Do you need both parents to get a passport

Do you need both parents to get a passport? As an adolescent, you cannot apply for a passport on your own as this is only allowed for citizens who are 18 years and above. Although you are entitled to a US passport as a citizen, you can't submit application documents for processing on your own without the support and presence of your parents. But is it necessary to have both parents present at the passport agency, or are there waivers for that? Let us review this further.


Do You Need Both Parents To Get A Passport?

When applying for a passport as a teenager, the Department of State rules that both parents must be present at the passport office for document presentation and data capturing. This rule was introduced to prevent minors from applying for passports behind their parent's backs and to protect children from child trafficking. Aside from the need for the presence of both parents, other security checks have been introduced to safeguard minors from exploitation.

But there are instances where both parents cannot be present because one parent is either unavoidably absent or deceased. In such cases, the Department of State makes significant concessions, but the present parent must submit legal documents to explain the other parent's absence.  

Here are some instances

When One Parent is Deceased: If one parent is deceased, the surviving parents must present a death certificate as proof. The death certificate must be issued in the deceased parent's name.

When One Parent is Unavoidably Absent: If one parent is unavoidably absent due to ill health, out of town, etc., they must declare a notarized consent form authorizing the State Department to issue their child the passport. This form must be attached to other documents and submitted by the parent present.

In The Case of A Guardian: If the child's parents are unavailable and are under the care of a guardian, the guardian must provide a document proving that they have legal custody of the child.

Adopted parents must provide a certificate of adoption to prove their relationship with the child.

The passport will not be issued without these documents in the applicable situation.

Where To Submit A Passport Application?

Passport applications can be submitted to a passport agency or the US embassy if you stay in a foreign country. However, you must book an appointment with the agency or embassy before your visit, as walk-ins are not allowed. You must also visit with all the required documents.

How Long Does It Take To Process A Passport Application?

Passports take 6-8 weeks to process due to the series of vetting procedures that have to go through. The Department of State has made provisions for urgent cases where the child and parents may need to travel as quickly as possible due to an emergency.

There are two situations where the processing can be hastened; during life-or-death or cases of urgency.

Life or Death: If it is a case of life or death involving the child, a parent, or any close relative, the authorities can produce the passport in 24 hours or within three days. But they will demand evidence of the situation before approving the expedited service you apply for.

Urgent Travel: This condition is for those who must make the trip within the next 14 days and need a passport urgently. If the applicant can prove why they need the passport quickly with evidence, the agency will produce it before 14 days.

For expedited service, the applicant must pay an extra $60 aside from the general application and execution fee paid to the receiving agent.

Passport Application Fee

The cost of processing a child's passport book is $80, while the passport card is $30. Then there is the $35 execution fee paid to the passport agent.

Documents Required

A DS-11 Form is designed for new passport applications, so endeavor to fill it out correctly online using a Wizard or you can print it out in PDF and fill it by hand but do not sign it unless you are instructed to do so by the passport officer. In addition to the form, you will need the following documents.

Proof of Citizenship: A birth certificate or naturalization certificate to prove that the parents and child are US citizens.

Parental Relationship: The birth certificates of both parents and the child is required to prove the parental relationship.

Passport Photo: A clear passport photo of the child. Only recent images taken within the last six months will be accepted.

Identity: Both Parents can prove their identity using their passports or driver's license

Declaration of Consent: An absent parent must sign a consent form allowing the agency to issue the passport.

Do you need both parents to get a passport? The answer is yes, but if one parent is absent, an appropriate document must be presented to explain their absence.

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This article was published by VisaHQ, a world leader in visa processing. Since 2003, VisaHQ has 20 offices in 6 countries and has helped countless tourist, business travellers, diplomats, workers, and students obtain their visa. With a 4.42 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.