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Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?

Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport

Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?

If you are the parent of an infant who is a minor and is a US citizen, you may have questions about whether it is necessary to take it to the office where the passport is applied for, mainly when it is an infant or has very few years.

This article will answer that question and provide essential information about: Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?

Ans: Yes, minors must appear in person when applying for a passport. This requirement applies to all children independent of age. Even infants must be presented when an application is submitted on their behalf. Also, both parents or guardians must appear with the minor.

Anyone under the age of 16 who wishes to obtain a United States passport must meet several requirements listed later in this article.

The US passport for a minor is valid for five years only and can be obtained in either of the following two formats:

  • Passport Book – Provides US citizenship and serves as official identification. It is helpful for international travel.
  • Passport card: This card is the size of a credit card and can be requested in addition to the traditional passbook. The only drawback over the standard format is that it cannot use for international air travel.

Rule on the presence of children to apply for the US passport

When applying for the first time or renewing a passport for an American under 16, the child must always be present, even if it is a newborn. There are no exceptions to this rule.

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On the contrary, if you have already turned 16 and it is a renewal, you can do the entire process by mail without going to any office. However, if it is a first-time application, you will need to go in person.

In the United States, you must take the child to the Passport Application Reception Office or the Passport Agency. If you are in another country, you must make an appointment and appear at the American Embassy or consulate that corresponds to the place where the applicant is at that time.

Do both the father and the mother have to be present when applying for a US passport for a child?

The answer is yes, although there are three exceptions to the joint presence of the father and mother when it is not possible.

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The purpose of all these rules is to prevent anyone from removing an American child from their usual place of residence without the consent of both parents. It applies even when one parent gets angry with the other and wants to take the child to another country.

If the child is believed to be at risk, here is what can be done to prevent international child abduction.

What are the passport costs for a minor?

The cost of a passport for minor applicants is according to the following table:

passport formatshapeapplication feeIssuance fee
passport bookDS-11$80.00$35.00
passport cardDS-11$15.00$35.00
Passport card and bookDS-11$95.00$35.00

*Costs are expressed in United States dollars (USD).

What documents are necessary to apply for a US passport for a child

In addition to filling out the application form and providing passport-type photos, the most crucial document is the one that proves US citizenship. If the child was born in the United States, a copy of the birth certificate must be present. 

Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?
Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?

If you were born abroad but acquired nationality by one of your parents or acquired it later, the law indicates which documents are valid to prove US citizenship.

How long is a child’s passport valid?

Children’s passports expire five years after they are issued. 

How can I get a US passport for a minor?

1. Complete and print a DS-11 form using the online form filler.

Please note that you will NOT need to sign the application until you go to your appointment and the passport services agent asks you to do so.

Also, consider that you must provide the minor’s Social Security number. If you do not have one, you must submit a written statement (signed and dated) indicating that you have never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.

2. Provide evidence of your child’s US citizenship, either through an original document or a certified transcript (notarized copies, simple photocopies, or proof in digital format are not accepted).

In addition to the original document or certified copy, you must provide a photocopy of proof of citizenship, which must be legible and be printed on a letter-size white sheet of regular paper, in black and white and on one side.

You may use any of the following documents as evidence of your child’s US citizenship:

  • Valid American passport and in good physical condition, regardless of whether it is expired.
  • US birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad( CRBA ) or Birth Certification
  • Certificate of Citizenship

3. Demonstrates the relationship of kinship with the minor.

You can use any of the following documents in original or certified copy:

  • US birth certificate (also serves as proof of US citizenship)
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad ( CRBA ) or Birth Certificate (also serves as proof of US citizenship)
  • Foreign birth certificate or certificate
  • adoption decree
  • Divorce or custody decree

4. Present your ID and the ID of the child’s other parent or legal guardian.

Please take into account that it is required to deliver a physical copy of your photo identification and a simple photocopy of it. The document must be legible and printed on a letter-size white sheet of regular paper and one side only. You can increase the size of the image but never reduce it.

Friends, you should also know that if you present an out-of-state ID, you will also need to provide a second ID.

