My kids’ passports have expired. I didn’t realize until I went to make travel plans recently that their passports were only valid for five years (rather than the standard ten) because they were under age 16 when the passports were issued. I also didn’t realize that minors age 15 and under are not eligible to renew passports, but must instead submit a new passport application each successive five-year period until they turn 16. In fact, the application process turned out to be quite a bit trickier than I anticipated overall. If you, too, are looking to obtain a U.S. passport, here is the 411 on what you will need:
- Application: Form DS-11 is used when applying for the first time and for applicants not eligible to renew their passport. All application forms are available on the U.S. Department of State website or at your local post office.
- Proof of Citizenship: The documents required will depend on which application you are using. Supporting documents must be originals or certified copies.
- Proof of Identity: The documents needed will vary based on the application being submitted. If the applicant is under age 16, proof of identity must also be shown by the parents, accompanied by a proof of parental relationship.
- Passport Photo: A 2” x 2” photo of the applicant is needed, which must meet very specific requirements. You can review that list of requirements online.
- Fee: Generally, the fee is $110 for ages 16 and up and $80 for those under age 16. The U.S. Department of State website offers a useful fee calculator.
The following notes are also important:
- If the applicant is under age 16, both parents must appear in person with the applicant. If both cannot appear, evidence of sole legal authority, exigent circumstances, or a notarized statement giving authority must be presented.
- Individuals who are more than $2,500 behind on child support payments will be refused a passport.
- The applicant’s social security number or a sworn statement that the applicant has never been issued a social security number is required to process the application.