No matter their age, everyone requires a passport to travel outside the United States. It's your child's primary form of identification while out of the country and provides official proof of U.S. citizenship.
However, there are different requirements for applying for a passport depending on your child’s age.
Children under 16
For children under 16 years old, applying for a passport
requires two parents or guardians to apply in person using Form DS-11
. You'll need to provide your child's Social Security Number (SSN) or a formal statement declaring they don't have an SSN.
You’ll need to show proof of your child’s citizenship when applying for the passport. You can do this by supplying a/an:
The document needs to be an original or certified physical copy. Digital copies aren't acceptable.
Minors aged 16 and 17
As the parent, you don't need to be present when your child applies for a passport. However, you need to provide proof that you consent to it. If you aren't present when they apply, you can provide evidence of your consent through a signed note accompanied by a copy of your I.D. or by paying for the passport via a cheque or bank order with your name on it.
A passport card
is different from the passport book used for air travel. A passport card allows you or your child to enter the U.S. at land border crossings and sea ports of entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda
. As an adult, you can also use it as an ID when flying within the U.S.
If your child doesn't have a passport book or card, you must apply for a passport card in person using Form DS-11
. If you already have a passport book or card, you may apply for or renew your passport card by mail using Form DS-82
Similar to passport books, passport cards are valid for five years for children under 16 and for 10 years for minors age 16 or 17. A passport card costs $50 for children under 16 and $65 for minors aged 16 and 17.