Getting a child passport isn’t as complicated as it sounds and it’s necessary if you plan to travel to international destinations.
We booked our first international family vacation to Europe and our daughter needed a passport. We didn’t have any prior experience getting a child passport but we figured it out.
Here is what we learned and what you should know about getting your baby a passport.
HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD A PASSPORT
- No matter the age of the child, a passport is needed for them to leave the country. There are no age exceptions. If you are traveling abroad, your child needs a passport.
- This is not a process that can be completed online or by mail. Sorry, you have to make an appointment at a passport service center for children under 16.
- Search your community and find a passport center. Many require that you make an appointment. Make an appointment and be prepared with the proper documentation and payments necessary and the process should be smooth.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR A CHILD PASSPORT
1. The U.S. Department of State has a DS-11 application form that you will need to complete.
Completing the application tips:
- Read the instruction pages carefully.
- You only need to print the last two pages for submission.
- Fill out the application correctly and be sure to add an emergency contact.
- Do not sign the application, until instructed by an appropriate agent.
2. You will need proof of your child’s citizenship.
- We provided an original of our child’s birth certificate. Be aware, the original or certified copy gets sent off with the passport application and mailed back in a separate envelope than the passport book.
- A photocopy of the original was made, by the agent, and sent as part of the application.
3. You will need to show proof of your parental relationship.
- Our original birth certificate submitted for proof of citizenship also showed our parental relationship, which is required for the application.
4. Both parents need to show identification.
- We both provided our driver’s licenses, which were photocopied (front and back) by the agent. These were returned back to us.
DO BOTH PARENTS NEED TO BE PRESENT TO GET A CHILD PASSPORT
The process was easy because we both went to the passport appointment. However, if both parents are unable to be present for the application process (to give consent), there is a list of options and/or additional forms that will need to be completed.
WHERE SHOULD YOU GET THE CHILD PASSPORT PHOTO TAKEN
You will need to have a photo attached to the DS-11 child passport application. There a few options for getting your child’s passport photo.
- Many drug stores offer passport photo services for a fee.
- Most passport/travel centers offer passport photo services for a fee.
- If you have an AAA membership you may be able to have your child’s photo taken for free. Check it out, before paying.
- You can take the photo yourself. If you do take the photo yourself, make sure it meets the passport photo requirements.
HOW MUCH IS THE CHILD PASSPORT
Our application fee had to be paid in check or money order. We didn’t show up with checks, so we had to make a trip to our bank (thankfully) it was located across from the passport center.
- $80 for the application fee (by money order made out to the US Dept of State)
- $35 for the execution fee (by debit card)
- $10 for the photo to be taken at the passport center. (by debit card)*
* We could have saved $10 on the photo if we used a AAA center because we had a membership.
After the agent had our documentation and payment, we both had to raise our right hands and swear that the information we provided was true and accurate. Also, we were required to sign the application in the agent’s presence. (This is why you don’t sign the application before you get to the center).
HOW LONG WILL YOU NEED TO WAIT
Our travel center informed us that the wait would be 4-6 weeks. This may differ, depending on location. If you need your documents sooner, you may be able to pay for expedited service.
Okay! That’s it’s.
I hope this was helpful. We know the value of travel and we want every parent to have the opportunity to experience traveling and learning through a lens of curiosity and openness.
My two-year-old has experienced four countries and I want to continue for years to come.
Good luck with everything. If you are looking for family travel resources, visit our travel website.