You can use any of the following official identification documents with a photo:

  • Fully valid state driver’s license
  • US passport (either correct or expired and in good physical condition)
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal)
  • US Military ID or Dependent Military ID
  • Valid foreign passport
  • Matricula Consular (Mexican consular identification commonly used by a parent of a minor American applicant)

5. The consent of both parents or guardians must demonstrate the issuance of the minor’s passport. The best way to do this is to attend the passport application appointment in person.

6. Find an acceptance office at iafdb.travel.state.gov.

Your child, the other parent or legal guardian, and you must go in person to one of the available Passport Services Acceptance Centers.

7. Provide a photograph of the child with the application.

You may find it helpful that there is a passport photo-taking service for an extra cost in some passport acceptance centers.

Consider the following tips for taking a photo of an infant or newborn:

  • Place the baby on his back on a white sheet or blanket to ensure that his head is supported without the help of a hand.
  • Alternatively, you can cover a car seat with a white sheet and take a child’s picture in the car seat.
  • Ensure that no other person appears beside the baby or minor in the photo.
  • A photo of the child looking directly at the camera is preferred but not required.

8. Go to your appointment at the Passport Service Center and present your complete application, including all original documents and photocopies. Be sure to bring 2 checks to pay the passport application and issuance fees listed below.

If the application is made from outside the United States, it will be necessary to consult the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate to inquire how to proceed.

Is a passport always necessary to travel internationally?

The passport is always the best document, but exceptions are allowed, such as a passport card. In addition, there are other possibilities for young children who are citizens to enter the United States by land from Canada or Mexico.

What should they do to obtain a US passport for their children born in the US, since they are US citizens if both parents are undocumented?

  • For minor children, BOTH parents must be present to obtain the passport. It is because there are federal kidnapping laws.
  • They must present the child’s certified birth certificate.
  • You must provide proof of your relationship with the child. The names of both parents must appear on the birth certificate.
  • PARENTS must show a valid ID to prove their identity. A certified translator must translate all documents that parents submit from their country of origin into English.
  • You must also bring a witness who swears you are who you say you are.
  • The WITNESS must:
    • Know the parents for at least two years.
    • Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
    • Have valid identification.
    • Fill out form DS-71 “Affidavit of Identifying Witness in the Presence of a Passport Agent.” It is obtained only in an agency where passports are processed.

If one of the parents is not available

  • The certified North American birth certificate must be present if the minor is born in the United States, or the birth certificate of their country of origin if the little is born outside the United States. Only the name of one parent appears.
  • Court order giving sole custody of the child to the parent who is applying, unless said order limits or prevents the ability of the minor to travel.
  • The court order explicitly allows the parent or guardian who is applying to travel with the minor.
  • A judicial declaration of incompetence of the father who is not present
  • Death certificate of the parent who is not present

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The passport does not arrive; what to do?

If the passport was applied for and not received, it may be an average delay. If you want to speed up the process, you have the option of paying for it to be done urgently.

But it is also possible that it was lost in the mail. If you suspect that this has happened, you should request the cancellation of that passport and order another one at no additional cost.

Of interest: dual nationality, preserving citizenship and parental rights

It is common for American children to reside in another country. These are the rules on the conservation of nationality and the obligation to register with the Selective Service in the case of men.

Also, keep in mind that an American child can have the passport of another country, for example, that of the parents, since the United States applies liberal laws in matters of dual nationality.

On the other hand, it is also common for an American infant to have parents who have another nationality. These are the rights of parents of citizen children. It is essential to understand what rights could be derived from this situation, the age requirement of the children, and when, despite having citizen children, no rights can obtain. And there is a lot of misinformation at this point.

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Advice and curiosity

Since this article is about passports for children, it is appropriate to recommend this information on how to understand the United States’ educational system quickly. There are various options for infants to study, and all of them deserve the best opportunities.

Finally, a curiosity. And it is that Latinos are the most significant minority in the United States, which is reflected in the census. Two Hispanic surnames are among the 10 most common in the country and 19 in the top 100. Are you curious to know if yours is?

This article is merely informative. It is not legal advice for any specific case. 

Does the child have to be present to apply for a US passport?

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