Laws regarding obtaining a baby passport are more complicated than obtaining one for an adult. A child (minor) is considered anyone under the age of 18 and unmarried. Their passport is only good for five years compared to ten years for an adult. Because of problems over child custody, which resulted in children being taken out of the country without a parents consent, strict laws have been passed regarding issuing children’s’ passports.
For a child to obtain a passport, they must appear, in person, with a parent or someone authorized as a replacement for the parent. An application cannot be made over the Internet, but must be made at a post office, county clerk or municipal offices. These are called acceptance agents. All children, including newborns and infants, must possess a passport if leaving the country.
Sometimes people are employed overseas or are vacationing when a child is born. That child cannot stay in that country nor return to the United States with their parents without a U.S. passports. In such a case, the parents have to apply at a US Embassy or Consulate to put in an application for the document. The basic requirements are the same, including the parents’ identification as citizens.
Because of some well publicized instances of child abduction by unauthorized parents, a law was passed in 2001 called the two-parent consent law. Under this law, both parents or guardians must sign for a child to receive this document. They both must present proof that they are the actual parents. Under some circumstances, there are other arrangements.
If one parent is applying, they have to present applicable evidence to show that they have legal rights to apply for the passport on the part of the child. There are a number of exceptions to the law that can be applied. At the time of application, the child’s birth certificate must be shown, as well as photo identification of the parent.
Children under the ages of 16 and 17 must be present to apply for a passport; they cannot apply over the Internet. They must be accompanied by one or both parents and the same two-parent law is enacted. If they are adopted, the adoptive parents must bring proof of guardianship. Guardians such as grandparents are allowed to sign, but only if they have the papers to prove it.
When there is a custody dispute, or at the request of one of the parents, a state court may take possession of a child’s passport in order to be sure they are not removed from the country. A parent has the right to request the child’s name be put on an alert list. This means that the parent would be informed if an application for the passport were filed. If the complaining parent had sole custody, the passport would be denied.
The acceptance agents require certain documents to be presented at the time of the babies passport application is made. They include the child’s original or certified birth certificate or naturalization papers, the parents’ identification, two pictures taken by the passport photographer and proof of the parents or legal guardian’s relationship.