If you are planning on traveling abroad with your family you will need to fill out applications for children’s passports as well as your own. Children must have their own passport. There are several things to keep in mind when applying for passports for your children. These are the nine basic steps you must follow.
Complete Form DS-11 for each child. The application will need to be submitted in person to an acceptance facility. The child and both parents must appear in person when submitting the application. Most post offices act as acceptance facilities. Check with your local post office to see if they are authorized to accept passport applications.
Proof of Citizenship
Along with the application you will need to submit proof of US Citizenship for the child. There are very strict rules on what is an acceptable form of documentation. A birth certificate needs to be certified, which means it is an original with the registrar’s impression or multi-colored seal and also includes their signature. This will be returned to you when you receive your passports. If the child was born out of the country, a “Report of Birth Abroad” can be presented in lieu of a certified birth certificate.
Proof Of Parental Identification
Parents must submit evidence of their relationship to the children. Having each parent named on the birth certificate or the “Report of Birth Abroad” will satisfy this requirement. For single parents, you will need to submit a court order that proves you have custody of the child. Adoptive parents will have to provide a copy of the Adoption Decree that shows both of the adopting parents’ names.
Parental Identification Documents
As the parents, you will also need to provide a photocopy of your identification. Acceptable forms of identification include a previously issued passport, a naturalization certificate or a valid drivers license. City, state or federal employees may use their employee ID or military ID, which are also acceptable. If you are applying for multiple children, a copy of your ID must be submitted with each application.
You will need to pay two separate fees for each passport. For a minor, there is a ninety-five dollar fee for the application plus an additional charge of twenty-five dollars for the execution fee. These need to be paid separately and can be paid by check, money order or credit card. Some facilities may accept the exact amount in cash depending on the acceptance facility you use.
The final step is to provide two passport photos. The passport photo must be 2 x 2 inches in size and printed on quality paper. The background must be white or off white and the picture needs to be a full-face view with dimensions of the face no smaller than 1 inch from the chin to the top of the head. Most post offices will also offer passport photo services.
Stop! Don’t Sign It Yet
Decide what location you are going to use for submission of your documents and inquire about their hours of operation. Make an appointment if they are available to help speed the process along. Once you have all the information gathered and your photocopies made, you are ready to submit your application. It is important to note that you are not to sign the application until in the presence of the acceptance agent.
Traveling abroad with your kids can be very exciting for the whole family. The time it takes to get your children’s passports will be well rewarded with the wonderful memories made during your travels. Don’t forget to check the dates on your children’s passport, you may nee to apply for a passport renewal at some point. Once you have your passport in hand, you will be ready for the adventure and excitement of discovering the world.
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