How To Get A Child’s Passport for the First Time

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READING TIME: 6 min.

Over the last year, more and more families are breaking free of their homes to set off on new adventures; a welcome escape from the monotony of the day-to-day routines that took over during from the pandemic.

My family has definitely contributed to the “travel boom”, but it’s also caused us to change our behavior and how we used to travel.

Crowds now flood national parks, theme parks, and even local, staycation destinations (like Broken Bow or the Gaylord Texan). We’ve had to be more intentional on WHEN we travel and HOW we plan vacations. Even something as simple as camping needs to now be planned weeks – sometimes months – in advance to get a great camp/cabin site or RV hookup spot.

And don’t be fooled thinking families are staying “close”! Now that many countries have started to reopen, couples and families are expanding their itineraries to all kinds of destinations; crowding not just the airports but all the service industries needed to help provide travel – including passports!

Don’t let passports be an after-thought! Right now, when the passport office tells you standard delivery time is 8-11 weeks, expect this to be true and allow yourself to be surprise when/if they happen to arrive early.

Set a deadline to have this done and don’t go past or you may be rearranging your trip! Set a Google Reminder, ask Alexa to remind you, or even write it down on your paper calendar — whatever works to help you remember.

Two important things to keep in mind:

  1. Getting a child’s passport is a little more complex than getting your own passport. Be prepared to apply IN PERSON until they’re age 16 and follow the checklist before leaving the house.
  2. Your child needs to apply in person with BOTH parents in attendance (or one parent needs to bring a notarized consent form for the second parent).

WHERE DO I APPLY?

You have several options on where to go when applying, but you will need an appointment when applying for a child’s passport.

  • If you want to use a local USPS location for passport services, they offer online appointment booking here.
  • You can also make a passport appointment at a Dallas County passport office using their scheduler here.

In general, appointment times are scheduled two weeks out and new appointment times open up at 12:00 AM each night. Remember, you have to apply IN PERSON, so always check availability at your nearest location for convenience but you can use any one of the many passport application acceptance facilities across town.

On a personal note :: I had a GREAT experience at the Dallas County North Dallas Government Office and would recommend this location to anyone. And to say I had a great experience at a government office should tell you how great the service was! 

WHAT DO I BRING?

1. DS-11: Application for a U.S. PassportRead the instructions carefully. It will ask you to complete the form in BLACK PEN. Make sure to complete names Last, First Middle. Do NOT sign the forms or complete any information where it asks you not to.

2. Child’s Evidence of US Citizenship: Evidence includes certified birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth, or certificate of citizenship or naturalization.  Be prepared to send away your evidence with the application. Yes, that means they’ll take your child’s birth certificate. Don’t panic! You will get it back at or around the time you receive your new passport book.

3. Parent or Guardian’s Proof of Relationship to Child: Both parents listed on the birth certificate or report/certificate of birth abroad need to bring a copy of a valid photo ID.

Not all passport offices will make a copy for you so be sure to have a copy with both the front and back of the ID on the same sheet of white paper. You need one copy for each parent. If an adoption decree or court orders establishing custody or guardianship apply, bring those documents along with copies of the valid photo IDs for the guardians.

4. Passport Photo: The child’s passport photo needs to be 2″ x 2″ and taken within the last six months. Some application offices offer passport photo services on site, but they’ll usually ask you this at the time you make your appointment.

At the time of writing this, CVS charged $16.99 for a passport photo (2 copies of the same image). This was great when I renewed my own passport by mail BUT the Dallas County Government Office only charged $12.00 per photo (and you also received two copies). I felt at ease letting them take the photo as there was less a change it wouldn’t be precisely what the Passport office needed.

You can also make your own passport photos at home using sites like this. But be warned they will request a new photo if it’s not to their specifications.

5. Parental Consent: Sometimes it’s not feasible for both parents to apply in person. If you have one parent applying, bring a notarized copy of the second parent’s Statement of Consent.  Word to the wise, the notarized copy date and the application date should be the same. Otherwise, the passport office people may send you home.

6. Your Child:  Your child(ren) must be present during the application process. Another reminder that you will need to notify your appointment provider how many children you are bringing in for a new passport. While they can do the service all together, they’ll need to allocate enough time per application.

7. Two Checks & Cash or Card:  Each office varies on how payment is handled. Some only take money order and some take credit cards. The Passport Application Fee MUST be by check (made payable to the “U.S. Department of State”). There will be an assortment of other fees (photos, agency fees, etc.) These are up to the agency how they’d like to accept payment.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?

Passport Books are $100 per person. You’ll also pay a $35 Acceptance/Execution Fee on all first time minor passports (paid to the agency).

We also paid $1.00 for copies of our license and $12.00 per photo. These smaller fees will vary by location.

If you need to execute your passport, you’ll pay an additional $60 per passport. You can also pay for expedited shipping. All fees are transparent and posted here.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

If you do not request expedited service, passports will typically take 8-11 weeks to process. For faster passports, apply for expedited services (5-7 weeks) at the US passport agency office or use a private service to speed up the process. Services like AA Passports can turn them around as quickly as 24 hours, but you’d need to show proof that you have need for international travel within 14 days (life-or-death emergencies or urgent travel).

You can track your passport once submitted. All you’ll need is the Last Name, Birth Date, and Last 4 Digits of Social.

 

And one last tip . . . don’t forget the happy vacation you’re planning while stuck at the passport agency office with your restless children!

3 COMMENTS

  1. A couple of things I would add from my recent adventure obtaining a passport for my teen…..

    You can get your passport at many local post offices, but by appointment only and most had a 3 week or longer wait list. I went to the Dallas county district clerks offices in east dallas, they are walk in only, we arrived at opening time and waited about an hour, but when we left there was no one in line.

    At this office, they require cash for the one part of the fee and a check or money order for the other. Many people had to leave to get the correct funds.

    • Thank you, Dawn. Any and all information is helpful! My experience is that each place is different on wait time and how they handle fees so thank you for adding your insight.

  2. I ready apply for passport for my girl but the oofice said i need the motion permision to get passport..how can i get it.

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