Note this resource is specific to the United States passport application process.
The passport process can seem a bit confusing but can be relatively easy as long as you a prepared. A few things to know right away before we get into this are:
- The US Department of state considers a minor, for these purposes, to be a child under the age of 16
- Both parents are required to be in person along with the child to apply for a passport
- If you are a single parent, the other parent must complete a separate form to provide consent
- If the other parent is not listed on the birth certificate, there are no additional requirements
We suggest applying for a passport before you NEED one. Processing can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks and at anytime there can be a government slow down that causes delays in processing (hello 2020 pandemic).
There are options for you to apply for an expedited passport but it is more costly, you will have to show proof of travel within the next two weeks, and it’s quite frankly, more nerve wracking.
STEP 1 – TAKE A PASSPORT PHOTO
A photo must accompany your passport application. You can have a passport photo taken at your local post office (typically by appointment only), a drugstore (like Walgreens, CVS, etc) or you can take the photo yourself.
Just be sure that the photo meets the US Department of State Passport Photo Requirements
STEP 2 – GATHER YOUR DOCUMENTS AND MONEY
You will need the following documentation to apply for a passport
- Original Birth Certificate
- Proof of Parental Relationship
- Front AND back copy of both parent’s State Issued ID
- Passport Fee of $80 (fees are higher if you are expediting)
- Agent Acceptance Fee of $35
Note, the passport fee and acceptance fee are paid separately and at some acceptance facilities only checks or money orders are acceptable payment options. At the passport agency, all forms of payment are accepted, if using cash, exact amount only.
STEP 3 – COMPLETE FORM DS11
Form DS11 is the passport application form for minors. It can be accessed on the US Dept of State’s Website and can be filled out online, downloaded and printed.
STEP 4 – DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE AN EXCEPTION
Both parents will have to sign for DS11 and appear in person with the child to apply for the passport. If both parents can not be present, you will need to provide other documentation based on your circumstances.
ONLY ONE PARENT IS LISTED ON THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE
If you are the only parent listed on the birth certificate, you should be fine. There will be no requirement for additional documentation. The birth certificate will show that you are the only person responsible for and who has parental rights to the child(ren).
YOU HAVE SOLE CUSTODY
If you have sole custody of your child(ren) you will need to provide one of the following along with your application:
- Custody order granting sole legal custody of the minor(s) to you
- Court order granting permission to apply for a passport for the minor(s) without the other parent’s consent
- Certified copy of the adoption decree listing you as the sole parent/legal guardian of the minor(s)
OTHER PARENT IS UNABLE TO APPEAR IN PERSON
Perhaps your husband is away on business or perhaps you are a single parent and the other parent lives out of state. If the other parent is unable to appear in person for whatever reason (and neither of the above exceptions apply to you), the other parent will need to complete a form granting permission to apply for the passport.
Form DS3053 must be completed.
It is important to note:
- The form MUST be notarized
- You MUST include a front and back copy of the other parent’s ID
YOU ARE UNABLE TO LOCATE THE OTHER PARENT
If you are unable to locate the other parent, you must submit a form detailing exigent family circumstances.
You can use form DS5525
THE OTHER PARENT IS DECEASED
If the other parent is deceased, you note that in the application and provide a copy of the death certificate
STEP 5 – VISIT A PASSPORT ACCEPTANCE FACILITY
Once you have gathered all of your documentation, you will need to visit a passport acceptance facility to submit your application in person.
In most cases, you can make an appointment in advance, which will make your life just a bit easier. Visit the US Department of State website to locate acceptance facilities in your area.
Once your kiddo(s) have their passport, don’t forget to post a photo of them and their new book in the Wandering Moms facebook community!