While the passport process isn’t all that complicated, it can feel quite daunting when you need to get one in a hurry for a child or infant. To make sure the process is as painless as possible, we’ve put together a list of five of the most frequently asked questions from parents looking to obtain passports for their children.
1. Does my child need a passport?
Any child, even a newborn infant, needs to have a passport if they are traveling between nations. This includes all the normal paperwork involved.
2. How long does a child passport last?
Your child passport will last five years, even if your child ages significantly and doesn’t really look like their passport photo anymore. While you’re not required to update the photos until renewal time, many opt to do so to avoid problems caused by a conflict between the photos and the older child’s features.
3. Can I be in the photo?
No one else can be in a passport photo, even one for a newborn. This includes visible limbs propping a baby up.
4. Does my child’s passport need a signature?
Yes, but it doesn’t have to be your child’s if they’re too young to sign for themselves. Instead, print the child’s name, sign your own, and place in parentheses your relationship (mother or father).
5. What do I need to know about my child’s passport photo?
All the usual rules of passports apply to child passport photos, even those which can be much more difficult to adhere to when dealing with infants and other young children. For example, expressions which excessively distort the face, hats and other coverings, pacifiers and bottles, and similar items can all disqualify a photo’s validity.
As you can see, the process is mostly painless aside from the issue of acceptable photographs. To give yourself the best opportunity for photos, we recommend taking your own photos with a suitable camera, and submitting them through an online passport photo service. This lets you get photos without the stresses or cost of a photo booth, and vet them before submission.