Now that we’ve got this newborn baby situation mostly sorted, time to start thinking passport. (Who am I kidding, our lives are a mess! But still.) Back when we had M, I wrote a bit about getting an infant passport. I decided instead of updating that post I’d just re-write it as a guide for applying for an infant passport (or the passport of any minor).
So, if like me, you’re in the market for a passport for one of your kids, follow these simple steps!
1. Gather necessary documents for passport for a minor
The most annoying part about getting a passport is getting all the necessary documents for the application. Here’s what you need:
Proof of US Citizenship
In most cases this will be a birth certificate. Make sure you go to your local city hall and have this before you start your application! Also, you need to bring an original birth certificate, so if you want an extra copy for yourself make sure you got that from City Hall! (They’re supposed to mail it back, but I pay the extra $2 or whatever at City Hall for peace of mind).
New Passport Application (Form DS-11)
This application form can be filled out online here. It is the same application form that adults use.
Photocopies of both parents IDs
This can be a passport, Driver’s license, or birth certificate. Be sure to make the copies beforehand to make your life easier.
Form DS-3053 IF one parent can’t make it to the application
I’d highly recommend having both parents go for the application. If one parent can’t attend, they will need Form DS-3053 filled out and notarized. You can find that form here.
More on this in the next step.
Also, here’s a printable checklist you can use.
Passportchecklist <= click to download PDF!
2. Make a passport photo
You can go to CVS or Walgreen’s and pay them like $20, or you can make your own passport photo. To avoid the fee, my wife took a photo of our kids and cropped it to 2 inches by 2 inches. Make sure to take it against a white background. The hardest thing is to get the kids to hold still.
Another inexpensive option is using epassportphoto.com. You can use their Do it Yourself photo to crop your own photo and then send it to the drugstore to print. Or you can use their pay service and either have it sent to your home or to the drugstore. It’ll cost you like $10 for two photos though, as opposed to the $1 it will cost if you print yourself.
One note, Walgreen’s generally is a pain because they’ll force you to use their passport photo service. I’ve found CVS to be much more amenable to printing homemade passport photos.
3. Find your nearest Passport Acceptance Facility
Go to this link to find your nearest Passport Acceptance Facility. Most, not all, are post offices.
4. Decide between standard or expedited processing
Standard processing for passports is 4-6 weeks. Expedited is 2-3 weeks. My best advice is to apply for the passport ASAP so you don’t need to stress about waiting. I applied for expedited for my second child and it came in less than two weeks, but this was because I waited until 5 weeks before our trip to apply and was nervous. Don’t do that!
Expedited processing costs an extra $60.
If you are traveling within two weeks, expedited processing at a regular acceptance facility probably won’t cut it. For international travel within two weeks, you will need to make an online appointment here. You still need to pay the $60 expedited fee AND show proof of your travel dates. Those locations are usually in your nearest large city, so be prepared to drive. Try to avoid this situation 🙂
5. Bring all your materials and passport fee to the applicable Passport Acceptance Facility
Once you’ve got all this stuff together, you’re ready to get your passport! Grab your infant and both parents (or else fill out that notarized form) and head on down. Note the standard Passport Book costs $80, a Passport Card costs $15, or you can get both for $95. You also will need to pay the acceptance facility $25 for processing, so overall you pay anywhere between $40 and $120.
The post office will accept all major credit cards for the processing fee, though I’d just bring two blank checks to be safe (my post office has terrible internet and their credit card system is down all the time!). The passport fee itself must be paid by personal check (I think you can buy a money order at the post office too to pay for it).
You don’t need to make an appointment, just drop off your materials and they’ll tell you how to handle the rest!
Thoughts, questions, comments? Let me know!