A child born in the United States is a U.S. citizen and can get a U.S. passport as proof of citizenship. A U.S. passport is also needed to travel outside of the U.S. This fact sheet tells you how to get a passport for your child. Your immigration status doesn’t matter.
This fact sheet does not give information about how to prove citizenship for children born outside the U.S. to U.S. citizen parents, or children adopted by U.S. citizens.
The forms you need are online. If you don’t have a computer, you can use one at any public library. You can also get forms in person from a passport application center. To find one near you go to: http://iafdb.travel.state.gov.
Again, the process for applying for a passport book and a passport card are the same. You need Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport. Choose if you want to fill it out online or print out a blank copy (PDF). Doing it online takes you through a step by step process.
Or you can get a form in person from an application center. Many U.S. post offices, local government centers, and state driver’s license stations offer passport services. To find a location near you, go to http://iafdb.travel.state.gov or call 1 (877) 487-2778.
Fill out the form with personal information about your child such as place of birth, age, parents’ information, and address.
You need to take other documents with you too. The instructions on the form list what you need and give details about them. Take your completed form and these documents with you to the application center.
Children 18 years or older can apply on their own, following the steps above.
A passport book costs $165 ($130 for a renewal). A passport card costs $65 ($30 for a renewal). It is valid for 10 years.
A child 16 or 17 years old needs permission from parents or guardian to apply for a passport and must apply in person.
They have to bring written permission from one parent or guardian, a copy of that parent’s I.D., and their own I.D. to the passport application center. OR a parent or guardian can go with the child and show I.D.
A passport book costs $165. A passport card costs $65. It is valid for 10 years.
A child under 16 years old has to apply in person at the application center.
You and all other parents or guardians have to go too. You and the other parent/guardian have to show I.D.
A passport book costs $145. A passport card costs $50. It is valid for 5 years.
Click on “Statement of Consent: Issuing a Passport to a Child (DS-3053)”
You can also get a DS-3053 at a passport application center. The completed form must be signed in front of a notary.
You also need a copy of both sides of the missing parent’s identification.
Take the completed form and the copy of the identification to the application center. The form showing permission from the other parent can’t be more than 3 months old.
NOTE: If the other parent died, bring the death certificate or affidavit of death.
If you have sole legal custody of your child, you don’t need the other parent. BUT you have to show that you have sole legal custody. Bring the court order that says you have sole custody. If you are the mother, and not married to the father, you can also show this by bringing a birth certificate which only lists the mother.
In Minnesota, if the parents were not married when the child was born or conceived, then the mother has sole legal custody. This may be true even if the father is listed on the birth certificate. An unmarried mother can try to get a family court order saying they have sole legal custody so there’s proof on paper. See our fact sheet Paternity and Child Custody.
If you don’t have sole legal custody, and the other parent can’t sign for some reason or won’t cooperate in signing Form DS-3053, you can give the passport office a notarized statement or Form DS-5525. The statement or form explains why the other parent is not available.
Examples of reasons why the other parent can’t sign might be things like: there is an order for protection or no contact order, or you don’t know where the other parent is. Or maybe they are just refusing to sign.
Click on “Statement of Special Family Circumstances (DS-5525)”
BUT the application agent who takes your form decides if it is approved. There is no guarantee that your explanation will be accepted. Different application centers may make different decisions on the same application. The surest way to avoid needing the other parent’s signature is to try to get sole legal custody through a family court order.
A third party can apply for the child’s passport. They need to take a notarized statement from both parents/guardians saying they have permission to apply for the child. The statement must include a photocopy of the front and back of both parents' identification.
If the permission is from only one parent/guardian, the third party must bring proof that the parent has sole custody. The notarized letter can’t be more than 3 months old.
Scroll down and click on “DS-10 Affidavit of Birth”
Bring as many other documents as you can that show the child’s name, date of birth, and parents’ names together on something. These can be things like:
a baptismal certificate
a hospital birth certificate
a census record
early school records
family bible record
a doctor’s record of post-natal care
You also need I.D. documents for the adults. These can be things like:
a valid driver’s license
citizenship or naturalization certificate, or
permanent resident card
If you don’t have any of these I.D. documents, you must have some other form of identification AND a witness of your identity. Your witness must:
Be someone that has known you for at least 2 years,
be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident,
have valid identification and
fill out Form DS-71: Affidavit of Identifying Witness in front of the passport agent. You can’t get Form DS-71 online. Your witness has to go with you to the passport application center. They have the forms there.
Call the Minneapolis Passport Agency if you run into problems or have been denied. Also call them if you think your case is complicated and you want to avoid problems at a local application center. They specialize in expedited (fast) cases.
Because of child passport fraud and issues about consent, there is a new program called Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP). If you are a separated or divorced parent, you can ask to enroll your child to a watch list in cases of divorce, separation, or other joint legal custody situations. This program holds up a passport application for a minor until they can verify permission is given by both parents. If the other parent tries to apply for a passport for your child without you, you are notified. For more information and how to enroll go to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/prevention/passport-issuance-alert-program.html