When it comes to traveling with our family, most of the time we think about going on that family road trip or going to the beach for a much-needed break from the realities of life. International travel is a different kind of adventure. There are many aspects to consider, such as: B. the cost of flights and making sure your passports are up to date and you have your child’s passports.
There are many reasons you might want to make sure your kids have passports beyond being able to travel internationally only. One of the key benefits is that your family’s experience of going through airport TSA screening will be much smoother when you’re flying domestically. TSA agents don’t ask many questions to confirm that your child is yours from the TSA agents. You also don’t need to bring your child’s birth certificate with you to prove age, especially if you’re showing an airline that your child is a lap child.
How to apply for your child’s passport
Obtaining a child pass is not that much different from what you apply for as an adult, but there are some important differences that you should be aware of along the way. Here are the things you want to do to make your child’s passport application experience as hassle-free as possible.
Print out and fill out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs documents
Just like when applying for your adult passport, the forms are the same. If you are applying as a U.S. citizen, you will want to print out the DS-11 form from the U.S. Department of State Website. From personal experience when filling out my child’s passport application, it was much more convenient as I didn’t have to call and ask about the year and place of birth. The hardest part of completing the application was determining who would be our emergency contact in case something should happen to us internationally.
Card or book
The big choice you have to make, and which will cost more or less depending on the trip, is whether you want your children to have a passport card, a book, or both. Both have advantages. As mentioned above, you can use the passport card as identification to facilitate transit through TSA when traveling domestically. The choices you make will depend on your travel destination.
If you are traveling internationally by plane you will need the book. While your passport card allows you to board a flight domestically, you CANNOT board an international flight without the book.
With a passport card you can cross any land border crossing on foot, by car or by boat.
One thing to consider when applying for your child’s passport is that your child’s passport is only valid for five years, unlike an adult passport. Your plans might be to only travel by car or boat. If you don’t plan to fly internationally in the next five years (most families have to plan for such major trips), you can save costs by simply purchasing the card. (One of the following)
There is also a cost difference between your three choices. Here is a breakdown of the cost:
Make an appointment at the Passport Acceptance Facility
As you start setting up the date for your child, you know that your travel plans are gradually becoming a reality. Many (not all) United States Postal Services are passport acceptance facilities. However, you should make an appointment beforehand. This gives you time to fill out and collect all the necessary documents.
And one of the following
- Birth certificate (if this is your first time applying for your child’s passport)
- Complete undamaged passport (possibly expired)
- Naturalization certificate
- Certificate of Citizenship
When making this appointment you need to make sure that both parents are available. Both parents must sign the application. If it is not possible to have both parents on the appointment, you will need to fill out a DS-3053 form, which you can download from the US Department’s website. It must be notarized.
You have several options if you have sole legal authority, cannot find a parent, or neither can be viewed. Check the State Department website to see what to do in these situations.
Passport photos for children
You have the option of having your child’s passport photos taken at the passport acceptance facility for which you have set your appointment. The advantage of this approach is that you have it all done at once and the process of applying for your child’s passport is not a lengthy process. The downside, however, is the time you spend in the passport acceptance facility. It will take a while for the person working on your application to process your child’s passport application.
You can also have them picked up in advance from a FedEx office or UPS store. This option is the one that many people think of when applying for their passports. Applying for your child’s passport is an additional step that you need to take in the process. If your children don’t have the patience to sit in the passport reception facility for 10 to 15 minutes to have their picture taken, this option works best for you.
Applying for your child’s passport may not be the most exciting part of traveling with your family. Once you have this passport in hand, your family can create memories that your children will remember for years.
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