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Passport Requirements for 16 and 17-Year-Olds

U.S. passport requirements for 16 and 17-year-olds are mostly the same as new passport requirements for adults, with a few additional considerations.

Minors aged 16 and 17 who possess their own identification can independently apply for a passport. 

However, it is recommended by Passport Services that at least one parent be present during the application process to verify the minor’s identity and demonstrate parental awareness. This can be achieved by:

  1. having a parent accompany the minor during the application process or 
  2. by providing a signed statement from at least one parent consenting to the issuance of the passport. 

If opting for the latter, a photocopy of the consenting parent’s ID should be included.

Additional Considerations

  • A passport may not be issued to a minor under the age of 18 if a parent or legal guardian with custodial rights over the minor has submitted written notification objecting to the issuance of the passport.
  • Policies may vary among Application Acceptance Agents. Some may allow minors aged 16 or 17 to apply without a parent present, while others may not.

    To be safe, be sure to contact the passport office where the application will be submitted to confirm their specific requirements.
  • Passports issued to minors aged 15 or younger cannot be renewed. As such, nearly all 16- and 17-year-olds must apply for a new passport, even if they already have one.

Expediting Passport Applications for 16- and 17-Year-Olds

When time is short and a 16- or 17-year-old need a U.S. passport fast, several options can speed up the process. Here are the most straightforward ways they can get their travel documents quickly:

  1. Standard Expedited Service: Apply for expedited processing by marking the ‘expedite’ box on the passport application form and paying an additional fee. This option reduces the processing time to about 2-3 weeks from the usual 6-8 weeks.
  2. Visit a Regional Passport Agency: If travel is scheduled within two weeks, or a foreign visa is required within four weeks, making an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency is a viable choice.

    Proof of imminent travel, such as an airline ticket or travel itinerary, will be necessary. Minors must appear in person, accompanied by a parent or guardian who can provide consent if not already implied on the application.

    Note that the requirement to appear in person can make this option both costly and inconvenient. There are only 26 regional agency locations across the entire United States. Depending on where you live, this method may mean additional travel time and expenses to get to the nearest agency with an available appointment.
  3. Private Expediting Services: These professional expediters help you through the entire passport application process and visit a regional passport agency on your behalf. They can often get a passport within a few days to a week. What’s more, they save you the hassle of having to make and attend a regional passport agency appointment on your own. While they do charge a fee, this is usually comparable if not less expensive than the costs of going through the entire process on your own.

    If you go this route (which we recommend if you are in a rush), it’s important to select a reputable service provider. Check out our Ultimate U.S. Traveler’s Guide to Passport Expediters to learn more or visit our directory of the top passport expediting services to get your application started now.

By following these steps, any 16- or 17-year-old can navigate the passport application process more smoothly and get their passport as quickly as they need it.

U.S. Passport Application Requirements for Minors Younger Than 16 

For all minors under the age of 16, please refer to the child passport requirements page.

Furthermore, visit our Passports for Minors page for answers to additional questions regarding passports for younger minors. There we share some of the most frequently asked questions we have answered from our readers on the subject.

FAQs about Passports for Minors Ages 16 and 17

This FAQ section focuses exclusively on questions from our readers about the passport application process for minors aged 16 and 17. This section provides a comprehensive understanding of the specific requirements and considerations for this age group.

Question: “Does a 17-year-old need both parents to apply for a U.S. passport?”

(Kimberly from Queens, NY, USA)

Answer: Not necessarily. Parents are not typically required to appear with 17-year-olds applying for a new passport. However, parental consent may be requested by the passport agent when you apply.

Note that many countries require unaccompanied minors to carry a notarized parental consent form. Check with the U.S. embassies for the places you plan to visit. The consent form should state that the minor’s parents grant permission for international travel. 

Be aware that current routine passport processing takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. You can request expedited services to get the passport in 2-3 weeks. The only way to get them faster is to visit a Regional Passport Agency or employ a professional passport expediting service.

Question: “Can a 17-year-old submit a passport as proof of citizenship?”

