According to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, every child 17 or under (this means all children, even infants and newborns) must have a valid passport among other official documents to leave the United States no matter where they are traveling even to Europe. Also, European countries require that all minors have passports from their home countries to enter their borders.
Due to many child abductions over international borders by parents, relatives and strangers, stringent requirements have been put in place to protect minors.
To receive a minor passport, there is an application process to complete, documents to provide and additional documents that will need to accompany the passport to be shown to a custom agent before leaving the country. To obtain a passport for a minor child the process is as follows:
Minors aged 16 and 17 have their own special set of requirements in addition to the basic passport application process:
- They must be present at the time of application
- They must present photo identification
- If the minor does not have photo ID of their own, the guardian or parent must present their photo identification
- A photocopy of the same identification document must be provided during the application process
- Parental or guardian consent must be established
For minors below age 16 there is a seven step process that must be followed to be issued a minor passport:
Step 1: Submit the completed and signed Form DS-11 Application for A U.S. Passport. To complete and submit this form the minor must:
- Be present with both guardians/parents
- Provide additional documents required on the DS-11 form (Listed in steps 2-7)
- Provide the minor’s SSN
For Steps 2-7 of the U.S. Passport process visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
Once the process for your minor child’s passport is completed, it is now time to think about travel insurance, which is highly recommended when traveling with children. When out of your own country, such as in Europe, accidents can happen and you need to be covered in case you or your child needs medical treatment. You wouldn’t go without insurance for your family here in the U.S., why put yourself at risk outside your home country. Travel medical insurance can cover transportation to the hospital, treatment while at the hospital or medical facility and medical evacuation if you or your child needs to be transported back to the United States for treatment.