5 Steps to Get A Passport If You’re Under 18

5 Steps to Get A Passport If You’re Under 18

5 Steps to Get A Passport If You’re Under 18


Are you under 18 and planning to travel outside the country with your family? If you answered YES, you need to make sure you have a valid passport. Aside from identity verification, passports are required for international travel.

A passport comes in two forms: a passport book and a passport card. The most significant difference between the two is the method of travel where you can use each. Passport books can be used for all entry methods into an international country — whether air, land, or sea — while passport cards can only travel through land and sea borders.

It typically contains the bearer’s photo, name, birth date, birthplace, date of issue, expiry date, passport number, and signature.

Can minors apply for passports on their own?

Generally, the State Department prevents the issuance of U.S. Passports to children without the consent of both parents.

BUT If you are between the age of 16 to 17 and plan to get a passport by yourself, you may apply for one yourself if you can present your current identification document (ID).

However, you must show a photocopy of the ID of your legal parent or legal guardian along with a notarized statement showing they are aware that you will receive a passport.

If you pass these requirements and are applying for yourself, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Download the form DS-11 from the website: travel.state.gov.

You can fill it out online and print it afterward. But if you have good handwriting, you can print out the form and manually fill it out.

You must provide a Social Security number if you have been issued one. Otherwise, submit a statement, signed and dated, that includes the phrase:

“I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: I have never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.”


STEP 2: Prepare your supporting documents.

These should all be original or certified physical documents.

Documentary Requirements

Digital evidence is not acceptable. Make sure you also have clear photocopies ready for these documents:

  • Proof of US citizenship
  • Your US birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Proof of parental awareness

Valid ID

Present any one of the following IDs. Be ready to present a clear photocopy of the front and back of each ID.

  • In-state, fully valid driver’s license or enhanced driver’s license with photo
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal)
  • U.S. military or military dependent ID
  • Current (valid) foreign passport
  • Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular ID) – commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant
  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) – commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant
  • Trusted Traveler IDs (including valid Global Entry, FAST, SENTRI, and NEXUS cards)
  • Enhanced Tribal Cards and Native American tribal photo IDs

Other Supporting Documents

Other acceptable documents are:

  • In-state, fully valid learner’s permit with photo;
  • In-state, fully valid non-driver ID with photo; or
  • Temporary driver’s license with photo.

You also need to provide a 2×2 inch colored photo taken in the last six months, without filters and sunglasses with a white or off-white background. But don’t attach it to the form.


STEP 3: Calculate your passport fees.

Passport application fees are:

  • $30 for the passport card.
  • $130 for the passport book

Payment must be settled through check only, payable to the U.S. Department of State. You cannot pay in cash or through a credit card so bring a check.


STEP 4: Submit your completed application and documents in person at a passport acceptance facility.

You should call the acceptance facility ahead of time to verify their hours, acceptable forms of payment, and appointment requirements.


STEP 5: Check your application status online.

Processing time may take between 8 to 11 weeks. Your passport and the supporting documents will be delivered to you by mail.


What is the passport application process for children below 16 years old?

There is not much difference between the passport application process for children below 16 years old except for the following:

  • They must apply for a passport in person with two parents or guardians.
  • Parents/guardians should show proof of parental relationship with the child.
  • They should also present the identification documents.
  • Passport application fees are also lower: $15 for the passport card and $100 for the passport book.

There you have it. A passport application may seem overwhelming, but getting your passport unlocks many adventures ahead!


Explore your options through an immigration attorney

If you are outside of the US but want to travel and fly INTO the US, you may schedule a consultation or call us at Andres Mejer Law to help you explore your options.

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