Applying for a Passport for Children When You’re Divorced

Divorced parents who want to apply for a passport to travel internationally with their children must provide additional information beyond the standard passport application. When the passport office is satisfied that the parents have met all the requirements, they will issue a five-year passport to a child under the age of 16.

All Parents Must Meet the Following Requirements

  • When you bring the documents requested below, make sure that they are either originals or certified copies. Also, make sure to bring along two photocopies of each document showing the front and back side.
    Complete the form DS-11 (which you can find online here), bring a passport photo and pay the fees
  • Bring evidence that your child is a U.S. citizen:
    • A valid, prior U.S. passport
    • A long-form U.S. birth certificate that lists both parents’ names
    • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Submit evidence that you are the parent or legal guardian such as:
    • The child’s U.S. or foreign birth certificate as above or Consular Report of
    • Birth Abroad
    • An adoption decree
    • Divorce and custody decree
  • Parents must present one of the following types of identification:
    • A valid driver’s license from the state in which you are applying or, if out-of-state, then provide a second document from this list
    • A valid or expired U.S. passport or valid foreign passport, or Matricula Consular
    • A Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
    • Government employee ID, military or military-dependent ID
  • Both parents must consent and apply in-person with the child

If Both Parents Cannot Appear in Person

There are custody situations where it is not possible for both parents to appear in person when submitting the passport application. Depending upon the reason, you will need to provide additional documents that prove you have the authority to apply without the consent of the other parent.

  • If you have sole legal custody, you can submit the following types of documents:
    • Full court order that grants you sole legal custody or that specifically states you have legal permission to apply for your child’s passport
    • Your child’s birth certificate or adoption decree on which you are the only parent
    • A court order that the other parent is incompetent
    • A death certificate of the other parent
  • If both parents have legal custody but one cannot appear, that parent can give permission for the other parent to apply by completing Form DS-3053, Statement of Consent
    • Sign the form in front of a notary in the U.S. or at a U.S. consulate or embassy
    • Submit a copy of the front and back of the ID provided to the notary
  • If you cannot locate the other parent you must submit form DS-5525, Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances

Finally, the Department of State has a program in which you may enroll your minor children if you are worried about the other parent abducting them, called the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. If someone submits a passport application for your child, the Department of State will alert you.

Make Sure Your Divorce Decree is Clear About Custody and Any Travel

Reach out to one of our Texas family law attorneys for advice on traveling internationally with your children or protecting them from being taken out of the country without your permission. Contact us for experienced custody advice today.