Navigating the process of obtaining a passport for an infant can seem daunting, but it’s the only way you can travel internationally with your little one. However, if you know what to do, getting an infant passport doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming.
From understanding the specific requirements to preparing the necessary documentation, we’ll cover all you need to know to ensure a smooth application process.
Making things even easier, see the experience first-hand as we follow two new parents as they get a passport for their weeks’ old son. Watch how they follow each step and are able to get their baby the passport he needs in time for a trip abroad.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation or visiting relatives abroad, securing your infant’s passport is a key part of your travel preparations. This guide will help you be sure you’re doing it the right way.
Baby Dylan’s Passport Journey
Recently, we joined parents, Justin and Elba, as they worked through getting a passport for their baby, Dylan. They graciously allowed us to film the entire process to help parents like you get the travel documents you need for your little ones.
Justin and Elba were well prepared for the infant passport process. They discussed up front that they did not want to risk not getting Dylan’s passport on time. They knew that a missing document, incorrect photo, or other application error could lead to delays or denied applications.
In the video below, we share what they learned as they navigated each of the steps of the process including:
- Gathering the correct documentation
- Scheduling a passport appointment
- Getting passport photos taken
- Navigating the passport application appointment
- Paying the correct passport fees
- Tracking the passport application status
- Receiving the new passport
Ready to get a passport for your baby? Follow our expert advice below based on over 20 years helping readers like you with their passport questions. You can ensure your infant passport experience goes just as smoothly as baby Dylan’s.
Eligibility Criteria for an Infant’s Passport
To apply for a passport in the United States, a child must be a U.S. citizen. The parents will follow the process for getting a passport for a minor under the age of 16. The application process differs slightly from adults, with added requirements to prove the child’s citizenship and the parental relationship.
Just like getting a passport for any child 15 years or younger, a minor’s passport application can also be expedited. If you need to get a passport for an infant quickly, check out our complete guide to expediting a minor’s passport for a full, step-by-step walkthrough of the process.
Each of these guides is regularly updated to ensure they correspond to the latest rules and regulations from the U.S. Department of State.
Required Documents to Get a Passport for a Baby
When applying for an infant’s passport (or any child), you’ll need several key documents:
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship: This can be the child’s birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Naturalization Certificate.
- Proof of Parental Relationship: Documents such as the child’s birth certificate or adoption decree that list the names of the parents establish this relationship.
- Parental Identification: Parents or guardians must present valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Passport Photo: A photo of the infant that meets specific State Department guidelines.
- DS-11 Application Form: This form must be filled out but not signed until instructed by a passport acceptance agent.
Each of these documents plays a crucial role in verifying the identity and eligibility of the infant for a U.S. passport. For more detailed information, please refer to our complete, step-by-step guide to getting a passport for a minor.
Passport Photo Guidelines for Infants
Anyone who needs a new passport must submit an acceptable passport photo. However, taking a passport photo of an infant requires patience and attention to detail. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Here are some tips to get the perfect baby passport photo:
- Positioning: Lay the infant on a white blanket or sheet to achieve a clear, white background. Ensure your baby’s head is centered and not tilted. You can use a car seat covered in a white sheet to help, if need be.
- Facial Expression: The infant’s face should be visible and not covered by objects or hands. Any pacifiers, bottles, food, or toys must all be out of the frame of the picture. While a neutral expression is ideal, it’s usually acceptable if your infant is not looking directly at the camera.
- Lighting: Use natural light if possible. This can help avoid shadows and ensure the photo is clear.
If you’re struggling with the DIY passport photo approach, most locations that offer passport photos near you will be able to help facilitate getting the perfect shot for your baby’s passport. For example, Baby Dylan’s passport photo was taken at a CVS and accepted with his application.
Tips for Completing the DS-11 Application Form
When filling out the DS-11 form for an infant passport:
- Personal Information: Fill in the infant’s full name, date of birth, place of birth, and other personal details.
- Parental Information: Include details of both parents or legal guardians.
- Additional Details: Answer questions related to travel plans, previous passports, and other relevant information.
- Signature: Remember, do not sign the form until instructed to do so by a passport acceptance agent.
If you run into any issues filling out your form, consult our detailed guide for filling out Form DS-11: Application for a New Passport.
Scheduling and Preparing for the Appointment
When preparing for the appointment:
- Bring all necessary documents, including the completed DS-11 form, citizenship evidence, parental IDs, and passport photos.
- Both parents or guardians should accompany the infant
- If one or more legal guardians cannot accompany the infant, provide a notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent or Special Circumstance for Minor’s Passport.
Fees and Processing Time for a Baby’s Passport
How Much an Infant Passport Costs
The fee for an infant passport (or any minor passport) varies and is subject to change, so it’s important to check the most current fee structure on the U.S. Department of State’s official website or by visiting our guide to passport fees.
The current passport fees for a minor passport are:
- A passport book for a minor – $135 (this includes the $100 application fee and the $35 execution fee)
- A passport card for a minor – $50 (this includes the $15 application fee and the $35 execution fee)
- Both a passport book and a passport card for a minor – $150 (You only have to pay the execution fee one time)
How Long a Passport for an Infant Takes
The routine passport processing time also fluctuates, but expedited services are available for an additional fee (currently $60) if you need the passport sooner. If you need a passport expedited, you should also plan to pay an additional fee for 1-2 day delivery (currently $19.53).
If you are in a rush, consider hiring a passport expediting service to help. These passport professionals can help guide you, personally, through the entire passport application process. They are able to help get you the travel documents you need as fast as possible – in some cases as quickly as 24 hours.
To learn more about what these experts can and cannot do to help you get a passport fast, visit our Ultimate U.S. Traveler’s Guide to Passport Expediters.
When applying for an infant passport in special circumstances, such as with only one parent or for children of divorced parents, there are specific guidelines to follow:
- Single Parent Applications: If one parent is unable to attend, they must provide a notarized statement of consent (Form DS-3053) along with a copy of their ID.
- Divorced Parents: If you have sole legal custody, documentation proving this (like a court order) must be presented. In joint custody cases, consent from both parents is still required.
These situations require additional documentation to ensure the child’s safety and adherence to legal requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Infant Passports
Question: Can I apply for my infant’s passport by mail?
No, infant passport applications must be submitted in person.
Question: Do both parents need to be present for the passport application?
Yes, both parents are required to appear, or the absent parent must provide notarized consent.
Question: How do I renew my child’s passport?
Children’s passports cannot be renewed. A new application is required upon expiration.
Question: Do I need a separate appointment for each child?
No, you can apply for passports for multiple children in a single appointment.
Question: How long does the infant passport process take?
Typically, regular processing takes 6-8 weeks, with expedited options available for faster service (currently 2-3 weeks).
Check our page, How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport? for the latest processing times for routine and expedited service. If you need a passport faster than 2 weeks, we recommend getting help from a passport expediting service.
Question: What if my child’s appearance changes?
If there’s a significant change, updated photos are required.
For more detailed information and answers to other questions about passports for an infant, toddler, or any child under the age of 16, visit our full guide to getting passports for children.
Your Baby’s Journey Awaits!
As we finish this deep dive into getting a passport for your child, remember that the key to a smooth application process is preparation and attention to detail.
Whether it’s your first time traveling with your little one or you’re a seasoned traveler, having the correct travel documentation is crucial.
If you’re in a hurry and need to get a passport for your child (or anyone else) quickly, do not delay. Visit our step-by-step guide to getting a new passport fast.