Renewing a child’s passport is a little more complicated than that of a regular passport for anybody over the age of 18. The reason for this stems from child abduction laws. The heightened security is to protect the child since if it was possible to easily obtain a new passport; an abducted child would easily assume a new name and never be found. These laws have made it much safer, but also at the same time a little more time consuming.
Based on the fact that renewal is for the protection of the child, when they need their passport renewed, it must be done with the parent present, in person. It cannot be done online or through the mail for minors under the age of 16. Any child under the age of 16 must have a parental consent form filled in addition.
The first thing that you need to do is fill out the DS-11 from the official website. This is the actual application for the child’s passport and should be completed by hand. You should not sign the application until you have been told that it is ok by an Acceptance Agent when you arrive in person. After that, it is expected of you to have ready your social security number for the child. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your requests will be delayed and even denied.
Once the DS-11 form has been completely filled out, you will have to provide evidence that the child is a citizen of the United States. You may use previously issued passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate, adoption decree, a court order that claims custody, a court order that claims guardianship, or a report of a birth abroad.
Unlike an adult passport, a child’s passport cannot use secondary evidence as much a regular adult passport. There are a lot of reasons behind this, but the main one being that since children grow so quickly, it would be a huge inconvenience to those looking at the passport to see a 4 year old photo of an 8 year old. When it comes to the photo, it must be a 2×2 that was taken in the last 6 months. This is very important since children grow so quickly it cannot be an old photo at all.
If the child has a mother and father, both parents either must be present during the passport issuing, or the second parent must have a notarized document signed that states that they approve the passport for their child along with the DS-11 signed form.
If there is one parent that has sole legal custody, there are a lot of different ways that you can claim that you are the single holder of custody of the child. One of the easiest ways is going to be providing your Adoption decree, which should have been given to you when you first legally to custody of him or her. Remember that there are actually other ways too, but since most people are going to have the adoption decree, this is easily the most practical for all people.
The final part is the fee itself. The fee is $95 for the book and card plus the $25 execution/processing fee. If you just want the passport or the card it will be $80 or $15 respectively. Payments accepted are Credit Cards, checks, Money orders/Cashier’s checks, bank drafts and debit cards. Some facilities accept cash payments, but ensure that you have a backup just in case. No cash payment through the mail.