How to Obtain a Passport for Baby

Easy to follow directions for helping baby travel internationally.

If you’re planning an international trip with your baby, or if you’re just dreaming of one, getting baby’s passport is the important first step to making your travel dreams a reality.

Acquiring a passport for your baby is a relatively simple process, if you are prepared. Any child under sixteen years of age has different requirements to obtain a passport than an adult. The main difference between getting a passport for baby and your own is both of baby’s parents (or an approved, verified and notarized consent letter from both parents) must be presented in person to a passport agency in order to make application.

I’ve outlined the steps below to help you make the process of submitting your baby’s passport application as simple as possible.

How to Obtain a Passport for Baby

Complete the Application

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Your application will require you to gather copies of some important documents, which the US Passport Agency will keep. Please note: if your name has changed from that on your parental relationship document, such as baby’s birth certificate, you’ll need to submit proof of your legal name change, like a marriage certificate or court order. Additionally, the DS-11 form will ask for baby’s social security number.

According to the Department of State website:

“If your child does not have a Social Security number, you must submit a statement, signed and dated, that includes the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: (Child's full name) has never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.”

The US Department of State lists the following steps to get a passport for baby:

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Fill out form DS-11 (available here with all the rest of baby’s passport application information). This form may be filled out online with the form filler and then printed to accompany your in-person application, or printed blank and filled in with blue or black ink.

Provide U.S. citizenship evidence, which can include your passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers.

* Bring an additional photocopy of U.S. citizenship evidence. If you choose not to make a photocopy of a birth certificate, you may request an additional copy from the county of birth, probably with a processing fee, and the passport agency will keep the additional certified copy.

* Prove your parental relationship, such as birth or adoption certificates or court certificates.

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* Present your government issued IDs, for both parents.

* Bring a photocopy of front and back of both parent’s IDs.

* Show parental consent from both parents or legal proof documenting that sole custody belongs to just one parent, such as a court order, birth certificate or legal adoption paperwork or a death decree.

* Provide two passport photos of baby. See the tips below for getting a great photo.

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* Submit your completed application to an approved application site, with both parents present, where they will help you calculate and submit correct fees, or you can calculate them ahead of time. You can pay by check, money order, or at some locations, debit or credit card.

* According to the State Department, “If one parent cannot go with the child to apply for the passport, they can give permission by completing Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent." You must submit the completed and notarized form with the child's passport application.

Some items on the above list may seem redundant, but it’s because you’ll need to submit two copies of everything to the passport agency. Forgetting any of the above paperwork will delay your baby’s passport processing.

Get Baby’s Passport Photos

Not only will baby’s passport be a tool in identifying and protecting your child while you travel internationally, it will become a momento of your travels. Dress your baby in something adorable, but keep in mind it’s only the top part of her torso and face that will show in the photo.

Most local pharmacies like CVS or Walgreen’s have passport photo locations, as do shipping centers such as FedEx or the UPS Store. Often the photo center of your warehouse clubs, like Costco or Sam’s Club, will also provide passport photo services. Expect to pay between $8-$15 dollars for the pack of duplicate photos which must be submitted. Here are requirements for baby’s passport photo:

* Baby’s head must face the camera directly with full face in view.

* Baby must have a neutral facial expression or natural smile, hopefully with both eyes open. However, it is acceptable if the infant’s or newborn’s eyes, are not, or are not entirely, open.

* Baby’s clothing must be that normally worn on a daily basis.

* Photo must be taken in the last 6 months.

* No digital alterations may be made to the image.

* Photo must be against a plain white or off-white background.

* Use correct size, 2 x 2 inches square.

* Baby’s head in the photo must be between 1 -1 3/8 inches from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.

* Photo must be color and printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper.

Find Passport Application Locations

Often, your local post offices will be registered locations to accept your baby’s passport application in person. You can check on the United States Postal Service passport information page here to see which post offices in your area will accept passport applications.

We got our baby’s passport at our local government city hall’s passport division, and in some cases, you may live close to a main passport office. You can check for passport application facilities here. If you’re visiting a main office, be sure and make an appointment.

How Long Does it Take to Obtain Baby’s Passport?

You’ll need at least four to six (and sometimes even up to twelve) weeks time to avoid the additional $75 in rush processing fees for a two-three week processing time. In an emergency situation, there are some non-government agencies who will offer 24-hour turnaround of passports, but you’ll be spending nearly five times as much, and as a budget-conscious mom, I don’t recommend this. Especially if you have family living abroad, why not get baby’s passport right away, in case the opportunity for international travel with baby presents itself?

How Long is Baby’s Passport Valid?

The passport for any child under sixteen will only be good for five years. Don’t worry, when it is time for you go through the renewal process (which must also be done in person), the steps for a child are the same as the steps listed above. Thankfully, the passport agency will send you baby’s cancelled passport with stamps as a memento for your scrapbooks, which thrills this traveling mom, because we love to collect memories, not memorabilia.

Both our boys’ baby passports are a priceless reminder of the miles and journeys we’ve made together. Now that you know how to acquire your baby’s passport, where will you go? Vaya con Dios!

Jen Reyneri

Jen Reyneri

Renaissance Woman Jen Reyneri and her husband Luis often live life on the road with their two home-schooled sons. Popular author and speaker, Jen is founder of Spirited and spirit filled, she savors life, poetic words, sabbaticals and strong coffee.

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