How to Get Your Kid a Passport in 7 Steps



We’re attempting to plan a family trip abroad so I figured I’d share what I’ve learned about how to get your kid a passport. Before you know it, he or she will be a little jet setting, globe trotting, global citizen. It’s a little bit of process, so do it before you have a trip planned. (Unlike me)  It can take up to 8 weeks for the whole process, unless you shell out beaucoup bucks for expediting. Even then, it’s hard to guarantee anything less than 3 weeks altogether if you don’t have a spare certified copy of your child’s birth certificate lying around. I tried to make this as painless and simple as possible so that you can get on to the fun part…trip planning…and not get too bogged down with the minutiae of bureaucracy. Get organized, stay focused and, like my dad likes to say, “hurry up and wait!” Ha.

What you need:

  • computer
  • printer
  • scanner or fax machine
  • certified copy of your child’s birth certificate
  • both parent’s driver’s licenses
  • passport photos of your kiddo

Now for the detailed instructions:

1. If you don’t have a spare certified copy of your kiddo’s birth certificate, order one by clicking here and it’ll take up to 2 weeks to receive it. Each copy is $8 plus shipping, and more for expediting. Save your receipt with your order and PIN number

To complete your online order:

  • upload a printed and singed authorization form, available on the last screen of your online order. I printed it, signed it, took a photo of it, and then converted the photo to a pdf in photoshop. Done!
  • upload a copy of your own photo ID; either a passport or driver’s license works. I took photos of the front and back and then used photoshop to put them into one image, flattened and saved as a jpg.
  • that these docs should be 300dpi or under and no bigger than 10MB each

2. While you wait for the birth certificate, get a passport photo.Go to the local passport photo shop or take one at home. See the official guide to child passport photos  for examples

  • photo should be 2”x2” with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4”
  • full face must be visible and free of shadows
  • neutral expression; eyes clearly visible
  • it is ok if newborns’ eyes are not entirely open
  • no hats, uniforms, or head coverings may be worn, except for religious purposes
  • reproduce skin tones accurately, and is properly exposed with no shadows
  • background is plain white or off-white, no shadows
  • face should be clearly in focus, and no visible pixels or printer dots
  • no other person is in the photo

3. Print the DS-11 Passport Request Form and fill it out

  • check the BOTH box to order a passport book and a passport card at the same time. The card can act as your munchkin’s photo ID and is a great back-up if anything happens to the passport.

Now, you might be thinking that you’re all set! Well, almost. Now, you need to file the thing; which is slightly more complicated than filing your own

4. find your local passport acceptance office (usually the post office) and note the passport application hours. Sometimes they’re different than the general post office hours. You CANNOT mail in a passport application for minors.

5. hustle your babe and both of his/her parents* to the office with:

  • the filled out and signed application
  • Babe’s passport photos
  • Babe’s certified birth certificate that states that you both are his/her parents
  • both of your driver’s licenses

6. pay the $95 application fee + $25 execution fee to process your application

  • to expedite it costs more and you may even need to make an appointment at a special office

7. wait the 4-6 weeks to receive the passport and then book your trip!

Bon Boyage!

* If only one parent can go do this there is a form (DS-3053) that the absent parent can fill out, sign and get notarized. And, you still need a copy of his/her Driver’s License as well. Of course, if there are other circumstances like death or sole authority or other detail of the second parent’s unavailability, see the passport website for more details on how to proceed.

To see all of these details and a LOT more, visit the official Passports for Minors website

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  1. Bianca
    April 7, 2015 at 1:49 PM — Reply

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting together all of this useful info! It saves us busy mommas a ton of time!!

    • April 7, 2015 at 4:14 PM — Reply

      Happy to help, mama! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 Let us know if there’s ever anything else that we can research for ya!

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