Until recently, I didn’t realize that getting a baby passport could be such a stressful process. My toddler had his passport application in at 2-months old and we received it soon after (getting his ss# was much harder). It seems this isn’t always the case, however. A friend recently recounted the 2-week long ordeal her family went through to secure her newborn’s passport. Because of her story, I did some research and realized getting a baby passport can be trickier than getting an adult passport.
My baby is still an infant. Does she even really need a passport to travel internationally?
The short answer is… Yes. It doesn’t matter if your ‘baby’ is in elementary school, is still a lap child, or is just a 2-week old newborn, all US citizens are required to have an up-to-date passport for international flights. There are some exceptions for land traveling across borders with minors but for international flights, passports are mandatory for all.
Luckily, there are thousands of places you can start the process for getting a baby passport. These include passport offices, government offices, libraries, post offices and courts. Just do a quick internet search to find the passport facility that’s closest to you.
Here are some tips for getting a baby passport.
1) As with most passports, you should start getting a baby passport application as soon as possible.
It’s recommended to start several months before a planned trip or you will end up paying extra ‘expedite’ charges. Don’t worry though, getting a baby passport can be started before they get their social security number. You’ll just fill-in those blanks with 000-00-000.
2) Gather all required documents and fees in advance, and put them in a single folder.
All first time passport applicants must apply in person and it is ideal for mom, dad and baby to all show up. If this is not possible, the absent parent will need to sign notarized consent forms that allows the present parent to complete the application process on their behalf. You will need:
- Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
- Evidence of Parental Relationship
- Photo Identification of Parent
- Parental Consent Forms
- Passport Photo
- Application Forms
- Passport Fees
3) Getting a baby passport photo may require some extra thought.
Something that is so simple for an adult or older kid can become a pain when a baby is not yet able to sit up on their own. We recommend that you either look for a passport photo office that specializes in infant passport photos (they’ll have a special chair) or go to Kinko’s type place that has white poster board and a creative photographer. The poster board strategy worked for us as the photographer just laid my 2-month old down on it, stood over him, and took the shot. LoL It was so simple and quick like this… why don’t they all do that?!
4) If you are planning to travel as a solo parent with your child…
A parent who plans to travel ‘alone’ with their child or a non-parental caregiver will need to take extra steps to prove they have the right to transport a child across borders. It is best to have a formal and notarized Permission to Travel (aka Statement of Consent), to take your child out of the country without the 2nd parent. Depending on your situation, however, other documents will work, such as proof of court appointed custody or proof of the 2nd parent being deceased, and so on.
5) During this time, you should also make sure your destination does not require a special Visa for entry. Sometimes entry requirements change so make sure your info is up-to-date.
The key is preparing yourself mentally and making sure you have all required documents, photos, and fees in hand before you get in the long line at a passport agency. And don’t assume all agencies will take a baby’s passport photo. It’s common to be turned away if the photo is slightly off, if your money order isn’t the right amount or if you don’t have the correct docs in hand. Avoid these mistakes and maybe you’ll end up getting your baby’s passport with a stress-free experience.
Have you had any problems getting a baby passport? Did we forget some good tips? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!