Today’s travel regulations are tighter than they have ever been and it is important to be prepared before setting out on a journey. Parents traveling with small children need to understand that child passport requirements are not the same as for an adult and make sure that they plan accordingly when applying for them. Taking a few extra steps before the trip can save a great deal of trouble on the departure day.
Many parents think that if they are traveling with a baby, they do not need to have a passport for that child, but this is completely false. Every child needs their own passport, regardless of age, and including infants. Showing up on the day of a flight without a passport for a baby will make it impossible to proceed with the trip, as the child will not be allowed to travel under any circumstances.
When obtaining a passport for the first time, the child must appear in person with both parents to begin the application process. The parents must provide all of the necessary documents and not sign anything until prompted by the acceptance agent. If one parent has sole custody of the child, they will also be required to present proof that they legally permitted to travel with the child such as a judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent.
The next step in applying for a passport for a child is presenting evidence of the child’s United States citizenship. These documents will need to be submitted with the application and will be returned with the newly issued passport. Documents that will fulfill this requirement include a certificate of citizenship or a certified birth certificate.
The parents will also be required to present evidence of their relationship to the child. This can come in the form of an adoption decree or birth certificate, among others. If the parent’s name has changed since the original document was issued, they will also have to present evidence of a legal name change. In addition, each parent will have to provide a copy of their own official ID.
The final important thing that each parent must do is provide consent for the child to be issued a United States passport. This means that they must both appear in person with the child and sign the appropriate forms in the presence of an acceptance agent. If only one parent is available to appear, they must present a notarized statement from the second parent confirming their consent.
Of course, as with any government document, there is a fee to obtain a child passport. The cost of the passport is sixty dollars with an additional twenty-five dollar execution fee.. It takes four to six weeks to receive a passport, so if it is needed sooner than that, there will be an additional sixty dollar charge for expedited processing.
The process of obtaining a child passport is complicated and it is important to follow the direction carefully and complete each step. A single mistake could mean that the entire process will need to begin from the start and that could significantly hold up travel plans. For details on each step, visit the United States Department of State.
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