Flying with baby can be difficult enough as it is, but add in an international flight, and there are plenty more hoops to jump through – the largest being obtaining a passport. Every U.S. citizen, regardless of age, has to have a valid passport to travel to and from foreign countries. With the ever-changing rules and regulations, it can be a tiring process. So, where do you start?
Here’s a step by step look at what you’ll need to do to get baby’s passport:
- Get baby’s passport photo. Ditch the cute bows and fun props, photo requirements are extremely strict and failure to meet the requirements could cause a delay in receiving baby’s passport. It is suggested to get the photo taken by a professional passport photo service for a small fee; however, personal photos are just as acceptable. If you do choose to take the photo personally, be sure the color photo displays a clear view of baby’s face with open eyes and a visible hairline, all in front of a white background. The photo should be no bigger than 2 x 2 inches with the head being 1 inch to 1 ¾ inch.
- Fill out the DS-11 form. You can find the form at the Department of State’s Travel site. While filling out the form, be sure to hold off on signatures until you are physically submitting the application at a local passport facility.
- Gather all necessary materials. Prior to visiting your local passport facility, be sure you have the application, the passport photos (take a few in case one doesn’t work), baby’s proof of U.S. citizenship, photocopies of both guardians’ ID’s, and a certified copy of baby’s birth certificate. Both parents’ must also have photo ID readily available when at the facility. To find the nearest passport acceptance facility near you, click here.
- Submit application. The U.S. Department of State requires both parents or legal guardians to attend the application process. If a parent cannot attend, a notarized Statement of Consent must be filled out prior to submission. If you are the sole parent-whether by death or through legal custody-you must submit proof.
- Pay the passport fee. If expediting the application process, the fee will increase by $60.
- Wait for passport to arrive! Though processing times vary depending on the season, it typically takes around two months.
Safe travels! For more information, you can visit the U.S. Department of State Travel website.
If you’re gearing up for a long flight with your little one soon, you may also want to read Flying with Baby: A Go-To Guide for a Smooth Flight.