If you’re wondering how to get a passport for a child, you’re in the right place. The process for getting a passport for children under the age of 16 is a bit different than obtaining a passport for adults. Instead of being able to mail in your child’s passport application, your child and both parents must make an in-person appointment with a passport acceptance agent.
Before you show up for your appointment, your first step is to gather up all the required documents your child will need to obtain a passport.
How to Get a Passport for a Child: Required Documents
Proof of citizenship: An original or certified copy of your child’s long-form U.S. birth certificate is acceptable as proof of citizenship, as is an original Certificate of Birth Abroad. You may also use a Certificate of Naturalization, as long as you provide the original as well as a photocopy of both the front and back of the certificate.
Passport application: A child’s passport requires a DS-11 passport application. You can fill out the form online, and then print it out to bring to your appointment. Do not sign the form in advance; it must be signed in person under the direction of the agent.
Passport photo: As with adult passport photos, your child’s photo must be 2-inches square and feature a plain white background. Your child must be facing forward with ears visible. Eyeglasses, headbands, and spaghetti straps are not allowed.
Copy of both parents’ valid photo IDs: Each parent must provide a copy of the front and back of a valid photo ID. Acceptable IDs include a valid driver’s license, current passport, or government, state, or military identification card. If one parent has sole custody and proof of established custody, only that parent’s ID is needed.
Payment to U.S. Department of State: Payment for your child’s passport must be made by check or money order, payable to the U.S. Department of State. The cost depends on the option you choose. You can choose a passport book, passport card, or card and book. You can fill out the check after you’ve made your decision at your appointment.
How to Get a Passport for a Child: Additional Tips
Once you gather your documents and both parents head to the passport agent with your child, the agent will take you through the application process. The agent will administer an oath, execute the DS-11 application form, and instruct you to sign the form. All application materials will then be placed in an envelope that’s marked with the agent’s official seal.
To ensure your child’s passport remain valid, all passports must be renewed at least six months before the expiration date.
Routine processing time for a child’s passport ranges from four to six weeks if you submit materials through the U.S. Department of State. If you need a passport faster, Swift can process new passports and passport renewals in as few as one business day after your visit to the passport acceptance agent. Contact us with any questions or more information; we’re always happy to help!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.