You’re ready to set off on your first family vacation, but you can’t get far without adding a new member to the family: a baby passport. The process is no different than applying for one as an adult, except of course, that you’ll need proof of the baby’s birth and relationship to his or her parents. it’s important to know exactly what steps you need to take in order to ensure that your application goes smoothly and your baby has the proper documentation on hand before leaving home or traveling abroad.
This guide covers everything you need to know about applying for a passport for your baby, from where and how to apply to tips on choosing an appropriate passport photo that the U.S. State Department will accept.
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Gather the required documents
You will need to gather the following documents:
- The completed passport application form, which you can find online or at your local post office. (Note: You can also download a copy of the passport application form.)
- Evidence of citizenship (a birth certificate or naturalization certificate). If one parent is not available, you may need to provide evidence of custody or guardianship instead.
- A completed DS-11 affidavit for being age 16 years or younger and applying for a passport in person together with both parents’ photos and signatures. Suppose only one parent is present with their child during their appointment. In that case, that parent must provide written consent from the absent parent before proceeding with the application process.
- Proof of identification for each applicant age 16 years or older (e.g., driver license, state identification card). If an applicant does not have an acceptable photo ID document on file with Passport Services, they must submit photo ID documentation when completing their application.
Complete Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport
To apply for a passport for your baby, you will need to fill out the Form DS-11, a U.S. passport application. This form is available online and at many local post offices. You can also get the form at one of the thousands of passport agencies in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. A list of locations where you can obtain a copy of Form DS-11 is available here.
If you’re applying in person at an acceptance facility, bring proof that your child was born within the last five years (hospital certificate) and proof that you are the parent (birth certificate or other legal documents). If you have not yet received these documents, bring two proofs of citizenship such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate along with evidence proving familial relationship between yourself and your child such as marriage license or custody papers). The applicant must appear in person to sign his or her application; minors cannot sign on behalf of their parents unless both parents give permission beforehand by completing Section 6c on page 2 of Form DS-11.
Get Acknowledgement Slip
If you can’t find an acknowledgment slip in your version of paperwork, fill out and print an Acknowledgement Slip Template. Fill out information such as your name, date, department, and address. Make sure that you sign it. Print at least two copies of each form on plain white paper (8 1/2 x 11 inches) or on blank pages of your notebook.
Submit your documents, application and payment in person at an Acceptance Facility or a Passport Agency
- You can submit your application in person at an acceptance facility or a Passport Agency. There are over 1,000 passport agencies located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
- If you choose to mail your application, it must be postmarked by the due date listed on your DS-11 form. Once you have sent your application, you cannot cancel it and resubmit it at another time. After sending in a passport request, the only way to change your mind is to file a new application with all required documents and fees through Passport Services again. When mailing either type of document (acceptance letter or passport), please use sufficient postage such as First Class Mail (with tracking) or Priority Mail. You cannot submit any baby’s birth certificate by email because there is no way for us to verify its authenticity without holding the original in our hands! Any document mailed via regular mail should be sent using certified delivery service rather than regular post office mail.”
Check your estimated wait time for a new passport.
To check on your estimated wait time for a new passport, visit the State Department website and click on “Passport Services.” You’ll find links to several documents related to passport applications on that page. Scroll down until you see one with an “Estimated Wait Time” header; that’s what you need. Next to each of these document titles, there is an option labeled “View Document.” Click on this link and choose which document(s) you’d like to view. At the bottom of each document there should be instructions for viewing its contents; make sure that they match up with what was printed on your mailing envelope when it was sent out from the State Department office where your application was processed (more about this below).
If your estimated wait time seems too long for whatever reason—maybe because it’s summer vacation season or because you have a trip coming up soon—you have several options available: You can pay extra money for expedited service; go in person at a passport agency; apply via mail instead of online, or request that another adult submit their own application as proof of identity so they can take care of getting passports issued on behalf of any children under age 16 who want one too but aren’t eligible yet due to age requirements.
Getting a passport for an infant is no different than applying for one as an adult.
The application process for a passport for your infant is the same as that of an adult, no matter his or her age. If you have children younger than 16 who have never been issued a U.S. passport before, they must appear in person with at least one parent or legal guardian while applying for their first passport. In addition to submitting the correct documentation to apply for a new passport, you’ll also need to pay an application fee and submit two 2×2 inch photographs of your child (or other family member.) The photos should show your kid’s face clearly, with no hats or sunglasses obscuring their eyes or face.
Now that you understand the basic process for applying a passport for your baby, I hope that you will be able to figure out how to tackle this task on your own. As long as you can gather all of the necessary documentation, send in all of the right forms, and meet all of the prescribed deadlines, your child should receive his or her passport promptly. And after all of that wait time, it will be totally worth it!