as he will not appear in court. The only custody I could get was temporary custody, which I was told when obtaining her first passport means nothing.

Any help or insight you could provide would be great.

Answer: There is space on the parental consent form for "Special Circumstances". You can explain the situation in this form. There is no guarantee that your request will be granted based on this.

Parental Consent Form DS-3053

Another option is to request a court order which would allow you to get a passport for your daughter and travel with her to Bermuda. This would not be a court order for sole legal custody but specifically to get the passport and travel to a specific destination. Please consult your lawyer concerning this option.

Note, if you are traveling to Bermuda on a closed-loop cruise (one that begins and ends in the same U.S. city), then you are NOT required to present a passport.

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How to get a passport for a child who has not seen his father in over 10 years?

by Michelle
(Northfield, Oh, USA)

Question: I would like to take my son to Canada so he'll need a passport. The problem is we don't have contact or dealings with his father. It has been over 10 years since my son last saw him. How do I take him on vacation?

Answer: The requirements established by the State Department state that parents who have shared custody of a minor child must both appear with the child or, if one parent appears, that parent must submit notarized consent from the non-appearing parent. The Canadian government also requires minors traveling with only one of their parents to have a letter of consent to travel from the non-accompanying parent with them at all times.

The only way you can apply for a passport for a minor without the consent of the father is if his name is not on the birth certificate or you can submit evidence of sole legal custody of the child. The same is true for travel to Canada.

Note, minors age 16 and over may not be required to present parental consent when applying for a passport. If you are unable to get the passport and travel to Canada at this time, it may be possible when your son turns 16.

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Is there anyway to get a passport for my child without their father's notarized statement?

(Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Question: I'm planning on taking my two kids to Canada to visit my boyfriend's family in a few months. Their dad and I are not civil so when asked by his parents to get a notarized statement to allow them to go he refuses.

I have primary custody and he has visitation upon reasonable time and manner. He sees the kids maybe 2-4 times a month at his parents house. He's only saying no because we have not been getting along for several months so I dropped contact with him and go through his parents for anything. Is there anyway I can get their passport without him signing for it?

Answer: A notarized consent form from the father is required for each minor child to get a passport unless you have sole legal custody. If you have sole legal custody and can submit evidence of such, then the father's consent is not required.

Note, minors are not required to present passports to enter Canada or return to the United States by land. You can present their birth certificates and a photo ID. However, the Canada Border Service Agency requires one parent traveling with a minor to present notarized consent from the non-traveling parent. Therefore, even if you do not need the consent to get the passports, you do need it to travel in Canada.

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Can one parent apply for a child's passport without the consent of the other parent?

by Anita

Question: I do not have a court order of full custody of our son but my son is 8 years old and has lived in Illinois with me solely for the past 7.5 years. His father lives in California but travels to the Philippines frequently for long periods of time. We have not seen his father for 5 years and last contact was a phone call in February last year.

My son's passport expires next year and we are planning a cruise to the Bahamas for spring. I have mailed the statement of consent form to his father twice in past 6 months. I have attempted to contact him by phone twice as well and sent emails to an address I had on file for him also and no responses or replies.

I plan to go to the post office to see if I can get the passport renewed without his signature on the form but I want to know if the circumstances I list above will be acceptable to do so.

Answer: If the father's name is on the birth certificate and you do not have sole legal custody of your son, then you cannot apply for a passport for him without the notarized consent of the father.

If the father cannot be located, you can submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. The statement must explain in detail the father's unavailability and recent efforts made to contact him. Exigent/Special Family Circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that it will be approved.

Alternatively, you can request a court order from a judge that would give you permission to obtain a passport for your son and travel with him on the cruise. Please consult your lawyer concerning how to obtain such a court order.

Note, passports are NOT required to travel on a closed-loop cruise. A closed-loop cruise is one that begins and ends in the same U.S. city. For more information, click the link below.

Passports for Closed Loop Cruise

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Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.


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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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