I recently applied for a Baby Passport. These are needed for Babies that are United States Citizens traveling oversees only. For domestic travel a Birth Certificate is sufficient, and from what I can gather from American Airlines support and a lot of other parents, the certificate is not as a form of ID. The birth certificate requirement is more a case of proving your baby is under 2 years old and therefore doesn’t need to pay for their own seat, as it can travel as a lap infant.
The Baby Passport application is quite straightforward. There are several options in terms of suitable locations for the acceptance of the forms, which include “post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices”. Personally I found a nearby USPS Post Office was the best option. Here is a locator tool that will show you nearby options searching by Zip Code. It is important to note that many post offices will not accept a walk in application – you can go there to pick up the form, and set an appointment for the forms and supporting documents to be reviewed.
- Pro Tip – You can download and print out the application form DS-11 and call in for your appointment.
Note that passports that are issued for people 15 and under are valid for 5 years, whereas the regular US passport is valid for 10 years.
What you need
- You need both parents present, failing which you will need to have the other parent complete, and have notarized, this form
- Parents require photo ID (a Drivers License works)
- Child’s Birth Certificate
- Passport Photo – note that the head cannot be too prominent, we had to have ours retaken because it was zoomed in too much. The guidelines are below Note you can take your own photos, I have done this in the past for adult passports (US and UK) which saves a lot of time and a bit of money. If you decide to do that, make sure you follow the full criteria:
- In color
- Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
- Fees – they accept checks, if you are at the Post Office you can buy a money order for the fees also.
Expedite, or regular processing?
For an additional $60+$14.95 (overnight return) you can receive expedited service. If you have travel plans coming up, check the current passport processing times here.
As you can see, at this time there is a 4-5 week wait for regular processing, and 2-3 for expedited. Additionally, it is possible to track the status of your regular application using this link which is very handy. Make sure you also complete the email address field so you receive email updates on the application.
This allows you to start out with the regular processing (cheaper) option, and swap it to expedited should you feel the need. This helps make the decision to opt for regular processing a little more comfortable.
- You don’t need a baby passport for domestic US travel, only for International. It will last for 5 years.
- You need an appointment at most USPS Post Offices to process the application
- You can download the forms, and take your own photos and bring everything to your appointment to save time
- You can check processing times in advance, and elect to expedite after the application has started if time is looking tight