(David from Omaha, NE, USA)

Answer: No. Due to new regulations and security features that went into effect in 2007, passports issued to minors (age 15 or younger) before that time are not acceptable as evidence of U.S. citizenship when applying for a 10-year passport (age 16 and older). Unfortunately, this detail is not stated on the Department of State website.

Therefore, any applicant age 16 or older whose previous passport was issued before 2007 cannot submit that passport as evidence of U.S. citizenship. The minor must submit either a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Naturalization Certificate, or Certificate of Citizenship.

Question: “I am 16 years old and applying for a new passport. My mother will be writing a letter of consent for me. How should she write it? What information should she include?”

(Sierra from Bloomington, IN, USA)

Answer: Her statement should include your name, age, and birth date. It should state that she is aware that you are applying for a passport and that she gives consent. She should sign with her full name and provide a photocopy of her government-issued ID.

Question: “I’m 17 years old and I’m trying to get a passport by myself. I have a permit with a photo but no license. I have a parent’s note and my parent’s ID copied. Will my permit work?”

(Graham from Lawrenceville, VA, USA)

Answer: No. Your permit alone will not work. You need to provide a secondary ID such as your Social Security Card and your Learner’s Permit.

Question: “Can I get a U.S. passport if I am 16 and live with my parent who is not named on my birth certificate?”

(Janie from Memphis, TN, USA)

Answer: The parent listed on your birth certificate is required to accompany you to a passport application acceptance facility for you to obtain a passport.

However, if that parent is unable to be present, they must complete and notarize Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent or Special Circumstance for Minor’s Passport. This form should indicate consent for the parent who is not listed on your birth certificate to accompany you for the passport application.

After notarizing the consent form, the parent providing consent must send it along with a photocopy of their photo ID to the parent who will accompany you. The accompanying parent must then bring the consent form and photocopy of the consenting parent’s ID to the passport office.

In addition to these, you must submit a completed passport application form, an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, a recent passport photo, a copy of your photo ID, and the necessary fees.

Question: “My 16-year-old daughter needs a passport. Where can I get passport photos made and get the actual passport on a Saturday?”

(Ed from Melrose, MA, USA)

Answer: There is nowhere you can get a passport on Saturday if you mean that you want to receive the passport on the same day that you apply.

There are several passport application acceptance facilities where your daughter’s new passport application form and supporting documents can be submitted, many of which have operating hours for Saturdays and on-site photos. Since operating hours vary and some facilities require an appointment, we recommend you call the office first. 

Routine processing takes between 6 and 8 weeks to complete. You can request expedited service at the time you apply to get the passport in 2 to 3 weeks. If your daughter needs her passport faster, you need to schedule an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency or employ the services of a registered passport expediter.

Question: “Can a 16-year-old get a passport without a parent? My husband and I are out of the country. We sent our son back to the US before his passport expired. We sent him to renew or get a new one and they told him he needed his parents’ consent. I was under the impression that at 16 you did not need a parent. What can we do?”

(Cherise from Shawboro, NC, USA)

Answer: Minors aged 16 must establish parental consent when applying for a new passport. If consent is not implied on the application form, then it can be provided in written form or the presence of a parent. 

You can have the statement of consent form notarized at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate general. 

Question: “Can a 16-year-old get a passport without a parent? My husband and I recently brought my sister-in-law to live with us. My mother-in-law passed away 4 years ago in Mexico and my sister-in-law doesn’t have contact with her dad. What can we do to get her a passport since nobody ever became her legal guardian?

(Kerry from Rye Beach, NH, USA)

Answer: At 16, your sister-in-law will only need written or implied consent from a parent/legal guardian. This is under the condition that she can present her own ID issued by the U.S. government. Since her mother has already passed, she needs to get consent from her father. If this is not possible, your husband should petition for legal guardianship of the minor.

Question: “I am trying to renew my passport but currently I can’t because I do not have an ID and I need my father to sign. He passed away a couple of months ago in Mexico. I’m trying to be there for his memorial. I do not have a document confirming his death. I need that document to get my passport. I have dual nationality. Can I get my passport without the document confirming my father’s death?”

(Anton from Malaga, NM, USA)

Answer: At 17, you can apply for a passport with just one parent’s consent, as long as you have your own government-issued ID. If your mother/legal guardian is available, they can provide written or implied consent for you to obtain your U.S. passport.

