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Passport Rules for Kids

If you're planning on traveling with your family outside of the country, they'll need a passport. Find out what you need and how to get passports for children.

No matter your child's age, you'll need to get a passport for him or her to travel internationally. Usually, passports are relatively easy to obtain – but it will take time to gather up the necessary documents, fill out the paperwork and then wait for the U.S. government to process your application and send you your child's passport.

Items needed

  • Child's certified birth certificate (no copies) as proof of parental relationship and U.S. citizenship
  • Both parents need photo identification, such as their own current passports or a valid driver's license
  • Passport photo
  • Passport application form
  • Money to pay for passport fees

Cost for a minor

  • Passport book: $80
  • Execution fee: $25
  • Total cost: $105
  • Note: There may be additional costs for passport photos.

Where to submit

Most post offices are able to accept your passport applications. You should call before you go, however, to check if there are only certain days and times available for these services. For a complete list of offices, visit the government's website and type in your ZIP code.

Passport contact information

Note: Both parents need to be present when submitting a child's passport application (minors under 16 years of age), according to U.S. law. You can fill out a parental-consent form if one parent is unavailable. For other extenuating parental circumstances, see travel.state.gov for the necessary forms.

Processing time

Most applications take four to six weeks to be processed. For faster processing, you can pay $60 to have your application expedited for a three-week turnaround time. You can take your application to an agency to have it processed in eight days (some restrictions apply). 

Detroit does have a passport agency (they're not available in all cities – or even states, for that matter). Call its 24-hour hotline at 877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment if you need your passport processed quickly for international travel within the next two weeks.

Note: Once your child has a passport, it's good for five years; adult passports are valid for 10 years.

Reminders

When you receive your child's passport, it's important to have him or her sign it (similar to what you have to do with a new credit card).

If your child is too young to sign, you can. Print the child's name first in the signature space and sign your own; in parentheses, write in your relationship to the child.

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