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How to Apply for a US passport for Children Under 18

October 25, 2021
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Summary

If you and your children recently became U.S. citizens, you may want to get your U.S. passports. The passport application process for children under age 18 is a little different from the process for adults, even though everyone must complete Form DS-11 for their U.S. passports. This article will explain the different requirements for children applying for U.S. passports.

Overview

U.S. Passport Application Process for Children Under Age 16

Children under the age of 16 must apply for U.S. passports in person with Form DS-11. They must be accompanied by two of their parents or guardians. With Form DS-11, you can apply for a passport book, passport card, or both documents for your child. You can schedule an appointment at a passport agency through the National Passport Information Center’s website.

Parents and guardians will have to bring their government-issued photo identification document and proof of parental relationship to the child to the passport agency. Examples of eligible documents include your driver’s license, citizenship documents, child’s foreign or U.S. birth certificate, adoption decree, divorce/custody decree, court order documents, marriage certificate, name change documents, or a report of birth abroad from a U.S. embassy or consulate. 

If you cannot accompany your child in person, you can authorize issuance for the U.S. Department of State to grant your child a passport with Form DS-3053.

Both you and your child will need to bring certified copies of proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship, as well as proof of identity, photo, and passport fees, to a passport acceptance facility.

There is an $80 fee for passport books, $15 fee for passport cards, and a $95 application fee for both the passport book and card. If approved, you will need to pay a $35 execution fee for your child’s application form. You can pay application and execution fees via a check or money order. You will pay any additional fees (execution fees or expedite fees) separately from application fees. You will pay application and expedite fees to the U.S. Department of State and pay execution fees to the acceptance facility you visit.

Both first-time applicants and children who have previously held a U.S. passport will need to file Form DS-11. Note that you cannot use the passport renewal application, or Form DS-82, to renew your child’s passport. Even if this is not your child’s first U.S. passport, be sure to use Form DS-11. The expiration date for passports for children under age 16 occurs 5 years after issuance.

See the Department of State’s website for more guidance on applying for a new passport and which documents qualify as evidence of U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Passport Application Process for Children Age 16 - 17

Children aged 16 to 17 can apply for a passport accompanied by at least one parent or guardian. Their parent or guardian must show a government-issued photo ID and certify that they are aware their child will receive a passport.

During an appointment, an acceptance agent will ask you (the parent or guardian) to sign Form DS-11. But, your child can also submit Form DS-11 on their own if you provide your signed, notarized consent. You should include a photocopy of the front of your ID with your statement of consent.

The U.S. Department of State will deny your child’s passport application if you send them a written objection.

What is the processing time for a U.S. passport application?

The U.S. Department of State can take up to 14 weeks to process your Form DS-11 application. But, if you have earlier travel plans, it’s possible to expedite passport processing. By paying an additional $60 application fee, the Department of State can process your Form DS-11 within ten weeks after submission.

You can use the U.S. passport services’ status tracker to check your child’s application status online. Usually, it can take four weeks after submitting your child’s U.S. passport application for their status to change to “In Process.” If your child’s passport status says “Not Available,” it means that your child’s application and any supporting documents are on their way to the Department of State.

Conclusion

You will only be able to apply for a passport for your child if they are a U.S. citizen. Obtaining U.S. citizenship can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If your child has a green card and you would like to naturalize as U.S. citizens, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!

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