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U.S. Passports

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Legal Matters

Passports and Children in Custody Disputes

Are you involved in a custody dispute over your child? Are you concerned that your child may be taken abroad by the other parent without your knowledge?

We've assembled some resources for you.

If your child has been abducted internationally, contact the Office of Children's Issues (1-888-407-4747 or PreventAbduction1@state.gov) and appropriate law enforcement officials immediately.

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Resources

Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP)

Enrolling your child in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) is very important. This allows us to tell you if your child's passport application before the passport is issued.

  • This is not a system for tracking passport use. Once a passport is issued, we can't track its use. There are no exit controls for U.S. citizens leaving the United States.
  • Information about a child's passport is available to both parents, regardless of custody rights. The only exception is when the courts have terminated requesting parents' rights.
  • The alert system remains in effect until the child turns 18. 
  • To enroll, the parent, legal guardian, legal representatives, or the court of competent jurisdiction must submit a written request. Include a copy of a document such as a birth certificate or court order of custody or guardianship that shows the relationship between the child and the parent.
  • You should update us in writing of changes to contact information and legal representation. If you don't, a passport may be issued for your child without your consent.

For more information, and how to enroll, see Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program.

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Dual Nationality for Children

Your child, although they were born in the United States or abroad to a U.S. citizen parent, might also be a citizen of another country. A child may acquire another nationality without the consent of the U.S. citizen parent.

A child may acquire citizenship by the child's birth abroad, by a parent born outside the United States, or a parent who acquired a second nationality by naturalization. 

Enrolling in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program does not stop a dual national child from getting (or traveling) on a foreign passport. If your child has, or might have, another nationality, contact the country's embassy or consulate directly to ask about denial of that country's passport.

For more information, please see Dual Nationality.

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Getting your Child's Passport Records

Parents or legal guardians may request their child's passport records. The mailed request must contain:

  • A notarized letter that includes:
    • Full name, date and place of birth of the child
    • Address and telephone number for the requesting parent/legal guardian
    • Reason for needing the child's passport information.
  • Appropriate Fee
    • For a copy of their issued passport application, there is no fee. 
    • For an authenticated copy of the passport application, the fee is $30.00 for the first copy and $20.00 for each additional copy.

Mail your request to:

U.S. Department of State
Law Enforcement Liaison Division
CA/PPT/S/L/LE
44132 Mercure Cir
PO Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

Requests for passport records take 4-8 weeks. For more information, call 202-485-6550.

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Privacy Act and Passport Records

Passport records are subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a).

  • Your child's passport record is only available to the child, their parent or legal guardian, or pursuant to a court order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Information regarding adults' passport records 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.

 

While we make every effort to help, the Office of Children's Issues can assume no legal responsibility for the services provided.

For more information about the issuance or denial of U.S. passports to children involved in custody disputes, or about international child abduction, please contact: 

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Phone: 1-888-407-4747