Passport Requirements for Children
Two Parent Signature Law for a Passport
The United States does not have exit controls on its borders. However, most airlines require each passenger to present a passport before boarding a flight headed for an international destination. Additionally, most foreign countries require each person to present a passport before entering the country. This makes preventing a passport from being issued to your child without your consent very important. Generally, if your child has a passport, it can be difficult to prevent the other parent from removing your child from the United States to another country without your permission.
U.S. law requires signatures of both parents or the child's legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S. passport to children under the age of 16. To obtain a U.S. passport for a child under the age of 16, parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody or is the sole parent of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport).
EXCEPTIONS: The law does provide two exceptions to this requirement:
- For exigent circumstances, such as those involving the health or welfare of the child, or
- When the Secretary of State determines that issuance of a passport is warranted by special family circumstances.
Read more: Passport Requirements for Minors
The Privacy Act and Passports
Passport information is protected by the provisions of the Privacy Act (PL 93-579) passed by Congress in 1974. Information regarding a minor’s passport is available to either parent. Information regarding adults may be available to law enforcement officials or pursuant to a court order issued by the court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with (22 CFR 51.27). For further information regarding the issuance or denial of United States passports to minors involved in custody disputes, please contact Passport Services.
Parents interested in obtaining passport records of their child/ren should submit a NOTARIZED letter to the Department of State, Research and Liaison Section, 1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20524-1705. The request must contain the full name, date and place of birth of the child/ren, address and telephone number for the requesting parent, as well as your reason for needing the information. If you are requesting a copy of the issued passport application, there is no fee. If an authenticated copy of the passport application is requested the fee is $30.00 for the first copy and $20.00 for each additional copy. The telephone number for information is 202-955-0447. The Research and Liaison Section does not accept fax requests. Please note that passport records requested from this office can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to be completed.
Office of Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
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