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Passport for Child:

How to Get a Passport for a Child

By J. Ben Pate | Guest Blogger for Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

Every US citizen must have a US passport for international air travel and now that law includes children as well. Formerly, children could, in certain circumstances, travel under their parent's passport but new laws to help prevent international child abduction require a child passport for every minor. The procedures to obtain a minor's under the age of 16 passport is relatively similar to that of an adult except for some minor but very important differences.

The child must appear in person at the office at the time of the application for the passport. A form DS-11 should be filled out but not yet signed by both parents. The child must be accompanied by both parents in order to apply for a passport.

Proof of Citizenship Needed. Getting the passport for any child requires submitting proof of citizenship in the form of a certified birth certificate, a birth abroad record, naturalization certification or citizenship certificate. If none of these documents are available, a combination of secondary documents might be presented but one secondary document alone is not sufficient in most instances.

Both Parents Must Have I.D. Both of the child's parents must submit their proof of identity such as a government issued ID or their own passports. In addition, the parents must also submit proof of their relationship to the child. When a birth certificate is used as proof of citizenship both parents names will appear on the document.

Requirements Different for Minors Under 16 versus Over 16. Minors aged sixteen or seventeen have slightly different requirements than younger children applying for passports. They too must apply for their passport in person and submit an ID or have their parents submit their identification if they have not yet gotten one. They however do not require their parents to be present to apply for the passport unlike children younger than sixteen. Some children may be able to travel without a passport but the circumstances where this applies are limited. A cruise ship which is considered to be on a closed circuit trip and leaves from a US port with a destination in the Western Hemisphere may not require the child to have a valid passport. However it should be remembered that the port of call in another country may require passengers to have a passport to disembark.

Recent Changes for School Trips. In addition, some changes were made as of June 2009 and groups of children from the US and Canada who are traveling with a school, religious or sports organization may not require a passport for travel to countries adjacent to their own. For sea or land travel they may require only a birth certificate or other documentation. International air travel though will still require the passport.

Expect to Wait. When applying for a child's passport, the wait times are similar to that of an adult's. Usually it requires four to six weeks for a passport submitted through regular channels to arrive. Expedited passports require a more substantial fee and will usually arrive in two to four weeks. To receive a child passport sooner for more urgent travel plans, a US passport agency office or website will be able to issue the passport within 24 hours or if this is not possible, an expediting service can be used.

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Producer's Note: Did you know that only about 30% of Americans have a passport? Now more than ever with passports being required when you go to Mexico and Canada, getting a passport is essential for many families who live near borders or plan on traveling to countries or islands outside of the U.S. Find out some more facts you need to know about international documents in my article on passports and visas.

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