The Complications Of A Passport For Kids

by erin on April 26, 2010

Because of incidents where children were abducted by a parent and taken overseas, the laws regarding obtaining a passport for kids are quite strict. The law reads that “an adult acting on a child’s behalf, comply with all applicable requirements”. While an adult’s passport is good for ten years, a minor’s passport is only valid for five years. A child (minor) is defined as an unmarried person under the age of eighteen.

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.

If a child is born to United States citizens while vacationing or living abroad they must ask for a passport at a U. S. Embassy or Consulate in that country. They face the same requirements as if they were applying in the United States. They must show proof of their citizenship and comply with the two-parent consent law.

The two-parent consent law was passed in 2001 to protect children from being abducted and taken out of the country. Under the Two Parent Consent Law, both parents or guardians must be present to put in an application for a passport for their minor child. Proof of personal identification is strictly enforced. Under certain circumstances, there are some exceptions.

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.

Minors under the age of 16 and 17 must also appear in person, accompanied by their parent or parents. If only one parent presents the application and it does not have the signatures of both parents, then written consent of the other parent must be provided. Grandparents may not sign unless they have guardianship papers.

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.

Documents required by the acceptance agent are: original or certified copy of child’s birth certificate or naturalization papers; parent’s identification such as a driver’s license; two of the child’s pictures, taken by a passport photographer; and proof of parents or legal guardian’s relationship. Getting passports for kids is a little more complicated than for an adult, but with the right documentation things should go smoothly.

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