Raising children is a challenging yet rewarding task. Single parenting is one parent solely raising and providing for a child. Several challenges can arise when raising children in general; however, amid raising a child as a single parent leaves only one adult to work through these challenges, instead of two. Hence, the challenge doubles. One complicated situation that can arise that a single parent may face is when getting a passport for a child. To make it a smooth process, we encourage you to allow yourself plenty of processing time beforehand and pay close attention to details. Keep reading for six essential things a single parent should know.
1. All children that are minors under the age of 16 must apply or reapply in person, no exceptions. Passports for the children under the age of 16 are valid for five years and once expired, you must reapply for a new passport in person. Children are not eligible to apply or reapply online or by mail.
2. Bring an official document that shows proof of U.S. citizenship for your child. Official records include a valid, undamaged U.S. passport (can be expired), U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Certificate of Citizenship. The official document presented of U.S. citizenship for your child must be an original or certified copy, as photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted. However, along with your official copy, you will need to submit a copy of this official document, both front, and back.
3. The parent applying for the passport for the minor must present a valid form of identification such as an in-state driver’s license or valid or expired, undamaged, U.S. passport. Also, you will need to submit a photocopy, both front, and back, of your identification.
4. As a single parent, this means the minor, or your child only has one parent/guardian. In this case, this is a circumstance that needs to have additional documents provided when you apply for a child passport. You must submit evidence as to the sole authority to apply for the minor. Examples of this evidence includes a U.S. birth certificate or adoption decree listing you as the only one applying parent, court order granting sole custody to you as the applying parent, court order explicitly permitting you, the applying parent, to travel with the child, judicial record of incompetence, or the death certificate of the other parent.
5. When there is a delay in processing, frequently this happens because the photo submitted is unacceptable. Avoid potential processing delays by ensuring the photograph you submit with your child’s application meets all specific requirements as being an acceptable photograph. Some passport application facilities provide photo services for an additional fee. We recommend that if you want to rely on the facility to take the photo, call to ensure they provide this service before arrival.
6. In terms of processing, keep in mind that applications submitted at a passport office take up to six weeks to process. With expedited service, it could arrive within two or three weeks. In the event, your child’s passport is lost or stolen, and need faster service, apply directly at a U.S. passport agency. If this is not possible, apply through an expedited courier service to receive within 24 to 48 hours!
With proper time management, gathering all necessary documents beforehand, and having an acceptable photograph, applying or reapplying for your child’s passport as a single parent can be a smooth process. We wish you safe and enjoyable future traveling! Bon Voyage!