Basically, as soon as she could keep her eyes open long enough, I wanted to get our daughter a passport. I wanted to leave plenty of time for the passport to arrive for summer travel. Anyway, I’m sure any parent who has gotten an infant passport knows how to do this, but I figured I’d show the steps we took to get the passport as smoothly as possible. We applied about a month ago, and little mini Miss Points got her passport a couple days ago, just in time for her second month birthday! She’s so excited! (Or maybe that’s just me).
This post is about applying for a passport for a child that was born in the United States. Sorry I don’t have time to do research for kids born in other countries, but I’m sure parents understand raising a child is a lot of work! Blogging is just a hobby.
Documents you will need
1. Form DS-11
The first thing you need to do to get an infant passport is to fill out the online form. It is pretty straightforward, go here, and then you can just fill out the application online. The website lets you just print it out, which is what we did. I decided to wait for my daughter to receive her social security number first, which came in the mail a couple weeks after she was born. I figured that would make things easier. One thing to note is don’t sign the application yet, you will do that at the office.
2. Evidence of Child’s U.S. Citizenship
3. Evidence of Relationship Between Parents/Guardian/Child
Items 2 and 3 generally can be taken care of with one document – the birth certificate. The birth certificate will be evidence that the child was born in the United States (and thus is a citizen) and both parents names on it. If the child is adopted or under guardianship, the adoption certificate and/or court documents will do. I looked online, single parents who have sole custody can bring a court order saying so and if there is only one parent name on the birth certificate then only one parent is required, but I’m not certain about that so please do your research if the situation applies to you. Note: I’d make a photocopy of the birth certificate since you need to submit the original – just in case.
4. Parent/Guardian IDs with photocopies
Make sure you have the driver’s licenses or passports of the parents when you go in to apply. You will also need to submit a photocopy of these IDs. The office might do it for you, but I’d do these before you get there to save time.
5. Passport Photo
Your child needs to be on a white/off white background and looking forward (eyes open) in their passport photo. You will need to submit one photo with the application. What we did was lay our daughter in the crib and take the picture downwards. She moves her head a lot, so I actually held her head facing straight forward and then counted “1, 2, 3, GO!” and let go while my wife snapped the photo. It took about 12 tries, but we got it! Photo requirements can be found here. The State Department actually has a great photo tool that you can use to crop your picture here.
Once you’ve made your photo, you can send it to a local drug store to print it up. CVS will do this no problem, although we needed the technician to help us. The picture only cost $1. DON’T GO TO WALGREEN’S! They will print the photo, then put a giant X on it, hold it up in front of your face and say “we can’t sell you this, na na na na na.” I am only exaggerating slightly. They don’t want you making your own photos because they want you to pay them $12 to do it. No thanks and by the way CVS’ pharmacy runs a lot more smoothly too. (Sorry to troll, but it still annoys me that they do that). Of course, if you don’t have the time, you can have CVS or Walgreen’s to do it for you.
Once you have your photo, bring it with you but don’t attach it to the form yet.
(Edit: A reader pointed out that epassportphoto.com is a great tool as well)
Where and How to Apply
You can go to this site to see where you can apply for a passport. Most of them are post offices. When you’re ready to apply, make sure you leave extra time since you’ll have to wait in line depending on normal post office traffic. Our post office also stopped accepting passport applications at 4 PM (an hour before closing) so you might want to call to confirm).
Once you’re ready, bring everything above, your child, AND both parents to the post office. If both can’t go, you’ll need a notarized parental consent form. I find getting anything notarized to be a hassle so we just both went.
If you have all the documents above, everything should be pretty straightforward. Tell the counter you are applying for a passport and then give them everything. The parents will need to sign Form DS 11 at the counter, and like I said you’ll need to give them the original birth certificate and the photocopies of the parents’ IDs. As of this post, the cost was $80 for the passport and $25 for the processing fee. The $25 is unavoidable (since you need to apply in person) but covers the mailing of everything and the insurance and all of that.
Anyway, that’s it! They’ll take everything, and we got our passport in about a month. Now we’re ready to travel as a family! But to where?