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Applying for an Infant Passport – Step by Step Guide

Now that we’ve got this newborn baby situation mostly sorted, time to start thinking passport. (Who am I kidding, our lives are a mess! But still.) Back when we had M, I wrote a bit about getting an infant passport. I decided instead of updating that post I’d just re-write it as a guide for applying for an infant passport (or the passport of any minor).

So, if like me, you’re in the market for a passport for one of your kids, follow these simple steps!

Applying for an infant passport is easy. Follow this simple step by step guide to get a passport for any minor. Includes checklist of everything you need!
Make sure you use a white, not green background!

1. Gather necessary documents for passport for a minor

The most annoying part about getting a passport is getting all the necessary documents for the application. Here’s what you need:

Proof of US Citizenship

In most cases this will be a birth certificate. Make sure you go to your local city hall and have this before you start your application! Also, you need to bring an original birth certificate, so if you want an extra copy for yourself make sure you got that from City Hall! (They’re supposed to mail it back, but I pay the extra $2 or whatever at City Hall for peace of mind).

New Passport Application (Form DS-11)

This application form can be filled out online here. It is the same application form that adults use. 

Photocopies of both parents IDs

This can be a passport, Driver’s license, or birth certificate. Be sure to make the copies beforehand to make your life easier.

Form DS-3053 IF one parent can’t make it to the application

I’d highly recommend having both parents go for the application. If one parent can’t attend, they will need Form DS-3053 filled out and notarized. You can find that form here.

Passport photo

More on this in the next step.

Also, here’s a printable checklist you can use.

Passportchecklist <= click to download PDF!

Applying for an infant passport is easy. Follow this simple step by step guide to get a passport for any minor. Includes checklist of everything you need!
Don’t print this version! Use the link to the PDF version above!

2. Make a passport photo

You can go to CVS or Walgreen’s and pay them like $20, or you can make your own passport photo. To avoid the fee, my wife took a photo of our kids and cropped it to 2 inches by 2 inches. Make sure to take it against a white background. The hardest thing is to get the kids to hold still.

Another inexpensive option is using You can use their Do it Yourself photo to crop your own photo and then send it to the drugstore to print. Or you can use their pay service and either have it sent to your home or to the drugstore. It’ll cost you like $10 for two photos though, as opposed to the $1 it will cost if you print yourself.

One note, Walgreen’s generally is a pain because they’ll force you to use their passport photo service. I’ve found CVS to be much more amenable to printing homemade passport photos.

3. Find your nearest Passport Acceptance Facility

Go to this link to find your nearest Passport Acceptance Facility. Most, not all, are post offices. 

4. Decide between standard or expedited processing

Standard processing for passports is 4-6 weeks. Expedited is 2-3 weeks. My best advice is to apply for the passport ASAP so you don’t need to stress about waiting. I applied for expedited for my second child and it came in less than two weeks, but this was because I waited until 5 weeks before our trip to apply and was nervous. Don’t do that! 

Expedited processing costs an extra $60.

If you are traveling within two weeks, expedited processing at a regular acceptance facility probably won’t cut it. For international travel within two weeks, you will need to make an online appointment here. You still need to pay the $60 expedited fee AND show proof of your travel dates. Those locations are usually in your nearest large city, so be prepared to drive. Try to avoid this situation 🙂

Applying for an infant passport is easy. Follow this simple step by step guide to get a passport for any minor. Includes checklist of everything you need!

5. Bring all your materials and passport fee to the applicable Passport Acceptance Facility

Once you’ve got all this stuff together, you’re ready to get your passport! Grab your infant and both parents (or else fill out that notarized form) and head on down. Note the standard Passport Book costs $80, a Passport Card costs $15, or you can get both for $95. You also will need to pay the acceptance facility $25 for processing, so overall you pay anywhere between $40 and $120.

The post office will accept all major credit cards for the processing fee, though I’d just bring two blank checks to be safe (my post office has terrible internet and their credit card system is down all the time!). The passport fee itself must be paid by personal check (I think you can buy a money order at the post office too to pay for it).

