Are you traveling for the first time with your children? The rules are just a bit different for anyone under 16 applying for their passport. It’s important to know that this can be a long process but there are a few tips that can expedite things without paying an expensive service.
The first thing that you must know is anyone under the age of 16 must apply in person at a passport acceptance facility. More plainly stated, your local post office that accepts passports. This does not apply to every post office but only the ones specifically listed at approved facilities. In most cases you will need an appointment, which I find preferable anyway. Some offices allow you to schedule online while others require a phone call. This link will give you your best local options: http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/
I recently obtained passports for my 3 youngest for a cruise we are taking next month. I checked the local office in Charlotte. My thinking was the bigger the office, the faster the appointment. I was given a time about a month away. That wasn’t going to work as I had procrastinated a bit. Plan B was to call a much smaller office. I choose the Statesville office which was about a 30 minute drive from my home. I had an appointment the next day. The next very important thing to know, come prepared.
Have all of the documents that you need and copies if requested. You will only slow down the process if not.
Once you have an appointment, this is the list of items you should bring with you:
1. Your child or children
2. Form DS-11 http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html
3. Evidence of your child’s US Citizenship:
Primary Evidence of U.S. Citizenship (One of the following):
– Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
– Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state*
– Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
– Naturalization Certificate
– Certificate of Citizenship
4. Evidence of the Relationship between the Parents and the children
Evidence of Relationship (One of the following):
– Minor’s certified U.S. birth certificate with both parents’ names
– Minor’s certified Foreign Birth Certificate with both parents’ names*
– Minor’s Report of Birth Abroad with both parents’ names
– Adoption Decree with adopting parents’ names*
– Court Order establishing custody
– Court Order establishing guardianship
5. Present Identification of Parent or Guardian and (bring a photocopy of each parents id)
Primary Identification (One of the following):
– Previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport
– Naturalization Certificate
– Valid Driver’s License
– Current Government Employee ID (city, state or federal)
– Current Military ID (military and dependents)
6. Provide Parental Consent: Both parents must give consent for the passport. If only one parent can make the appointment, you must bring in the notarized form giving consent from the absent parent.
7. Submit a passport photo. Any local drug store with a photo department should be able to provide the photo. There are very specific requirements for the photograph and anyone that advertises passport photos should be aware of the measurements, etc. Some offices will take the photo for you but you are better off to bring it with you. We got ours at CVS for just a few dollars. Don’t expect these to be worthy of a frame. Most are terrible and the passport is only good for 5 years anyway. Here are the specs if you want to try it yourself.
8. Lastly, the fee. In my opinion, you want the Passport book and card. All fees are nonrefundable, even if you are denied the passport. This will run about $120 per minor passport and additional funds if you need it expedited.
We received the kid’s passports in about 3 weeks. This was much faster than normal and I still would have been waiting for my appointment at the other office. If you have questions about adult passports or would like more information about minors, click here.
If you have any travel questions or needs, please feel free to email or call me.
Wendy Hershey, Smarty Travel Expert
TNT Travel 704-340-3533
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