We recently took a trip to Central America, to be exact, Nicaragua. However, before we left on our trip, we had to get passports for the kids and my wife. To be honest, I was dreading the whole experience, until my wife and I researched what had to be done. First thing you need to know is that the US government has specific set requirements when it comes to acquiring a passport for a minor child. Yes, this means more work for us parents, but it helps to combat child abductions and trafficking. So, if you are thinking of traveling anytime soon, I want to give you some insight on How to Get a Passport for Your Child or children.
First things first, if your child has never had a passport, you need to know the following. In order for your child, ages 16 and younger to request or renew a passport, both parents need to be present at the time of request. That means that you cannot request or renew your child’s passport via mail, like adult passports can. Second, your child’s passport will only be valid for 5 years, unlike adult passports, which are valid for 10 years.
What do you need to request your child’s passport?
Once you are ready to request your child’s passport, you will need to make an appointment at your local passport office or your local postal office and bring with you the following. A DS-11 passport application, one 2×2″ passport photo, evidence of your child’s U.S citizenship, evidence for you and your spouse of relationship/guardianship to minor, photocopies of parental/guardian photo id, parental consent, passport fee in the form of a money order and most importantly, BOTH parents of the minor. In case parents/guardians are divorced, you will need to bring a notarized DS-3053 form or the court order that grants you the legal guardian.
As I mentioned above, you will need a 2×2″ passport photo of your child, you can obtain these at your local Pharmacy store photo department. Just make sure that your child is not wearing anything in their hair, such as hats or on their face, such as glasses. If you are applying for more than one child, make sure you have individual applications for each child, as well as, individual money orders for each applicant. As a rule of thumb, you should apply for your child’s passport at least six weeks before your scheduled trip, this way you can avoid unforeseen delays. Now, let the adventures begin. Bon voyage!