However, if you don’t have an ID, your mother/legal guardian will need to be present when you submit your application. They will need to bring their own ID and sign the form on your behalf.

Question: “I am 16 years old, both of my parents are in Mexico and I’m currently living with my aunt who is my legal guardian. What do I need to do to get my passport without my parents? I want to go visit them.”

(Mac from Yuma, AZ, USA)

Answer: Your legal guardian may provide a statement of consent/awareness of the application plus a copy of the guardianship order. These must be submitted with the following:

1. Form DS-11

2. Your evidence of U.S. citizenship (original or certified copy plus photocopy)

3. Your government-issued photo ID (present the ID, submit a photocopy)

4. One new passport photo

5. Payment for fees

Question: “I’m currently 15 years old, but I’ll be turning 16 in May. Throughout the year, I plan to obtain my driver’s permit, State ID, and open a bank account. I live in California.

What kind of documentation would a parent need to provide to demonstrate consent? Is it possible for an undocumented parent to provide consent for a passport application? If an undocumented parent possesses a driver’s license and a bank account, would that be acceptable?

(Yuri from Santa Maria, CA, USA)

Answer: A parent can demonstrate consent or awareness by paying the passport fees (i.e., signing the check). A signed letter acknowledging the application can also serve as proof of consent.

Question: “Planning a Europe trip next June. My son’s passport card expires in January, and he turns 16 in April. Can we use his expired passport card to renew a 10-year passport book? Or should we renew his card while he’s still 15, knowing it will need renewal in 5 years? Essentially, can an expired passport card be used for a 16-year-old’s 10-year passport book renewal?”

(Tara from Ruth, NV, USA)

Answer: A passport issued when one was age 15 and younger cannot be renewed. Your son needs to submit a new application in person to get a 10-year validity passport. Please prepare the following requirements:

1. Form DS-11 (must be signed in front of a passport agent)

2. Evidence of U.S. citizenship plus photocopy

3. Proof of identity plus photocopy

4. One passport photo

5. Payment for fees

Appointments can be made here: http://usps.com/scheduler

Question: “I’m a 16-year-old US citizen stuck abroad due to my expired passport and my mom’s ongoing identity case. We tried renewing at the US embassy, but they refused without my mom’s ID. Can I renew my passport myself now, using my old passports and birth certificate, or must I wait for my mom’s case to resolve?”

(Keith from Springfield, GA, USA)

Answer: Minors aged 16 can appear without parents to apply for a passport. You must present the completed, unsigned Form DS-11 along with evidence of U.S. citizenship, proof of identity, photocopy of identification document, and one recent passport photo.

The passport official MAY request written consent from your parent(s) if it is not implied on the passport application. If a consent form is required, you face the same problems concerning your mother’s lack of acceptable identification.

Question: “I’m 17 trying to get a passport for a trip! My dad has no time to go to the post office because of work. I was wondering how you would prove the consent to the people working there.”

(Ben from Chillicothe, OH, USA)

Answer: The consent can be implied by your dad writing the check for the passport fees. He can also provide a letter of consent (does not need to be notarized) plus a photocopy of his ID.

Question: “Does my daughter need her father’s consent to renew her passport? Does she need to apply in person and does he have to be with her? She is 16 years old. We are traveling to Costa Rica on June 23rd. She has her old passport which expired last May. We completed DS-11 and have passport pictures. I would like to apply for the expedited service. I would like to set up an appointment ASAP.”

(Julie from North Wales, PA, USA)

Answer: Yes, your daughter needs to apply in person. Besides the completed Form DS-11 and passport photo, your daughter needs to present evidence of citizenship (most recent passport) and photo ID (driver’s license). She also needs to submit a photocopy of the identification document.

Concerning consent, the U.S. Department of State states that minors aged 16 and 17 must “establish parental consent.” They go on to state that written consent may be requested if it is not implied on the application.

There are 2 ways to expedite the passport:

  1. You can make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency that serves the state where she resides. 

Note: the agency only attends to American citizens whose departure date is within 2 weeks. 

