Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- How To Get an Expedited Newborn Passport
- Do Babies Need U.S. Passports?
- How Do I Get a Passport for My Baby
- Obtain a Birth Certificate for Proof of U.S. Citizenship
- Call to Make an Appointment for an Expedited Passport
- Gather the Paperwork for the Passport
- Take Passport Photos
- Newborn Baby Passport Checklist
- Proof of Travel Plans
- Attend Your Appointment
- Baby's First Passport Keepsake
Sometimes things come up that require immediate travel – even with a newborn. Getting a passport pronto for a baby requires a few extra steps, but it can be done. Here’s how to navigate the baby passport application process.
We were in the middle of a bona fide family emergency when I gave birth to my third child. My father-in-law was hospitalized in Ireland after developing blood clots on his flight. While doctors were treating the clots, they discovered that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The doctors gave my father-in-law just days to weeks to live. My husband was urged to get to his dad’s side immediately. Since I was already 39 weeks pregnant, I was induced the next day. We got my daughter’s passport in less than a week, and one week later I was crossing the border with her from Vermont into Quebec to drop off my husband at the airport in Montreal. It can be done. Here’s what you need to know about expediting a newborn passport.
How To Get an Expedited Newborn Passport
Do Babies Need U.S. Passports?
First, let’s address this question because it comes up often. Yes, if your newborn will be traveling internationally then he or she will need a valid passport. I know I’m dating myself here but I used to be able to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada with my license or birth certificate.
Those days are over. No matter the age, no-one can board an international flight without a passport. The only way a baby can travel without a passport outside of the U.S. is on a closed-loop cruise (one that starts and ends in the United States).
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How Do I Get a Passport for My Baby
First-time passport holders, no matter your age, must apply in person. This includes babies. So whether you need an expedited passport or have time to spare, your baby will need an in-person appointment for a new passport. If you have time to wait for a passport to arrive and no imminent travel plans you can go to a Passport Acceptance Facility near you.
You can search locations here. If you click on the location names it will give you their hours and let you know if an appointment is required to see an acceptance agent. I live in a fairly rural area and there are 10 locations within an hour offering passport services on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. These locations will accept your paperwork and you will receive a passport in 8-12 weeks depending on processing time.
If you need a faster, expedited appointment read on.
Obtain a Birth Certificate for Proof of U.S. Citizenship
Explain your situation to the hospital. An administrator may be able to expedite the certificate to your City Clerk’s office. If this is not an option, ask the hospital for a certificate of live birth. This will not be a certified or notarized document but the Passport Agency will be able to issue a temporary, one-year passport.
If you are able to get the birth certificate through the City Clerk’s office be sure to explain that it’s for a passport. That way, when you pick up the birth certificate it can be notarized as an authentic, legal document. This is important because if it is not notarized or certified you will only be issued a one-year instead of a five-year passport.
Call to Make an Appointment for an Expedited Passport
Call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment with your regional passport agency if you need the passport expedited. The automated phone system will ask for a social security number. You can use yours to make the appointment since your child probably hasn’t been issued one yet. Up to seven members of the same family can apply during one appointment under one confirmation number. We were able to renew my husband’s passport, and get passports for my newborn and almost two-year-old daughter in the same appointment.
Note: I know this seems obvious but it bears stating. You cannot start your baby’s passport process until he or she is born. After the birth, you can schedule an appointment.
Gather the Paperwork for the Passport
Now that you have a confirmation number gather all of your documents. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for passports to print out a passport application form for your newborn. Keep in mind that both parents MUST appear with the child to obtain a passport. If one parent cannot appear he must complete Form DS-3053 and have it notarized for the other parent to bring along. If the form cannot be notarized and the other parent is not able to be contacted, you must fill out the form in section 5. This explains the special circumstances that will be considered upon application at the Regional Agency. Each parent must bring ID, like your driver’s license or your own passport. Bring your child’s birth certificate. Print out proof of your travel plans to take with you to the appointment.
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If your child does not have a U.S. birth certificate with both parents’ names on it be sure to bring supporting documents like an adoption decree, Certificate of Citizenship or consular report of birth abroad.
Take Passport Photos
Get your child’s passport photo taken, making sure it meets passport photo requirements. This service is available at many U.S. Post Office locations. You can also get passport photos taken in most AAA offices. We have tons of advice on taking a baby passport photo here including how to meet all requirements taking the photo at home and why you need a white sheet.
Newborn Baby Passport Checklist
- Certified Birth Certificate (original and one photocopy)
- Original parent/legal guardian government-issued identification. Each parent needs ID. Bring a photocopy of the front and back of each ID.
- 2 Passport Photos
- Form DS-11 Filled out in Black Ink. Do NOT sign the first page of the application until they ask you to.
- Extra blank DS-11 Form. Trust me, you’ll want to have this if there is an issue with the first one.
- Completed Form DS-3053 (Statement of Consent) if both parents cannot attend the appointment. This form will need to be signed by the non-applying parent in front of a notary. Make sure it’s done in black ink! Also, bring a photocopy of the front and back of the ID the parents used in front the notary.
- Payment to cover the passport application fee and any additional fees for expediting and/or processing.
- Proof of travel plans if applying for an expedited passport.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The passport application form asks for your full name. Middle initials are acceptable in passports. Note that the name on your child’s passport is the same name he or she will use for booking any future flights.
Proof of Travel Plans
I wanted to put a specific note in here about this. In our case we didn’t have travel booked for the baby yet. My husband had booked airline tickets for himself out of Montreal. We explained to the agent when applying for the baby passport that I would be driving my husband to the airport. And since I was breastfeeding my baby, she would need to be with me. We also explained that with the situation we might need to fly over to join my husband. So we wanted to secure passports before he was out of the country and couldn’t make the appointment. This explanation was satisfactory to them.
Attend Your Appointment
Go to your appointment. Arrive early. You’ll be going into a secure building with metal detectors. Leave food and drink in your car. You will not be allowed to bring them in. Bring a check, money order, or credit card to pay for the passport. You may be asked to come back the next day to pick up your expedited passport. But it might be ready that same day. As a result, I find it best to snag an early morning appointment to increase the chances of being able to pick it up later that day.
Good luck. We were able to get a passport for our newborn using these tips. Happy travels!
Once the dust settles, we recommend picking up a baby’s first passport cover to cherish as a keepsake. Getting your first passport is a big deal, even if they’re too little to know it yet! We think this personalized leather one is too cute. Plus, it comes with a matching luggage tag.