You don’t need to make an appointment, just drop off your materials and they’ll tell you how to handle the rest!

Thoughts, questions, comments? Let me know!

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Applying for an infant passport is easy. Follow this simple step by step guide to get a passport for any minor. Includes checklist of everything you need!

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

12 thoughts on “Applying for an Infant Passport – Step by Step Guide

  1. Two things:

    1. Baby passport photos invariably turn out awesome, there’s just something about a baby’s face on a passport.
    2. If you’re renewing a passport for a minor, note that you’ll still need a birth certificate, which is not the case when renewing for an adult. We just made this mistake yesterday.

    1. My first daughter’s passport was taken during the one week she had terrible baby acne which is pretty hilarious (but the reason I didn’t include it in the post lol). But still precious to us.

      Good tip on the renewal, I can’t believe it but we need to do that soon! Crazy how time flies…

  2. We got hassled going through immigration in Frankfurt due to our 1-year olds having their baby photo passports. Decided to renew them prematurely at 2-years to avoid any issues. Hopefully these ones will last the 5 years they were supposed to!

    1. Wut? That’s annoying! And sort of ridiculous. >=(
      German immigration or US (cuz don’t they have that “extra” security when you’re flying back home?)

      1. German immigration in FRA, we thought he was joking at first. Clearly very annoyed, he called over a colleague had a conversation, made a bunch of hand gestures, and let us through with scowl.
        We were flying back through Frankfurt again on our way to Lisbon for our next trip, so we didn’t want to tempt fate, not a big deal in the end, makes for a funny story looking back.

  3. We also just went through this last month. Our 5 year old daughter’s passport was due to be renewed and we needed to apply for a new one for our newborn as well.

    We were living in Hong Kong when our daughter was born and somehow I remember going through the process there (through the US Consulate) being easier.

    This time around, I noted a few things (and mistakes on my part);

    1. I guess the options for regions may differ. We had to do ours through the local post office (and it had to be by appointment). They slot the time as 15 minutes per applicant. So if your are doing one application you can choose a 15 minute window, but if you are doing two you have to choose a 30 minute window, The trouble with this is that they (our local branch) close out appointments by 4pm and our daughter has school until 2:30pm leaving little room for open time-slots.

    2. The first mistake I made was doing the forms at home and printing them out double-sided. The postal officer told me they (the passport agency) would only accept them if they were single-sided. Thankfully the officer, helped me fill out the forms again right there on the spot.

    3. The next mistake was on the payments. While I was able to use credit card for the processing fee, the payments for the government fees had to be done by personal check (or money order) AND the personal check MUST have your name on it. I seldom write checks, so I had an ‘original’ checkbook (the one the bank gives you when you open an account) that had no name/label. Fortunately, that book only had two remaining checks and I had brought a second checkbook that was labelled.

    5. Because these were passport applciations for minors, we both had to be present (with both the kids). There was something about getting authorization if one parent cannot attend, but thankfully we were both able to get a time slot that worked.

    6. We did not opt for expedited service. And while we have already received both of the new passports, we have not received back the old ones or submitted documents yet.

    Next step I guess is signing our newest addition for the relevant FF programs in 2 years time ha ha.

    1. Great tips. Interesting about needing the appointments, none of the post offices around me in MA need them. Good to know.

      For payments, can’t you buy a money order at the post office right then to pay? I seem to recall that… Updated to reflect the check thing though which I forgot. Thanks!

      1. Yes. You can buy a money order right there at the post office. The postal officer had mentioned that when she saw my non-labelled checks.

        And it seems like the way the Post Office handles passports varies by location. There are many small offices in our area here in South FL, but one one that will handle passports anymore. It may be a state by state thing, or perhaps even county by county.

  4. In Arizona you have to make an appointment at the post office and only certain post offices are designated for passport applications. There’s a walk-in facility downtown but it has limited hours.
    Note for the notary thing- if you decide to go that route the documentation can’t be more than 3 months old.

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