We all are well aware of the fact that if you are travelling abroad, a valid passport is a must including new born babies and minor children (under 16 years). Acquiring or renewing a child's passport is no cake walk in USA. Over the past few years, new statutes have been added in the process to ensure child safety. These new statutes are quite cumbersome for parents but it does warranty child security. To make it through the process without a hitch, it is important to begin early and pay close attention to detail. Passport for Children

Step by step guide:

1. The primary thing you have to know is that your kid must apply face to face with both parents and guardians. 

2. Complete Application Form DS-11 There are two ways to complete the application form. 1.1 Complete Application Form DS-11 - Offline - After downloading and printing, you can fill in the application offline. Applicants should write legibly in black ink. 

If the agent has difficulty reading what you wrote, it can lead to errors in the new passport. The application should not be signed until an acceptance agent asks you to do so. 

1.2 Complete Application Form DS-11 - Online - There are only 22 questions on 2 pages. Personal information that is requested includes the full name, date and place of birth, gender, phone number, travel plans and emergency contact. 

The estimated time limit is 85 minutes. 

3. Gather Supporting documents There are a few records that you should either exhibit at the time you present the application at a travel permit office or send with the shape to the preparing focus. The rundown incorporates the accompanying: Child's evidence of U.S. citizenship

  • Previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
  •  Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state (must be long form)
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  •  Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Certified copies can be acquired at the registrar's office of the state where your child was born. Be sure to get the "long form".

2.1.1 Guidelines for Providing Evidence of Citizenship

  • If you have nonimmigrant status in the US (H1/H4 visa; L1/L2 visa, etc.), you should bring a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county, or state. The authorities of hospital guide parents while applying  for birth certificate and social security number for  newborn
  • No duplicate version of birth certificates are recognized.
  • You must create confirmed birth certificate with a registered seal on it, certificate filing date and signature from the registered office. Obtain the birth certificate as soon as the baby is born or within one year of birth to avoid any hassles.

2.1    Parents' or guardians' proof of relationship to child All documents that prove your relationship to your baby must be submitted in original. You can choose any of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate with both parents' names serves the purpose.
  • If the child is born abroad following should be submitted: Child's certified Foreign Birth Certificate with name of both the parents. Child's Report of Birth Abroad with name of both the parents.

Formal or informal English translation must be submitted with the documents of foreign language.

  • Submit adoption decree containing parent name if child is
  • If you are guardian to a newborn baby, you should submit the following: Court order establishing custody Court order establishing guardianship
  •  Evidence of Name Change such as a copy of marriage certificate must be submitted if the name of a parent/guardian has changed since the original documents were issued.
  • Previous US passports are not accepted as evidence of relationship.

2.2    Submit Photocopy of Identification Evidence of Parents/Guardian Parents of newborn babies should present proof of identification at the time of application for a new passport for the child. Acceptable proof of identification includes:

  • U.S. passport in undamaged condition
  • Valid driver's license
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Current military ID or Government ID

If you do not have any of these, you can use below mentioned evidences as well as an identifying witness who can guarantee your identity. (A) Secondary identification

  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Card
  • Employee ID
  • Library Card

(B) Identifying witness An identifying witness is a person who can identify you and can swear to your identity. There are a few regulations for this. The identifying witness must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have valid ID (Driver's license, US Passport, current military or government ID).
  • Be present at the time of application.
  • Have known you for at least 2 years.
  • Fill and submit Form DS-71: Affidavit of Identifying Witness in the presence of a Passport Agent. This form is available at the Passport agency or local acceptance facility.

2.3    Parental Consent Mandatory Both parents of a newborn baby must provide a consent authorizing passport issuance for the baby. The following conditions should be complied. It is important that both parents must go for filing the application. However, there are some exceptions. Both parents of the new born must

  • Appear in person with the newborn baby.
  • Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent.

In Other Circumstances:For one parent If only one parent is going for the application process, he must •    Appear in person with the newborn baby •    Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent •    Provide and submit the second parents' notarized Statement of Consent (Form DS-3053) 

For a third-party submission If guardians of child is applying passport through third party, they will have to submit following mentioned documents:

  • A notarized written statement or affidavit from both the parents of the newborn baby or guardians authorizing a third-party to apply for a passport.
  • When the statement of affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the third-party must present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.

Application Tips

  • Go through the Department of State website to make sure that you are on the right track.
  • There is no procedure for renewal of a passport by mail for minors so children under 16 whose current passports have expired or are near the expiration date must apply in person as if for the first time.
  • Only original or certified copies are accepted and not photocopies or notarized copies of citizenship evidence.