  1. Another way to get an expedited passport is to authorize a professional expediter to submit the application for your daughter. If you choose to use an expediting service, your daughter will still have to appear at a nearby passport application acceptance facility so that an authorized agent can take her oath and witness the signing of the application.

Question: “The mother is the designated custodian of a 16-year-old. Can the 16-year-old get a passport without the father’s permission? Can a 16-year-old travel abroad without the father’s permission?”

(Gayle from Seattle, WA, USA)

Answer: If the mother has sole legal custody, the father’s consent is not required for the minor’s passport application. However, if custody is shared, the other parent’s consent may be necessary.

For minors aged 15 and under, notarized parental consent from the non-applying parent is required. 

For minors aged 16 and 17, written parental consent may be requested if it’s not implied in the application.

The agent handling the minor’s passport application will advise whether a parental consent form needs to be submitted. It’s important to note that Canada is the only destination outside the United States where a minor can travel without the non-primary care parent’s consent. For all other international destinations, consent from the non-primary care parent is required.

Question: “I want to take my 16-year-old son to Turks and Caicos. He will have a US Passport. His father and I have joint custody. Will my son need his father’s written permission for this trip?”

(Meredith from South Wilmington, IL, USA)

Answer: Yes, your son may need notarized consent from his father to travel to Turks and Caicos.

Question: “My son is 17 and has his own passport. I am the custodial parent. Is taking a cruise that has stops in Mexico. OK without a letter from the other parent?”

(Hunter from Walton, IN, USA)

Answer: A signed consent letter from the other parent is recommended but not required.

Question: “I am in the middle of a divorce and I have 2 children between the ages of 16 and 17. Do I need legal consent from my ex-husband when I take them to Asia for 2 weeks? What is the minimum age that they can travel internationally without their father’s approval?”

(Judy from Omro, WI, USA)

Answer: The answer depends on each country’s requirements. You will need to contact the embassy/consulate of each country you are visiting to inquire about minors traveling without one custodial parent.

Generally, consent is required from the non-traveling parent to avoid international parental child abduction. To be safe, we recommend getting notarized consent to travel from the father.

Question: “My son’s passport was issued when he was 11. He is now 16. Can I renew that passport or do I now apply for a passport for him as an adult?”

(Cleo from Cheyenne, WY, USA)

Answer: At age 16, your son will apply for a new passport in the same manner as adults do with the following considerations:

  • Appear in person at the time of application
  • Have a parent or guardian present photo identification IF the minor does not have identification of his or her own
  • Provide a photocopy of the same ID document that will be presented at the time of application (applicant or parent/guardian).
  • Establish parental consent (You may be requested to provide written parental consent for a child age 16 or 17 IF it is not implied on the application)

Question: “My son was 12 when he got his passport. It will expire in May next year. He is now 17; does he need to apply for a completely new one?”

(Sam from Castle Valley, UT, USA)

Answer: Passports issued to minors cannot be renewed. Your son must apply for a new passport using application form DS-11.

He should complete the form but wait to sign until requested to do so by an agent at a passport application acceptance facility.

He also needs to present proof of citizenship, proof of identity, a copy of his ID, and one current passport photo. He may also be asked to provide written parental consent using Form DS-3053. Finally, he should make payment for fees.

The State Department encourages passport holders to apply for a new passport approximately 9 months before the expiration date. Routine processing takes 6 to 8 weeks. Expedited services take 2 to 3 weeks. 

Question: “My 16-year-old just received her passport. It’s only valid for 5 years. Why not 10?”

(L.P. from Sicklerville, NJ, USA)

Answer: Passports issued to citizens age 16 or older should be valid for 10 years. Please submit the passport for correction. Please call customer service at 1-877-487-2778 for more information.

Question: “I’m 16 and my dad who doesn’t have custody is trying to get me a passport and leave the country with me. Can he do this? I live in New York.”

(Reema from Valley Cottage, NY, USA)

Answer: At 16, you will only need one parent’s consent (implied will do) to get a passport. Your dad may write you a check for the passport fees and give you a signed letter stating consent for the passport application.

