If you have a young child and are considering traveling together in the near future, you might be wondering when your child can obtain a passport. The good news is that there is no specific age restriction for getting a passport for a child. Whether your child is just a few months old or up to 15 years old, they can get a passport, and as a parent, you can apply for it on their behalf.
The passport application process typically takes about 6-8 weeks to complete, but if you need it sooner, you have the option to expedite the process. Keep in mind that expedited processing incurs an additional fee of $60 on top of the regular application fee.
Now, let’s address the question of whether both parents need to be present during the passport application process for a child. Unlike adults who can renew their passports by mail, children must be accompanied by both parents when applying for a US passport. This requirement is mandated by law, and both parents are expected to be present to sign the DS-11 form in front of a passport agent.
However, if it’s not possible for both parents to be present, one of them can apply on behalf of the child, but they must bring a signed consent form from the absent parent, authorizing the issuance of the passport.
It’s important to emphasize that you cannot use the mailing service to apply for a passport for your child. The mailing option is only available for individuals aged 16 and above. Children under 16 must be physically present during the application process.
To qualify for a child passport, the following conditions must be met:
- The child is a US citizen through their parents or by birth in the US.
- The child is under 16 years of age.
- The child must be physically present during the verification process at a passport agency.
- The parents or guardians can provide proof of their relationship with the child.
To apply for a child passport, you have two options:
- Passport Agency: You can visit a passport agency or center anywhere in the US. To do this, you need to schedule an appointment with the agency over the phone. On the appointed date, bring your child and all the required documents for verification.
- Embassy: If you live abroad and your child was born in another country, you can still obtain a US passport for them. Schedule an appointment with the embassy, and be prepared to provide similar documentation as required by passport agencies. You may also be asked to provide additional documents.
The necessary documents for a child passport application include:
- Form DS-11: This application form must be filled out on behalf of your child. You can complete it online or print it and fill it out manually. Remember not to sign it until you are in the presence of the passport officer.
- Citizenship Proof: You can prove your child’s citizenship with a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport.
- Relationship Status: To establish your parental relationship, you will need your own birth certificate and your child’s birth certificate. If you are not the child’s parent, proof of custody as a guardian is required.
- Application Fee: A processing fee is necessary, and the amount varies depending on the type of passport you choose. Passport cards cost $30 and are suitable for land travel only, while passport booklets cost $130 and allow for land, air, and sea travel.
- Passport Photograph: Provide a recent 2×2-inch passport photo of your child with a white background.
- Photocopies: Make photocopies of all required documents. In cases where one parent is deceased or there is a divorce, include the appropriate death or divorce certificate.
There is no age restriction for obtaining a US passport for a child, and parents can apply for their child’s passport regardless of their age. Ensure that you follow the necessary procedures and provide the required documents for a smooth application process.
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