It used to be that a newborn baby was permitted to travel on the passport of one of their parents. Now, however, it is a requirement that every US citizen, including a newborn, have their own individual passport. When travelling within approximately two weeks, parents may apply for an expedited American pasport for newborn. Parents can do this themselves or they may go through a specialized agent.
Applying for an infant’s passport is a little more complicated than obtaining one for a grown-up. The child’s birth certificate is required, along with proof of parental identification and consent for the infant to travel. Also required are the Social Security Numbers of both parents, proof of travel intent, completed application form, two photographs and payment of the necessary fee. There are five urgency levels for an infant passport, 24-Hour, Next Day, Priority, Rush and Expedited. It requires approximately two weeks for processing and the passport is mailed directly to the parent or parents.
The necessary form, DS-11 – Application for a US pass port renewal, may be completed online and then printed or it may be downloaded, printed and then completed by hand. Form DS-11 is also available at a passport agency or from an Acceptance Facility. It is important not to sign the form until instructed to do so.
An infant passport is valid for five years and cannot be renewed. The application cannot be submitted in the mail, it must be in person. The baby must be present at the time of submission of the application.
Requirements for the two passport photographs are rather stringent. They need to be 2 inches by 2 inches in size with a white or whitish background. The head size has to be between 1 and 1.375 inches with no had or anything else worn on the head. It must be taken no more than six months before the date of the application.
The look on the child’s face must be natural. This means there can be no smiling, laughing, screaming or crying. Their mouth must be shut and must not contain a pacifier or anything else. The child should face the camera straight on and looking directly at it. Nothing apart from the infant can be visible in the photo. This includes the parent’s hands, face or arms. There cannot even be a car seat in the picture. It may be easier to pay extra and have this done by a professional photographer.
The infant’s parents must provide proof of their own American citizenship. This can be a naturalization certificate, a valid passport, a Consular Report of Birth, a certificate of citizenship or a certified birth certificate.