How to Get a Passport for a Child

Planning a trip abroad with the kids? They’ll need a passport just like you. The only difference is there are a few more hoops to jump though. Take a deep breath, build up your patience, and follow these numerous (but simple) steps to get a passport for your minor age 15 or younger:

  1. Fill out the DS-11 form: The DS-11 is the basic application for a U.S. Passport. The application can be found on (just make sure not to sign it until you’re in front of the acceptance agent).
  2. Gather supporting documents: Pay close attention because there are quite a few.
    1. Proof of child's U.S. citizenship: You’ll need to submit one of the following U.S. documents for your child (these must be originals or certified copies — photocopies and notarized copies are not acceptable).
      1. Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
      2. Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county, or state
      3. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
      4. Certificate of Citizenship
    2. Proof of parental relationship/guardianship: You’ll also need to present one of the following documents.
      1. U.S. birth certificate <or> Consular Report of Birth Abroad
        1. Either of these options fulfill both proof of the child’s citizenship and proof of your parental relationship.
      2. Foreign birth certificate
      3. Adoption decree
      4. Divorce/custody decree
    3. Parent/guardian identification: You’ll need to present one of the following forms of ID for yourself:
      1. In-state, fully valid driver's license
      2. Valid or expired, undamaged, U.S. passport
      3. Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
      4. Government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal)
      5. U.S. military ID or military dependent ID
      6. Valid foreign passport
      7. Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular Identification)
    4. Photocopies of all identification documents: While you must present an original or certified copy of each of the documents chosen above, you’ll also need to provide a photocopy (front and back) of each submitted document. When you turn in the application, the acceptance agent will return your originals and keep the copies.
      1. Note: Make sure that your copies are on plain white 8 ½” x 11’’ paper. The copy cannot be double sided, and the image size cannot be decreased.
    5. One passport photo: The easiest way to do this is to conduct an internet search for passport photos near you. Most local pharmacies or stores will charge $10 or less. Or you can take your own, just make sure it meets all the requirements.
  3. Submit your application. Be prepared for the following:
    1. You must submit your application in person. Find an acceptance facility on
    2. Both parents/guardians must authorize the issuance of the passport.
    3. You must pay an “application fee” and an “execution fee.”
    4. A routine application takes 4–6 weeks to process. However, for an additional fee, the process can be expedite

It’s a lot to take in, but it’s for the safety and security of your own children. Over the years, new requirements have been added to battle child abduction and trafficking. As it is in most cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you hit a snag in the process or have additional questions, additional information on the steps listed above can be found on the website. Safe and happy travels!

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