Do you have kids or a child under the age of 16 with a passport that is about to expire? The US passport renewal for minors is an option. However, as the parent, you need to apply for the renewal on their behalf, as the Department of State prevents children from applying for a US passport on their own or without the consent of their parents.
Over the years, the US State Department has modified its rules for minors' passport renewal, including renewal programs for children involved in custody battles between parents. These rules are put in place to prevent one estranged parent from taking the child abroad without the knowledge and consent of the other parent.
Procedure For US Passport Renewal For Minors
Renewal for children: Based on current rules, all children requiring a passport renewal or application for a new passport must appear before officials at any passport facility alongside their parents to apply for the passport, as it cannot be done in absentia. Both parents must be present at the passport office and provide authorization for the passport to be issued.
Renewal or Teens under 16/17 years old: As for teens 17 years and below, they cannot apply for the passport independently as they need both parents to consent to the application. Both parents may appear at the Passport facility with their teen child, but if one parent cannot make it, the other parent must provide a statement of consent or evidence as to why the other parent is absent. Furthermore, 16 and 17-year-olds can apply for a Passport renewal by mail only if they were above 16 years old when they applied for the old one. The Department of State allows them to visit the passport office alone if they have a personal ID card or a notarized statement signed by one legal parent stating that they approve their teen’s decision to get a passport.
Living Abroad: US Citizens living abroad may also apply for a passport by contacting the embassy or consulate in the country where they reside or mailing their child’s documents and application form to the Department of State by mail.
Reasons For Renewing Your Minor’s Passport
Stolen/Lost: If their passport has been stolen or lost, you can apply for a new passport that will not necessarily be a renewal but a replacement of the old passport. The Department of State provides avenues for lost or stolen passports to be replaced.
About to expire: If their passport is about to expire, you don’t have to wait for it to expire fully before you apply for one. This is especially true if you plan to take them on a trip, as some countries will not accept visa applications if the applicant’s passport expires in less than 6 months. Some airlines also reject passports that expire in less than 6 months. The rules differ from country to country, so do your findings and apply for a passport if necessary.
Passport Renewal For Minors Fee
There is an application fee attached to the application for renewal. This fee is not standard but depends on the document you want. Normal passport cards for minors cost less than conventional passports, while an application for expedited service is more expensive than the fees for a current rate.
Also, note that the fee is non-refundable after it is paid and is not a guarantee that the passport will be issued to the applicant at the end of the day.
You should also be aware that the mode of payment differs from one consulate to the next. While some accept only signed checks and money orders, others may only accept credit or debit card payments or direct cash deposits into a designated account. To be on the safe side, contact your local consulate or renewal agency to learn more.
US Passport Renewal Eligibility
Only minors who are children of US citizens qualify for a passport renewal. Secondly, they must have been issued a passport in the past with evidence to that effect. Both parents don’t have to be US citizens; if one parent is a US citizen by birth or naturalization, they qualify for a passport renewal.
Passport Book vs. Passport Card
You can apply for a passport book or passport card for your minor. Passport books are more expensive and are the only acceptable documents for international travel by air. Passport cards cannot be used for air travel but are accepted for land border crossings. If you plan to travel by air and land with your minor, you should opt for a passport book instead.
How To Apply For A US Passport Renewal for Minors
To apply for a passport renewal for your child aged 17 years and younger, you have three options
Apply to the US consulate in your current country
Mail your documents to the Department of State in Washington
Book an appointment with a passport agency
Documents Required For Passport Renewal for Minors
DS-82 application form duly signed and completed
Proof of citizenship as a parent such as the child's birth certificate
Valid photo ID
Recent passport photo