Do Babies Need Passports? Your Travel Questions Answered

Even the youngest explorers need their passport!
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Are you wondering whether your newborn baby needs an American passport to travel, and if so how to apply for one?

We've got the answers here! This article contains everything you need to know about applying for a U.S passport for a baby, such as the documentation you will need to provide, the fees and the delays involved.

Making sense of the U.S. Department of State website and information can be a lengthy, wordy and stressful process, but it doesn't have to be that way! Read on for a simple and straightforward guide to obtaining a United States passport for a newborn child.

If you enjoyed this article on getting a passport for kids, you might want to read about [these activities for six-month-old babies] or this list of [two-week-old milestones] too.

Do Babies Need Passports To Leave The US?

The short answer to that question is yes, all U.S citizens including babies need a passport to leave the country.

Contrary to what you might think, it is not allowed for a child to travel internationally on the same U.S passport as their parent, even for a newborn baby. Although all passports are the same (except for members of the military or diplomats), the application for a child's passport for children under the age of 16 is different to an adult application.

So, if you are planning a trip shortly after your child's birth, you will need to plan ahead and apply for a passport as soon as possible!

Note that this applies for international travel only. If you are a U.S citizen and your trip will not require your baby leaving the U.S, then obtaining a passport is not necessary. However, for destinations abroad like Canada or Mexico, a valid U.S passport is required for all passengers!

How Do You Get Your Baby A Passport?

What should you expect from a child passport application? If you need a passport for your baby, we've detailed all the steps you need to take and the documents you should provide for your application process to be successful.

In order to obtain a U.S passport for your child, you will have to compile an application with forms and legal documentation. This application must then be submitted by both of the child's parents in the baby's presence (there are exceptions to this for single parents or third parties detailed below). Here is a comprehensive list of all the documents needed for passport applications for newborn babies.

1. Complete form DS-11 from the USCIS website. You will need to fill in information such as the baby's full legal name and its social security number.

If your baby does not yet have a social security number, you should submit a signed document stating "I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: [NAME] has never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.".

Do not sign form DS-11 until you are told to do so by the agent accepting the application at the passport agency.

2. Provide evidence of your baby's U.S citizenship. This may be a U.S birth certificate issued by the city, county or state your baby was born in, a consular report of American birth abroad, a previous US passport, a Naturalization Certificate or a Certificate of Citizenship.

Note that only original, long form and certificates with a registrar's seal and signature will be accepted. Do not attempt to submit a duplicate, short or unsealed versions of a birth certificate. You should apply for a baby's birth certificate immediately after the birth or within one year.

3. Provide evidence of your relationship to the baby. You will need to provide one or more documents which prove you are the child's parent or legal guardian. This can be the baby's birth certificate with the name of the parent(s), an adoption decree with the name of the parent(s), or a court order declaring custody or guardianship. These documents have to be originals or certified copies, photocopies will not be accepted.

4. Provide proof of your identity and U.S citizenship. You will need to submit identification for yourself (and your partner if applicable) when you apply for a passport for your baby. This can be a U.S passport, a valid driver's license, military or government ID or a Naturalization Certificate. If you do not have any of these, you have the option of presenting secondary identification and an identifying witness.

As well as presenting the original form of ID for inspection when you submit the application at the acceptance facility, you should provide photocopies of the document(s). Note that this copy must be made on standard white paper, must show the front and the back of your ID, and not use both sides of the sheet of paper.

5. Provide two passport photos for your baby. As part of the passport application, you will have to provide two recent color photos of the baby, of 2 x 2 inches. The photo has to be against a plain white background and show the baby's full face, without anyone else present.

Note that all foreign documents need to be submitted with a formal or informal translation.

Once you have gathered all the necessary passport paperwork, both parents or guardians as well as the baby must go to a passport agency or acceptance facility to show their consent for the application. The easiest way is for both parents to attend and sign form DS-11 when asked by the agent.

A passport agency can be a post office, a public library, a clerk of court or some other form of state or municipal government office. You should check online where your nearest passport acceptance agency is; there exist websites to locate them according to your postcode. USPS post offices are a handy location as they sometimes allow you to take the baby's photo, notarize documents and send the application in a prepaid envelope all in one place.

If only one parent has custody, you should provide proof (a death certificate, court order declaring sole custody, birth certificate or adoption decree with one parent name, or any other applicable document).

If one parent is unable to attend, you will have to provide a letter from the second parent giving their consent, written and signed less than three months prior to the application. Alternatively, they can submit form DS-3053 'Statement of Consent' which must be signed in front of a certified notary public.

If neither parent is able to attend, the application can be submitted through a third party. Parent(s) then have to fill in and sign form DS-3053 or provide a notarized statement of consent, which have to be submitted with a copy of their ID and evidence of sole custody if applicable.

Once you have submitted your documentation to the agent and signed the relevant forms, you will be asked to pay the passport application fees outlined below, so make sure to bring a valid payment method.

All this information and more is available from the U.S Department of State website.

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For A Baby's Passport?

There is a fee to apply for a baby's passport, but the amount depends on whether you are applying for a passport book, card, or both.

For both a passport book and card for your baby, the application fee is $95 and the execution fee is $35.

For a passport book only, the application fee is $80 and the execution fee is $35.

For a passport card only, the application fee is $15 and the execution fee is $35.

Note that the documentation required to obtain a passport card or book is the same.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport For A Baby?

The wait time for a passport can be lengthy, so make sure to apply well ahead of time if you need a passport for your newborn baby.

Usually, the processing of a passport application for minors will take four to six weeks.

If you are travelling within the next six weeks, you can apply for expedited  passport processing service at an additional fee of $60, which means your application will be processed within eight business days.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delays in processing times can vary and reach up to 10-12 weeks.

Getting Your Baby's Passport Photo

Snapping a good passport of your baby can be hard, make sure to use a plain background for your shoot!

Photographing your baby to passport standards can be tricky, no matter how photogenic they are! Here are some tips to get nail your baby passport photo stress-free.

If your baby is unable to sit up, you can take the photo of the baby lying down face up on a white sheet. Otherwise you can cover the baby's car seat with a white sheet and take the photo of the baby sitting down.

In both cases, make sure there are no shadows on the baby's face and that it is fully visible in the passport photo.

Passports For Children

Once your baby has received their passport, it's adventure time!

You may be wondering how long baby passports last, and how to renew them. Lucky for you, we've answered these questions below!

Once it is granted by the U.S Department of State, a child's passport is valid for five years. Passport renewal for minors can be done using the same process outlined above, as it is valid for all children under 16 years of age.

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at our article about [newborn stomach size], or this one detailing the [best schedule for two-month-olds]?

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