You need the following for the passport application:

1. Form DS-11

2. Evidence of U.S. citizenship (original or certified copy)

3. Your own government-issued photo ID (present original, submit a photocopy)

4. One new passport photo

5. Payment for fees

As for leaving the country with the non-custodial parent, you will have to check the custody orders issued by the courts. Consent from the custodial parent may be required for you to leave the United States.

Question: “Would it be better to wait until a 15-year-old turns 16 to get their passport?”

(Allen from Youngstown, OH, USA)

Answer: Regardless of whether they are 15 or 16, they must submit Form DS-11 and supporting documents at a passport application acceptance facility

At 15, both parents must be present with IDs and relationship evidence. At 16, only one parent’s presence is needed. 

Passports for 15-year-olds are valid for 5 years and require in-person renewal, while 16-year-olds get a 10-year passport that can be renewed by mail. 

The application fee is $100 for 15-year-olds and $130 for 16-year-olds. 
If you wait until they’re 16, expedited service for $60 may be needed for timely travel document processing.

Question: “Can my daughter, who turns 16 in mid-January, apply for her passport in late December or early January (when she’s 15 years and 11.5 months old) and still receive a 10-year passport, given that she’ll be 16 when the passport is issued?

Or should we wait until she turns 16 to apply for the 10-year passport? Does the difference of a few weeks matter? We’re concerned about the timing due to an upcoming school trip.”

(Brett from Marshfield, MO, USA)

Answer: No. The applicant must be 16 years old at the time the application is submitted to be issued a 10-year passport. Applying before she turns 16 will result in the issuance of a 5-year minor passport.

If you’re worried about timing, you may opt for expedited service.

Question: “Can I get a passport when I’m 15 and still use it when I turn 16 in a month after getting it?”

(Harper from North Haven, CT, USA)

Answer: Yes, you can. However, your passport will be considered a minor’s passport, which is only valid for 5 years instead of the 10 years issued to individuals aged 16 and older.

Question: “My son obtained his passport when he was 15. I signed the passport according to the minor rules. Now that he is 16 should he sign the passport? If he should sign it, where should he sign it?”

(Jennifer C. from Allentown, PA, USA)

Answer: You may leave the signature as it is.

Question: “Is a passport renewed at age 15 valid until its 5-year expiration date, and would the subsequent passport be valid for 10 years and eligible for mail renewal? Is there any need to apply for a new passport when a child turns 16?”

(Tariq from Canton, OH, USA)

Answer:  If the passport is issued at age 15, the passport will be valid until the child is 20. After that, they will need to apply for an adult passport which can be renewed by mail 10 years later.

At 16, a minor has to apply for an adult passport, which will expire when they turn 26.

Question: “Does a 17-year-old need both parents’ consent to be issued a passport?”

(Jared from Stevensburg, VA, USA)

Answer: Although the U.S. Department of State mandates parental consent for passport applicants aged 16 and 17, the website mentions that ‘written parental consent may be requested for a child aged 16 or 17 if it is not implied on the application.’ 

However, the website does not specify how to imply consent on the application form. It has been suggested that consent is implied if the minor uses a parent’s check to pay the fees. This area seems to lack consistency in its handling. 

Generally, a 17-year-old can apply for a new passport without a parent present.

Question: “My parents are divorced and I live with my mom. My dad just applied for a passport for me and he is insisting he keep it but I’m 17 and I want my mom to have it until I turn 18. Does he have to give it to me or is he allowed to keep it?”

(Aaron from Tyler, TX, USA)

Answer: Your father can keep it. But since you are already 17, the Department of State allows you to apply for your own passport and have your mother provide the statement of awareness of the application. Once you submit your application, the passport in your father’s possession will be invalidated.

Question: “I’m 17 and my mother married my American stepfather when I was 6. He passed away in 2021. Currently, my mother is applying for a widow visa. My brothers hold American passports. Am I eligible to obtain an American passport as well? Can I accompany them on their travels to the USA?”

(Tana from Haven, KS, USA)

Answer: Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for an American passport. If your stepdad legally adopted you, you might be granted citizenship upon entry to the United States.

However, if you weren’t adopted, you can still visit the U.S. using a foreign passport and the correct visa.

For more information on citizenship and travel to the U.S., it’s best to reach out to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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