How to apply for a US passport for a child

How to apply for a US passport for a child should be at the top of your mind if you are planning a trip outside the US with your child. Like all countries and airlines, kids are not allowed to embark on visits or flights if they do not have a passport; airlines will not accept them on board, and embassies will not issue them visas.

However, the process of applying for a passports for children is not as easy as it should be, which is quite unfortunate. While adults can easily apply for a passport for themselves, be prepared to have your patience tested when applying for a passport for your child. This is down to the government’s desire to combat child abduction and trafficking, which has become a global problem.

As the number of child trafficking increased, the US government placed stringent requirements to ensure that no child leaving America is being trafficked. So as a parent, you must put in more work to prove your parental relationship and you have the consent of the other parent to travel with the child.

Applying For A Child Passport Successfully

For starters, you should know that according to US laws, the child must be present at the passport office with both parents or guardians, as passport renewal or application by mail is not allowed for children. The law states that a minor is anyone below the age of 16. So if your child is under 16, special conditions must be met before they can be issued a passport.

The second thing to note is that children cannot apply for passport renewals regardless of whether their current passports have expired; the law does not allow this. So, therefore, the application must be for a fresh passport.

DS-11 Application Form For Children

Since all passport applications for children are for new passports, you will need to fill out the DS-11 form on their behalf. This passport application form is used for new applications for children and adults. The DS-11 application form can be filled out in two ways.

Offline Application: You can fill it out offline by printing it out and filling it out by hand. Only black ink is allowed, and the letters must be in block form so the official handling the application can see the data clearly. Also, the form must not be signed unless the agent gives you the go-ahead to do so.

Online Application: You may also choose to fill it out online using the special wizard of the Department of State. After completing the form, print it out. If your internet connection is unstable, you must opt for the offline method.

The DS-11 application form has a set of 22 questions on two pages. You will be asked to provide your child’s

  • Full name

  • Date & place of birth

  • Phone number

  • Sex

  • Travel plans

  • Emergency Contact

  • Phone number

Be careful when filling out the form, as the agent will crosscheck every detail and reject the application if there are errors or inconsistencies.

Documents Required For Child Passport Application

Here are the documents required for child applications

Evidence of Citizenship: As the parent, you must provide proof that you and the child are US citizens using one of many documents such as your birth certificates, valid passport, or naturalization certificate.

Proof of Relationship:  You must prove that you are the child’s parent. Note that both parents must provide evidence to prove their relationship. This can be a divorce decree, birth certificate, or adoption decree.

ID Card: The parents must present ID cards to prove their identities like a passport, driver’s the, etc.

Photocopies: Photocopies of their identification cards and other documents

Photograph: One photograph each of both parents and the child. Only 2x2 passport photos taken not later than 6 months prior are allowed.

Special Considerations

In special cases where the child has only one parent or guardian, the following documents are required.

Sole Authority: The sole parent or guardian must present any of the following documents

  • A foreign or US birth certificate or an adoption decree listing them as the only parent or guardian.

  • Court order granting them sole custody of the child

  • A court order permitting the parent to travel with the child

  • A declaration to prove the incompetence of the other absent parent

  • Death certificate of the non applying parent

These documents must be added to other basic documents and attached to the DS -11 application form. 

All documents must be presented at the passport facility along with the child. There is also a passport fee that must be paid to the Department of State and an execution fee paid to the passport agent.

Now that you know how to apply for a US passport for a child, commence the process now as quickly as possible.

Apply for US Passport Child Online
Apply for US Passport Child online
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 4.41 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.