How to get a baby a passport
The more important question- why would you get your baby a passport? Why would you put yourself through the misery of traveling with an infant across the border? I’m teasing of course.BabyTravels has her passport. We got it in the mail about a month ago. Cutest passport picture ever- I might add. So why did we decide to do it? Well…for legal reasons really- all U.S. citizens need a passport to enter and leave most foreign countries. Since we do have a few foreign excursions planned for this year, we opted to get her one.
Yes- you need to get your baby a passport if you plan to take them to Canada or Mexico. The exception to this may be if you are driving- they may take a birth certificate for little ones under two years old if both parents are present. If both parents are not present, you will need a notarized letter along with the birth certificate. A passport will still be easier and safer. Plus you don’t want to take any chances.
So how does one obtain a passport for the munchkin? It’s pretty similar procedure as if you were to obtain one for yourself. Download the application form, fill it out, bring all the documents needed with you, and head to one of the 9,000 passport acceptance offices across the country. Many of these include local post offices.
Important things to know:
Both parents must be present at the passport office to sign the papers. If for some reason there is not another parent or the parent is deceased you must have documentation to prove this. If this isn’t possible you will have to explain why in the special circumstances box. If one of the parent’s can’t be there for other reasons you need a notarized letter explaining the statement of consent.
Passports tend to take 4-6 weeks to arrive (although BabyTravel’s only took a few weeks). If you need it sooner than the 4-6 weeks you can purchase a rush passport with expedited service. It costs more that way but it should come in two weeks. If you want to up your chances of getting it quicker- head to a regional passport center. There are only 14 regional passport centers and they operate by appointment only.
Make sure to bring your government issued birth certificate NOT a copy. It needs to have the red registrars seal and signature. You also need to bring two passport photos with you. A lot of passport centers will do this for you but it is an extra cost. If the center does not provide this service- a lot of drug stores or photo centers will.
It’s cheaper to get a baby passport than it is an adult passport (but not much). They also only last 5 years for children 16 and under- not like the 10 that it does for adults.
Lines may be long- so expect a wait. Make sure your baby is fed, napped and changed. Bring toys and books to entertain while you wait.
*photo credit goes to the Personalized Gift Shop, where you can purchase the cute passport cover and luggage tag