There are not many things more valuable than giving one's child the world. When parents decide to embark on that task, the first step is usually to get them a passport. But who knew just how much goes into getting a passport for a little person? The endless forms and formalities are only part of the process but do not fret, luckily we at Moms understand how important travel can be for families. So we have compiled a list of things some moms may not know about kids and passports. Ready to board? Read this list first.
10 New Passport Every Five Years
If a kid is under 16 years old, he or she is required to get an updated passport every five years. This may come as a surprise to some parents since typically adults get 10 years validity for passports.
The good thing is, one can usually keep their old passport, and with it the adorable photo. Think of how great it's going to be looking at your little one grow every five years through passport photos, not to mention the stories you can tell about all the stamps from all the exciting places you two will go.
9 Need Parental Permission For Solo Travel
If mom wants to take her little one out of the country, even if the baby already has a passport, parental consent to exit the country is required from the other parent. This is unless only one parent was listed on the child's birth certificate.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, consent can be as simple as a written letter, "The adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with (family), a note signed by both parents) stating 'I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission.'"
8 In-Person Only
Unlike adults, children are required to be present at the facility when applying for a passport. Unfortunately, there is no mail-in option available for minor passports. This is really a security feature that is put in place to protect parents and children.
This way, people can't make fake passports of kids and do dangerous things like take them across borders without their parent's permission. Just think of it like this: a passport application will be a good opportunity to go on a trip with the little one.
7 Parental Consent For Applications
If both parents can't show up to apply for a child's passport application in person, parental consent for the passport is required. Travel.state.gov offers a lot of forms for parents who need to file for their child's passport.
It's understandable that parents can be busy, and getting them together during business hours on the same day can be a bit of a pain. Luckily with just a little bit more paperwork, your family will be one step closer to traveling the open sky or sea.
6 Parents Need ID Too
Parents need to prove who they are, that they are indeed legal guardian over the child they are applying for a passport in order to do this parents need proper identification. Just a drivers license or a birth certificate will suffice. This is yet another security feature put in place to protect children and their families. The paperwork is also put in place to make sure that all applicants are indeed citizens since it's impossible to apply for a passport if one is not a citizen. Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport that can be expired is also a valid form of proof of citizenship.
5 No Passport, No Boarding
It may sound strange to need a passport for such a small child, say if your little one is under a year old, but you do for international flights. Even if you wish to travel with a newborn you still need a passport for him or her. It can be a bit complicated to sort through all the paperwork, like the birth certificate, especially since it typically takes a few weeks for that to come out, but when it does taking that and all the paperwork to the location of your choice to get your little one his or her passport.
4 The Carseat Photo
So, just how does one take a "valid" passport photo of a baby anyway? Photos with a hand propping up the baby will be rejected, photos with a shadow near the baby's head will be rejected too. The solution? Drape a white sheet in the baby's car seat prop your little one up there and take the photo. Parents could also take the very smart and experimental option of draping a white sheet over themselves. Your little one may actually stay calmer and feel even more comfortable if you hold them.
3 The Name Game
Whether you are applying for your little one or have already received your baby's passport if you have a different last name than your little one and are traveling with him or her, you need to prove that you are the parental guardian since his or her passport or application will not show your last name.
Birth certificates are acceptable forms of proof. It can be very difficult for parents who are unmarried or those who choose to keep their birth name after marriage. But, not to worry, as long as your name is featured on your child's birth certificate or you have martial or divorce certificates to prove your name change, it will be accepted.
2 No Renewal
Unlike adults, minors have to reapply all over again, every 5 years, there really isn't a renewal option with lesser fees or less paperwork. For adults, renewal is usually pretty easy. But since each child under 16 is treated as a minor, new application, in-person are essential. The application every five years isn't something that you can avoid, and if things change in a parents life before that time, just remember that the paperwork regarding name, address, or citizenship change is required and that every time you file it should get easier to fill out and to complete for more travel.
1 Online Check-In? Think Again
Depending on the airline, the flight agents may need to verify your child's passport information at the service desk before issuing a boarding pass, this could also be the case if you need a bassinet for your little one. This means that online check-in options are hit or miss and depend on the airline.
Take care to call in advance to see whether if you can check-in online. This will save parents time and possibly a bit of money, but bassinets are only available in person at the airport. Regardless of how you try to travel if it's with a little one, try to make sure you budget enough time to get to the gate and then some.