When you plan to travel with an infant, there are a million considerations, from getting vaccinations to packing enough diapers. One key consideration is obtaining a passport. Recent changes in passport regulations require that every traveler have a passport when crossing most international borders. In other words, an infant cannot be added to your passport.
Apply as far in advance as possible. Pending any delays or complications, an infant passport typically requires 6 weeks to process. You can pay an additional fee to expedite the process and receive the passport within about 2 weeks.
Download the application from the U.S. Department of State website (see Resources). You can also get a paper application from post offices and immigration offices. Fill out the application, but refrain from signing it until you are at the passport office in the presence of agents.
Supply evidence of the infant’s U.S. citizenship. One of the primary forms of identification accepted as proof of citizenship is a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. A certified birth certificate contains a raised, impressed, embossed or multicolor stamp as well as the registrar’s signature. Other options include a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship or, typically impossible in the case of infants, a previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport.
Submit evidence of the parents’ or guardians’ relationship to the infant. Such evidence may include a certified U.S. birth certificate listing both parents, a certified foreign birth certificate with both parents’ names, a Report of Birth Abroad with both parents’ names, an adoption decree with adopting parents’ names, a court order establishing custody or a court order establishing guardianship. If documents are written in a foreign language, obtain an official English translation.
Present identification of both parents or guardians. This identification can consist of an undamaged U.S. passport, a naturalization certificate, a valid driver’s license, a current government employee identification or a current military identification.
Apply in person. Both parents must be present when submitting an application for a minor. They both must sign the application form DS-11 in the presence of the agent. In the case that one parent cannot be present, the other parent can submit a notarized statement of consent (form DS-3053). If one parent has sole legal custody, the custodian must appear, sign the application form and supply primary evidence of the sole authority to apply for the child. If there is no legal documentation available as proof, the custodian must explain on form DS-3053 why the other parent or guardian’s consent cannot be obtained. If a third party is applying on behalf of the infant, the individual must provide a notarized written statement or affidavit from both parents or guardians (or sole custodian) authorizing a third party to apply for a passport.
Pay the passport fee, $35 for a passport card and $85 for a passport book as of 2009. Provide two identical color photographs of the infant. The photographs should measure 2 inches by 2 inches and have been taken within the last 6 months. The pose should show a full face view, and the background should be white or off-white. The infant should be dressed in normal street attire.
- Passport regulations change frequently. Consult the U.S. Department of State website (see Resources) for the most current information.