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Passports and Your Kids: Got a Ticket to Ride?

Every child is required to have a passport for overseas travel, regardless of age. At the time this article is written both parents or guardians must consent for the passport to be issued.  Both parents are also required to be present with the child to authorize the issuance of a passport for a child under the age of 16. If one parent cannot be present to apply for the passport, he or she must sign and notarize a Statement of Consent. This requirement for parental permission is in addition to all of the routinely required documents.

A parent who requests the passport on his or her own without the consent of the other parent must have a valid court order giving him or her permission to do so. Although the U.S. State Department is a federal agency, it gives a great deal of latitude to court orders from state courts because they issue child custody orders. A NC judge has the authority to issue an order that allows the passport to be issued over the objection of the other parent, or vice versa. Or, the U.S. State Department will recognize an order clearly granting sole custody to one parent. A child custody order can include specific restrictions on the child’s travel or restrictions on the parent(s). One parent is also permitted to apply independently if the other parent is declared by court order to be legally incompetent. Judges may issue court orders requiring passports already issued to be surrendered by a parent and held by the court (or some other secured location) until some future date.

The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) is a U.S. State Department program that allows parents to enroll children under the age of 18 who are US citizens. Once a child is enrolled in CPIAP, the U.S. State Department will alert the parent in the event the other parent applies for a passport.  Parents may also enroll children for whom a passport has been issued. In that event, the parent will be notified when there is a renewal requested.


Laws change. This article is current as of 2015 © 

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