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#USImmigrationLaw: How Do I Get a Passport for My Child?

Parents aren't the only ones headed on vacation or to visit family in other countries. And they're not the only ones who need a passport to do so. So you may need to get a passport for your minor child in order to travel internationally.

But can you get a passport for an infant? What documents do you need for a passport? And do both parents need to consent? Here's what you need to know about getting a passport for your child.

Prep and Paperwork

For first-time minor children under 16 years old, the passport application must be submitted in person at a passport agency or other facility approved to accept passport applications. You will need to complete the application as well as a statement of consent and provide the following documentation:

  • Evidence of U.S. Citizenship: This can be a certified U.S. birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad, certificate of naturalization, or certificate of citizenship;
  • Evidence of Parental Relationship: This can also be the birth certificate, adoption decree, or custody decree;
  • Photo Identification: For the parent or child, if possible; and
  • Passport Photo: Color photo, 2" x 2".

The standard processing time for child's passport is six weeks, but you may be able to get an expedited passport in three weeks.

Consent and Custody

The key requirement for child passports is the consent of both parents -- U.S. law requires that both parents or legal guardians of a child must sign the passport application for children under 16. The law is designed to prevent parental abductions and ensure the safety of the child. There are a couple exceptions if the health or welfare of the child is at stake or if special family circumstances warrant the issuance of a passport.

You may also bypass the two-parent signature requirement if you can demonstrate that you either have sole custody or are the sole parent of the child. Also, where the child's custody is still in dispute, the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) can alert a parent if a passport application is filed for their child and confirm consent.

Getting a passport for your child can be complicated, especially if either of you have citizenship issues. You may want to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before applying for your child's passport.

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