My wife and I have traveled to Mexico and Canada together, so we have our passports. And she’s traveled with her Mom to Europe before, so my mother-in-law has her passport. But now, we’ve planned a trip for NYC, Paris, and Madrid later this year, and we’re really excited about it. Our 2 year old son is coming, so that complicates matters a little… we had to figure out how to order a US Passport for a child.
How do you order a US Passport for a child?
Turns out… it wasn’t that difficult.
I went to the U.S. State Department website for passports and it listed all of the requirements.
You have to complete the form DS-11 Application for a U.S. Passport either online or handwriting on a printed copy (which is what we did).
What to bring when you order a US Passport for a Child
- Completed DS-11 Application for a U.S. Passport. DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM until you are asked to do so by the agent at the facility.
- Passport photo of the Child. Some facilities can do this on-site, while others require you to bring your own. We did our photos at their facility. Luckily, the lady was very patient with us, because it took several tries. Next time, we’d bring our own photos to save our sanity and to save time! Stores like CVS and Walgreens will do it pretty inexpensively.
- Original birth certificate of Child. They will mail the original back to you.
- Evidence of relationship between Child and Parent (the birth certificate listed should work in most cases, provided you are the birth parents).
- Parent identification — your passport, driver’s license, etc. Bring the original to show, plus a photocopy of the the front and back side to submit. Here are the photo requirements.
- BOTH PARENTS MUST be present, otherwise you’ll need a notarized form DS-3053 Statement of Consent for the parent that isn’t there.
- Check for U.S. Passport fees. Best bet is to bring your checkbook and write the check there in case something goes wrong, or the fee schedule changes. Actually, when calling the facility you are going to, ask them about acceptable forms of payment, since every location is a little different.
Where should I go to order a US Passport for a Child?
There should be plenty of locations nearby. Here are links to search for a list of the locations to apply for a U.S. Passport. I was able to select those that had photo facilities by checking the box for “Photo On-Site” and “Photo Nearby”.
How long does it take to order a US Passport for a Child?
Everyone’s situation is different. We called ahead to see if we needed an appointment. The office we went to did not take appointments, but they did have strange hours that were different than that of the Post Office it was located at.
From the time we arrived, took pictures, handed over paperwork, and wrote a check, we were done in less than 30 minutes. Our total cost was $120… $80 for the passport, $15 for the pictures, and $25 for the processing.
We received our son’s passport in a little over 3 weeks because we didn’t need to pay for expedited processing.
Once you receive it, your child is too young to sign on their own behalf. So, print their name, sign your name, and write in parentheses “(mother)” or “(father)”, depending upon who signed.
Lastly, when you order a US Passport for a child, remember that it is only good for 5 years if they get it issued before they turn 16. This is different than an adult passport, which is good for 10 years. More FAQs are available here.
Once you’ve received your child’s passport, I highly recommend getting Global Entry for both you and your child. It is only $100 for 5 years ($20 a year) and it will save you so much time when going to US domestic security by using the TSA PreCheck lines and when you return from international trips.
If you’re not organized and don’t order a US Passport for your child in a timely manner, this process can be a huge pain. But, follow the steps above and you’ll be fine!
Even if you don’t have a trip planned, you should order a US Passport for your child today. As we continue this journey together, it is better to have the passport issued and available so you can take advantage of promotions, hot deals, and use them points and miles!!!