Every minor who travels outside of the U.S. needs to be in possession of a valid U.S. passport. Applications for a child passport must be submitted in person and involve providing substantial documentation in order for a passport to be issued. Following are the necessary requirements that must be fulfilled by those applying for a passport on behalf of a minor child who is under 16 years of age.
Evidence of Citizenship
The following documents meet the official criteria for primary evidence of U.S. citizenship:
U.S. Birth Certificate
- This certificate must list the child’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth and be issued by the city, county, or state in which the child was born. It must contain the full names of the parent or parents and must have been filed with the registrar’s office within one year of the birth. It must contain the seal of the registrar as well as the date of the registration.
- Passports that have been previously issued but have expired as acceptable as primary identification as long as they are not damaged in any way.
Other acceptable documents are:
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Proof of Parental Relationship
Documentation proving parental relationships must also be presented at the time of application.Certain documents, such as a certified birth certificate, can also be used to meet this requirement. Documents that can be used to prove parental relationships are:
- U.S. Birth Certificate
- Divorce/Custody Decree
- Adoption Decree
- Foreign Birth Certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S.Citizen
- The passport issuing agency will also require that parents provide photo identification. Acceptable documents are:
- A valid U.S. drivers license. A secondary piece of identification will be necessary if the license is issued in a state other than the one in which the passport is being applied.
- A valid, undamaged U.S. passport that is less than five years old.
U.S. law requires that both parents or guardians be present at the time of application for the passport and that they both provide proof of a parental relationship or legal guardianship. If one parent cannot be present, the other parent must provide a notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the other guardian or parent.
If only one parent or guardian exists, that person must provide official proof of sole custody. Acceptable documents for evidence of sole custody are:
- A court order granting sole custody to the applying parent or guardian.
- A death certificate for the non-applying parent.
- A judicial declaration of parental incompetence concerning the non-applying parent.
- A U.S. or foreign birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or adoption decree listing only the applying parent or guardian.
- A court order specifically allowing the applying parent to travel with the child
The passport photo should be 2″ by 2″ and in color.