6 Things To Know About Getting A Passport For Your Child

Traveling the world with your kids is an amazing experience. They’ll never forget the memories you make (especially if you take lots of pictures!) Preparing correctly to travel with children is essential! Acquiring a passport for your child
is a great first step as you begin to plan your travels.

Here are 6 things to know about getting a passport for your child:

  1. 1. Forms: You will want to either download a form, or stop by a passport office to pick one up. Be sure to completely fill out the form prior to your appointment. This will save time and also ensure accurate information. *Do not sign application until you are in front of the passport agent!
  2. 2. Appointment: Although many passport offices give you the option for walk-in appointments, don’t plan to do this with children. Often the wait times are extensive. Even with an appointment, you will spend a lot of time there. Be sure to bring entertainment for your children.
Even with an appointment, processing an application takes time. I was thankful to have some entertainment along for my daughter!
  1. 3. Parental Consent: For a minor to obtain a passport, both parents/guardians must authorize documents. The easiest way is for both parents to appear at the appointment. If this is not possible, you must either prove you have sole custody. Or you can bring a notarized form from the parent who cannot be present. Of course, there are all other types of custody situations and for specifics, check the official passport website.
  2. 4. Check List: Use this checklist and do not forget anything! I recommend putting everything in a large manilla envelope to be certain you have everything you need. Here are the requirements: Application Forms, Child’s Social Security Number, a US Citizenship Document, Photocopy of US Citizenship Document, document proving parental relationship, personal ID (you, the parent’s ID), photocopy of parental ID, parental consent (see #3), passport photo, and money for processing fee.
  3. 6. 5 Years: Any passport issued before age 15 will need to be renewed every 5 years. After age 15, passports are good for 10 years. If you don’t understand this rule, see Exhibit A:
On the left is my son’s passport picture taken around age 2. On the right is a more current picture of my son. The pictures were taken less than 3 years apart. Kids change quickly!
  1. 6. 6 Months: Passports need to be valid for at least 6 months after your travel date. Many countries make this a requirement for entry; however, even if they don’t, it’s a good rule to follow.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Depending on your cruise line or destination, passports may not be required. I highly recommend that you apply for passports rather than travel with birth certificates.
  • Keep in mind, the passport processing can be slow. Allow plenty of time prior to your trip. If you are running short on time, I highly recommend that you pay extra for expedited service.
  •  It’s always a great idea to scan your passport and email yourself a copy. If your passport is lost or stolen on a vacation it’s nice to have the information for reference.
  • Children’s passports must always be renewed in person.
  • If you are lucky enough to travel often, always check to make sure you have enough pages remaining prior to a trip. You can apply for more pages if your passport is almost full.

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