How to Get a Passport for Your Child

Don't delay! Here are nine steps parents should follow to secure kids' passports in time for vacations and traveling.

If you plan to travel in the upcoming months with your child, you’ll want to start the passport process soon. There are special requirements in the application process for minors. These specifics can cause difficulties if you don’t have all the materials with you.

To avoid making several trips to obtain your child’s passport, read the guidelines below. If you have the required materials ready, the process will be painless. Here are the steps you will need to take and the tools you will need to know for an easy passport application process!

1. Start early. It typically takes six to eight weeks for a passport to arrive.

2. Complete the DS-11 form. The U.S. Department of State lets you complete this form online – or print a blank form. This document is six pages. Pages one to four explain in detail what is required for a passport. On the last two pages, you’ll fill out the information. Do not sign the application until you are administering oath.

3. Get proper photos. You will need to have two identical, colored photos that have been taken in the past six months. These photos need to be two-by-two inches. Full face, white or off-white background and normal street attire are requirements for the photo to be accepted.

4. Submit the form. The form must be submitted in person with both parents/guardians. If both cannot be present, a notarized sign of consent form, DS-3053, must be signed by the absent parent and submitted with the application (print a blank form here). The absent parent’s signature must be witnessed and notarized. There’s also a section in this form for a “statement of special circumstances.” This is to be completed by an applying parent/guardian when the written consent of the non-applying parent/guardian cannot be obtained.

5. Have kids’ ID. The child’s birth certificate or certificate of citizenship must be provided as well as the Social Security Number.

6. Proof of parents’ relationship. The parents/guardians must have evidence of relationship. This can be the child’s birth certificate with both parents’ names, an adoption decree with adopting parents’ names or a court order establishing custody or guardianship.

7. Have parents’ ID. The parents/guardians must have identification present.

8. Know where to go. The DS-11 and DS-3053 forms and all other required material can be taken to your local post office, acceptance facility or passport agency to complete the application.

9. Follow up. You can check the status of your passport application online. Again, be ready to wait six to eight weeks.

Happy traveling!

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