Passport Applications – The Basics For Kids

While we are busy firming up our travel plans for 2014 (Nashville, San Diego, Ireland, UK, Jackson Hole, we are coming for you!) I have heard from many of my friends who are also firming up theirs, including some international travel for the first time, which means needing to apply for passports for the kids in the family. And that, to most people, seems daunting, because it is definitely not quite as easy as a passport application for an adult.

But, it is totally doable! And we are going to break it down to take the confusion out of the whole process – please note this is for the passport book only. If you are interested in the passport card click here.

The first step is printing all the appropriate forms needed for the application. Visit this site to either print out the forms to fill out by hand or fill out electronically and print. The form is the DS-11, and can be found here.

Both parents must be present at the passport appointment (which can be done at passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility), as well as the applicant. If one parent can not be there, then the DS-3053 must also be turned in. This is a notarized form from the parent who can not attend. It can be found here, and must be presented with the DS-11.

If you can not obtain the written consent of the non-applying parent then you must complete item 4a-5 on the form DS-5525, which can be found here. It also must be presented with the DS-11.

Now, you have these forms, and you have to gather up additional info. You will need:

- Evidence of US citizenship (birth certificate, or if your child was born abroad you will need their Consular Notification Of Birth Abroad; their certificate of naturalization; certificate of citizenship; previous US passport)

- Photo identification; make a photo copy of both sides of both parents photo identifications (ie drivers license, and you will need a second id if the license is from a different state than the one you are applying in); or current US passport

- Parental consent (this is the DS-3053 or DS-5525 if both parents are not present, or see here if the applicant has only one parent/guardian)

- Passport photo, must be in color, 2″ x 2″, only one

- DS-11 form

- Passport Fees; The current fee for just the passport book is $105. If you want the passport card and book (the card can not be used for travel by air, and only for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry) it is $120. To expedite the passport it is an additional $60. Bring cash or money order, they will not accept credit cards.

Right now current regular processing times are 4-6 weeks, and expedited 2-3 weeks. Click here to see updated processing times.

Now, here is where people get tripped up. You must apply in person, even for a minor applicant’s passport renewal (until the age of 16). US passport agencies generally only allow for applicants who are traveling in the next two weeks, and have proof of travel – these are only the agencies listed here. Where we live you can apply through a post office, or through your county court. You have to have an appointment for the post office, and they are not easy to get. You do not need one for the court. This varies by city, county and state, so click HERE to find the closest facility to you. Note that getting an appointment may take a few weeks, so plan for that in terms of the time allowed for the whole process.

As I mentioned above when you renew your child’s passport, which is done every 5 years as opposed to 10 for adults, it must be done in person, and you must have all the same documentation, including a birth certificate, even if you have their prior US passport. This was a bone of contention with us when we renewed our son’s passport because, well, it is illogical. But then again that is really not a surprise :) And really it is worth clicking on that link because our renewal story is amusing, even to us.

So, get those applications going. And get traveling! It is so worth it! And who doesn’t love these baby passports?



6 thoughts on “Passport Applications – The Basics For Kids

  1. Beth @ Cloud Surfing Kids

    Great post! I’m sharing with my fans also. I’m bummed that we need to renew Ella’s passport already. I do really love that baby photo on her passport. Time for us to renew and to get the baby’s passport, so this checklist will come in handy.

    I’m confused by this sentence: “US passport agencies generally only allow for applicants who are traveling in the next two weeks, and have proof of travel.” Is that referring to rush applications?

    Thanks for taking the time to list all of this information!

    1. andrea922 Post author

      Thanks for the comment and the question! The agencies I was referring to are only in select cities, and they are for emergencies only. I have updated the blog with a link to the list of those agencies!

  2. Chamisa

    Ahhh just read your renewal story! So nutty – translated into … English?! One thing I have to say is that the service from American consulates in Germany is fantastic!! Of course they have lots of rules for safety and lots of documents you need (as in the US), but the employees are friendly & competent and the turnaround time is FAST! We applied for a renewal for my oldest son on Monday, and the new passport arrived Saturday morning. So… move to Germany? :)

  3. Katie

    Hi there! Did you fill out those forms in January, the DS-11? Because in the link you post, and in every other link to that document that I can find online, the form says, in the upper right hand corner, “expiration date 12-31-2013″. I’m getting my own passport right now for the first time and am wondering if that little detail caused you any trouble!

    1. andrea922 Post author

      Hi Katie! Thanks for your comment! I just looked at see where it says that, but I don’t think that is an issue, since it is the form that is linked on the official US govt site. I can’t find any other forms anywhere online or any info about why it says that! If you are feeling unsure I would call them – all their contact info is here –

      Thanks for reading :)


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