Renew a child’s passport under the age of 16
iVisa | 7 min read | Updated on Oct 04, 2023

Traveling is a cherished aspect of life that broadens horizons. And for parents, exploring the world with their children is a journey filled with invaluable memories. However, to embark on international adventures, a crucial document is needed: a passport!

Children under the age of 16 must have a valid U.S. passport to travel internationally. Like adult passports, child passports have expiration dates, and you must keep an eye on them to ensure the document is still valid when planning a trip.

us hands holding passport

In an attempt to protect children, the Department of State of the United States implements strict rules preventing children from being issued US. passports without the consent of both parents. This article will walk you through the steps and requirements for renewing a child's U.S. passport.

Passport renewal for children under 16: Can I renew my child's passport online?

To safeguard children’s identities, children under 16 years old cannot apply for a passport renewal, whether that’s online or at a passport office. They must follow the same steps as a first-time passport application.

Check out the U.S. government website for more information about a first-time passport application for kids.

Children’s passports: General rules and age-related considerations in the United States

Getting a passport for children under the age of 16 is subject to unique regulations. Both parents or legal guardians and the child must visit a passport office to apply.

If the applicant is an adult, they can renew their passport or passport card by mail using our convenient passport renewal services.

Document requirements for a child passport application

A child passport application requires the following supporting documents:

  • Child evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as the child's birth certificate issued by the local authorities.

  • Current passport in good condition (it can be expired).

  • A passport photo of the child. Remember, you can get these using our passport photo service from the comfort of your home.

  • Proof of both parents’ relationships with the child.

  • A copy of both parents’ passports.

Consent and parental rights to apply for a child’s passport

One of the key requirements for a child's passport is getting consent from both parents or legal guardians. This section will delve into how to show parent consent during the application.

Applying with consent from both parents or guardians

Ensuring parents’ or guardians’ consent is vital in the child's passport application process. The ideal scenario is for both parents or guardians to accompany the child in person when applying for the passport.

Special circumstances: Applying when one parent is unavailable

In situations where both parents or guardians can't be present in person, certain conditions must be met. Check out the requirements for different scenarios:

  • Sole legal custody

As the parent or guardian with sole legal authority, you must submit evidence of this authority along with the application. This evidence can take various forms, including:

  • A complete court order granting you sole legal custody of the child, such as a divorce decree or other custody order.

  • A complete court order permitting you to apply for your child's passport (a photocopy is acceptable).

  • A certified copy of the child's birth certificate that lists you as the only parent.

  • A certified copy of an adoption decree that lists you as the only parent.

  • A certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the parent who cannot appear in person.

  • A certified copy of the death certificate of the parent who cannot appear in person.

One parent or guardian cannot go with the child to apply for the passport

In this case, they must submit the following documents:

  • Signed and dated the Form DS-3053 “Statement of Consent” in the presence of a certified notary public. Be aware that, in certain countries, this form must be notarized at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

  • Copy of the front and back side of their ID.

Other parent cannot be located

You must submit the **Form DS-5525 “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances."

  • Complete the form in detail.

  • You must present additional evidence, including documents such as custody, incarceration, or restraining order to protect against international parental child abduction.

  • Non-applying parents who are deployed can usually provide a notarized Form DS-3053. If they cannot be contacted, you must provide either military orders with a Form DS-5525 showing that they’re on a special assignment or a signed statement from the non-applying parent's commanding officer that they can't be reached.

Neither parent can go to the passport office with the child

A third party can apply for the child's passport on their behalf, but specific steps must be followed:

  • The third party should use Form DS-3053 or get a notarized statement from both parents or guardians granting permission for the third party to apply for the child's passport.

  • A photocopy of the identification of both parents or guardians should accompany the statement.

  • In cases where only one parent or guardian provides the statement, the third party must also present evidence demonstrating their sole custody of the consenting parent or guardian.

How to apply for a passport renewal for children under 16

Children under 16 cannot apply for a passport renewal and need to get a new passport. Here are steps to apply for valid passports for children:

  • Step 1: Complete Form-DS 11 with the minor’s information and gather all supporting documents.

  • Step 2: Calculate the child’s passport fee and bring a check to pay for it at the passport office.

  • Step 3: Head to a passport acceptance facility with all the required supporting documents and submit the application.

Once you have handed in everything, you can track your application status online. It can take up to two weeks from when you submit your application to when it's “In Process.” During these two weeks, your child's application is delivered to a mail facility, your payment is processed, and the paper application form is scanned and sent to government officials.

If your passport status reads “Not Available,” the government safely received your child's application and supporting documents. The approval process can take up to 13 weeks, depending on if you choose the routine or expedited process.

Costs and processing time to renew a child’s passport

The U.S. government charges two different fees, an application fee and an acceptance fee, for all child passport applications.

The fees for a passport book are:

  • Application fee: US$100

  • Execution (Acceptance) fee: US$35

The government also offers expedited service if you’re in a rush. However, this expedited passport service comes at an additional cost of US$60. We recommend visiting the U.S. government website for information about processing times and costs surrounding child passport renewals.

How will I receive the child’s passport?

When completing your child's passport application, we recommend putting your name in the “In Care Of” section of the Mailing Address on Form DS-11. After your child's passport is issued, it’ll be sent to you by mail, along with your child's supporting documents.

Adult U.S. passport renewals

Now that you know how to renew a child's passport, when was the last time you checked your passport? You’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t need to repeat the same complicated process!

We’ve simplified the process for adult U.S. passport renewals so you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Skip the long queues at any government facilities and let us help you.

Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Provide basic details and passport information on our website or iVisa app. Select the shipping time and pay the government and our service fees online.

  • Step 2: Complete the U.S. passport renewal form and upload a photo. Use our digital photo service to get one in just a few minutes.

  • Step 3: Receive a passport renewal kit at your address. Sign the form and pack it together with your passport. Take your kit to the nearest mailbox.

  • Step 4: We’ll send you a link to track your application progress. Once processed, you’ll receive your document by mail.

Learn more about U.S. passport renewal.

Please note: We cannot help you if you need your passport in less than six weeks, as the application procedure may take longer.

What does the U.S. passport renewal kit include?

Once you complete the form online, we’ll send you by mail a U.S. passport renewal kit with the following items:

  • Prepared DS-82 form: Our team of iVisa Experts reviews your form, sending it ready for your signature and submission.

  • Government-Compliant passport photo: You’ll receive the passport photo you uploaded on our platform.

  • Bank check to cover government fees: We provide a bank check to cover the costs required by the US government for your passport renewal. We already paid this on the online process.

  • Prepaid USPS envelope: You'll receive a USPS envelope with postage already affixed, making it convenient for you to mail your application.

Contact us for more info about renewing your passport

Do you have any questions about renewing your U.S. passport? Our dedicated customer service team is available to assist you. Contact us through our online chat or at [email protected].

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