If you just had a baby and plan to take a trip abroad, you may wonder, “Do babies need passports?” Under the law, babies are not exempt from having proper identification when traveling overseas. Every U.S. citizen, including minors, is required to have their own passport to travel internationally. Passports for minors under 16 years old and babies are valid for five years. This guide will explore the steps to obtain a passport for your baby, tips, and frequently asked questions.
How To Get a Passport For a Baby
The first step in obtaining a passport for your baby is to complete Form DS-11, Application for U.S. Passport. You can easily download this form here. Note that all applications for babies and minors must be submitted in person at a passport agency/acceptance facility by the legal guardians/parents. Bring the baby with you to the passport office as well. Fill out the required fields in black ink. If you need a passport book with more than 52 pages, you can request it at no additional cost by checking the ‘large book’ box.
On the form, fill out the baby’s full name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, SSN, email, phone number, and mailing address.
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.”
On page two, you will see fields to fill out parental biographic details including full names, dates of birth for mother/father, place of birth, gender, citizenship, contact information, height, hair color, eye color, and address.
Do not sign the form until you are instructed to by an official.
Provide U.S. Citizenship Evidence
To prove the baby’s citizenship, you should submit one of the following documents (original or certified physical copy). Do not submit photocopies or notarized copies.
- U.S. birth certification that meets the following:
- Issued by city, county, or state of birth
- Lists the baby’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
- Lists parent’s full names
- Includes date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
- Includes registrar’s signature
- Includes seal of issuing authority
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Citizenship
Click here if you cannot provide one of the aforementioned types of evidence.
The parent/legal guardians will also need to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship through a photocopy.
Photocopies must be:
- On white 8.5″ x11″ standard paper
- Black and white
A second certified copy of the citizenship evidence will also be accepted for those who do not want to submit a photocopy.
Proving Parental Relationship
You must be able to prove you are the baby’s parents. The following can be used as evidence:
- U.S. birth certificate (also proof of U.S. citizenship)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth (also proof of U.S. citizenship)
- Foreign birth certificate
- Adoption decree
- Divorce/Custody decree
Acceptable Identification Documents for Parents
The following documents are acceptable for identification for parents to prove who they are:
- U.S. passport book/card (valid or expired)
- Valid in-state driver’s license or enhanced license with photo
- Certificate of citizenship or naturalization
- Government employee I.D.
- U.S. military or military-dependent I.D.
- Valid and current foreign passport
- Mexican Consular ID
- U.S. permanent resident card (green card)
- Traveler IDS (i.e., Global Entry, FAST, SENTRI, NEXUS)
- Valid in-state learner’s permit with photo, Valid in-state non-driver I.D. with photo, or temporary driver’s license with photo
You can find other forms of acceptable identification here. Digital forms of I.D. documents will not be accepted. Those with out-of-state I.D.s must also present additional I.D.
Must Both Parents Be Present for Issuance?
Not necessarily, but you must present evidence if any of the following are true.
If you have sole legal authority, you must provide legal evidence. This can include things like a court order granting your custody, a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the sole parent, a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased parent, a certified adoption decree showing you as the sole parent or court order granting you the right to apply for the child’s passport.
If you do not have sole legal authority, but the other parent cannot be present to apply for the passport, the absent parent can grant you permission by completing Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent.
This form must be signed and dated by the absent parent in the presence of a notary and submitted along with a photocopy of the front and back of the I.D.
Please note: In certain countries, a DS-3053 must be notarized at a U.S. embassy or consulate and cannot be notarized by a local notary public. Go to the U.S. embassy or consulate webpage for more information.
What If You Cannot Locate One Parent?
If you cannot find the other parent, submit Form DS-5525 Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. The government will likely request additional evidence.
If neither parent can be present, a third party can apply for the passport via Form DS-3053 Statement of Consent or via a notarized statement from the parents. The statement needs to include a photocopy of the parents’ identification.
Passport Book vs. Passport Card
While both a passport book and passport card can serve as proof of U.S. identification, there are differences between them. Explore the chart below for details.
Newborn Passport Fees
You can see the application and execution fees for DS-11 in the table below. These fees are to be paid separately, and expedited service is available for an additional $60.
Check the Status of Your Application
If you’d like to check the status of your infant’s passport application, click here. You will be asked for your last name, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number. It may take 2 weeks to receive a status update when you apply or renew. In addition, you can receive email updates by signing up through the online passport status system.
If, after two weeks, the online system says it has been mailed out to you, but you have not received it, contact the National Passport Information Center. From there, a customer service representative will instruct you to fill out a DS-86 form indicating you did not receive it.
You have 90 days from the date your passport was issued to complete the DS-86 form. After 90 days, you must reapply and pay all fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the passport valid for children 16+?
These are valid for ten years.
Can I use Form DS-82 to renew my infant’s passport?
No, you cannot.
Can I submit digital evidence of my child’s citizenship?
No, you must submit physical evidence of U.S. citizenship and a photocopy of the document.
Can a baby travel without a passport?
No, all individuals must have proper identification for traveling overseas.
Where do I submit my application?
If you are outside the U.S., you should contact the U.S. Embassy and Consulate to submit the baby’s documents. For those in the United States, you and your child must submit Form DS-11 along with fees, evidence, etc.
How long is the processing time?
The entire time to get a newborn or kids passport is 6-8 weeks from the time of application.
What if my address changed after applying?
Suppose your mailing address has changed. Contact the National Passport Information Center. You do not need to contact them if your address changed after you received your passport.
Can a 2-month-old baby travel on a plane without a passport?
All U.S. citizens, including newborns, need a passport to travel by air overseas.
What happens if a infant doesn’t have a passport?
If you are traveling by land or sea internationally, a birth certificate should be sufficient to prove the baby’s identity. However, you will need a passport if you are traveling by air.
Do 2-year-olds need a passport?
Yes, they do need one.
How soon can a newborn get a passport?
You should apply for the infant passport as soon as they are born or within one year.
Do kids need passports?
Yes, they do.
How do babies get citizenship?
Children born on U.S. soil are automatically U.S. citizens.