Do I need the other parent’s consent to get my child a passport?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Child Custody

U.S. law requires all children to have a valid passport when traveling outside the country. One of the key requirements for a child under the age of 16 to receive a passport is the consent of both parents.

There is no waiver or option to bypass the requirement for parental consent. However, there are options for extenuating circumstances.

Basic requirement

The basic requirement is for both parents or legal guardians to appear together in person when submitting the passport application. They will also need to provide identification and proof of their relationship to the child, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree. Note that these must be original documents or certified copies.

If the parent’s name does not match the child’s, the parent will have to provide additional documents as proof of the name change.

Alternatives to the in-person appearance

If one parent cannot be present, they can provide a notarized statement of consent. The absent parent must also provide a copy of their identification showing the front and back.

If it is not possible for the other parent to provide consent due to abandonment, incarceration or inability to locate, the applying parent must provide a detailed statement explaining the situation. They must also provide supporting documentation, such as restraining or custody orders.

The consent requirement ensures both parents are aware of and agree to the child’s travel plans. It also helps to prevent potential issues related to child abduction. Upon issuance, a child’s passport remains valid for five years.