Getting you child a passport is a bit of a scavenger hunt, but as long as you have all of your ducks in a row, it shouldn’t be that hard. Here are some really important things to note to help the process go smoothly.
Here is what you will need to bring:
Applications can be found by clicking here. You must print clearly in black ink or complete the form on your computer and print it out.
Proof of Citizenship (one of these)
- Previous Passport
- Certified Copy of US Birth Certificate- issued by the city, county or state (not a hospital certificate)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Naturalization Certificate
- Certificate of Citizenship
Most likely, you will be bringing your child’s birth certificate. They took my original and said they would mail it back to me.
They are really strict on what they want, so be sure to read the rules. Passport pictures can be taken at a CVS or your local AAA branch. If you have a AAA membership, you can get free photos taken. They were wonderful with my kids! A place like AAA will be well educated on the rules of what is or isn’t allowed in a passport picture.
Passport Photos Basics:
- Photo must be 2×2 inches in size
- Taken within the last 6 months
- Photo must be in color
- Have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open
- You can not wear glasses in the photo
- Face the camera directly with full face in view
- Background must be plain white
- Head must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head
- Do not digitally alter the photo
Where to bring materials
Once you have everything collected, bring your materials to your nearest passport acceptance facility. It is usually your US Post Office, but could be your town hall or even library. Click here to find the closest passport acceptance facility to you.
Both parents must be present as well as the children. This is really important. We had to bring the baby, raise our right hand and do an oath in the post office. If one parent us unable to be present, you will have to complete a DS-3053 Statement of Consent which then needs to be notarized.
You will need a photocopy of the front and back of each parents driver license.
The fee for an applicant under the age of 16 is $80 for a passport book or $15 for a passport card. Checks are made payable to the Department of State. The US Post Office also has a $25 application fee which you will pay separately.
Passport book vs Passport card
The most important difference between U.S. passport books and passport cards is that passport cards are not valid for international air travel; they’re only acceptable for land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
How long does it take?
Processing takes up to 6 weeks. You can expedite an application if needed for an additional fee of $60 plus the cost of express mail each way. The expedited service can be done in 3 weeks. Give yourself plenty of time to get them in case there is missing information or something gets lost.
Click here for a free printable checklist
I hope that this helps guide you through the process of getting a passport for your child. It is a lot of hoops to jump through but you child is one step closer to getting his or her first stamp! How exciting is that?!
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