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  • How to Get a Child Passport With One Parent Absent

    If your family plans on traveling internationally, you will need to make sure that everyone (including your little ones) has a passport. 

    Generally, obtaining a passport for your child is a pretty straightforward process. But we understand that not each family is alike, and there could be circumstances where you’ll need to get your child a passport with one parent absent.

    If you run into this situation, things could become a little confusing. But we’re here to tell you that getting a passport for your child with one parent absent is possible and, frankly, not as complicated as you may think.

    Can I Get My Child a Passport With One Parent Absent?

    Generally, the government wants both parents to be present when obtaining a passport for a child. That said, it is possible to get your child a passport with one parent absent – you’ll just need to provide some additional documentation when you appear in front of the Passport Acceptance Agent. 

    If one of the child’s parents cannot appear in front of the Passport Acceptance Agent, the parent who does appear will need to provide the following:

    • A notarized DS-3053 from the non-appearing parent
    • A photocopy of both sides of the non-appearing parent’s driver’s license or state ID

    It’s also important to note that you will need to provide even more information if the passport is for a baby.

    Proof of Parental Relationship for a Child Passport

    In this context, “parent” refers to anyone who has legal custody of the minor who is applying for a passport, regardless of their marital status or their biological relationship to the child. 

    Whether you’re a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or a legal guardian, you’ll need to provide proof of a parental relationship in order to get a passport for your child.

    The following documents can be used to show proof of parental relationship:

    • U.S. birth certificate
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
    • Foreign birth certificate
    • Adoption decree
    • Divorce/Custody decree
    • Another court document showing legal custody of the child

    Why Does the Government Want Both Parents to Be Present?

    The government usually wants both parents to be present during the passport application process for the safety and security of the child. Having both parents present during the application process provides an extra layer of protection for a minor. The goal is to ensure that both parents are consenting to the child having the passport.

    Can I Get My Child a Passport Without the Other Parent’s Consent?

    In most cases, no – unless you have sole custody of your child, you will need to get the other parent’s consent in order to get them a passport. Having the consent of both parents protects the child, and it’s hard to get your child a passport without both parents signing.

    Again, there is one major exception to this rule: If you have sole custody of your child, you will not need consent from their other parent in order to get them a passport. Please note that having sole custody is different than having full custody – more on that below.  

    How Can I Show Proof of Sole Legal Custody When Getting My Child’s Passport?

    If you have sole custody of your child and want to get them a passport, you must provide proof that you have sole legal custody. When you go to see a Passport Acceptance Agent, make sure that you bring along documentation that states you have sole custody, such as:

    • The child’s birth certificate that lists you as the only parent
    • A court order showing that you have sole custody of the child
    • An adoption decree that shows you as the only adopting parent

    What If One Parent Refuses to Sign the Passport Application?

    Unfortunately, if you don’t have sole custody of your child, but their other parent refuses to sign the passport application, there’s not much you can do about it. In this case, you would need to take legal action and settle this matter in court.

    Can a Child Get a Passport With Divorced Parents?

    Yes! A child can absolutely get a passport with divorced parents. If one of the child’s divorced parents cannot appear in front of the Passport Acceptance Agent, just make sure that the appearing parent can provide the following:

    • A notarized DS-3053 from the non-appearing parent
    • A photocopy of both sides of the non-appearing parent’s driver’s license or state ID

    What if I Need More Help Getting My Child a Passport?

    If you’re looking for the fastest, easiest, and most convenient way to get a passport for a minor, you can start the process on the Swift website. The application is quick and easy to fill out, and you can contact our team with any questions that you may have. We can also help you and the other members of your family obtain a new passport or passport renewal. As always, no matter where you and your family plan on going, we’ll get you there!

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