How To Apply For A Passport For A Baby

One of the perks of my job as a meeting planner is the opportunity to travel all over the world. When we had Aiden, Dan and I knew that we wanted to bring him to some of the destinations I visit. The good thing about traveling with a baby is that when they are under two they can travel for free. We tried to take advantage of that during Aiden’s first year and did a few trips within the US. This year, we are heading to Montreal, Canada so that opened up a new complication because in order to travel internationally a baby needs a passport. This post is all about getting a passport for a baby.

If you want to travel internationally with your baby or toddler you will need a passport. Check out these tips for applying for a passport for a baby.

Getting a passport for a baby seemed overwhelming. If you have gone through the process yourself you know that there are some strict standards for how the picture must look and I was not very confident that any Joe at CVS would take a picture of my squirmy baby that would work for an official passport photo.

Luckily, we have some friends who travel internationally frequently with their baby so we asked them for some advice. They were able to recommend a place that is experienced in taking passport photos for babies. That is my number one tip. Find someone experienced who has taken passport photos for babies multiple times and is comfortable doing it.

A good place to start might be the US Post Office because they take so many. You can even have them do it on the day you apply. I chose not to do this because I was nervous that Aiden wouldn’t cooperate…I didn’t want to lose the appointment!

Once you have the pictures done it’s fairly easy to do the rest. You will need to schedule an appointment at an official passport office or a United States Post Office that does passports. Make sure you call well before your trip because it could take several weeks to get an appointment. We got lucky and called right after someone cancelled and got an appointment two weeks after I called. Be prepared that both parents must be present with the baby. If one parent is not available you have to get a certified letter.

Make sure you confirm everything you need for the appointment when you schedule. You don’t want to show up and find out you don’t have something.  We brought:

  1. Original birth certificate for Aiden
  2. Copies of Dan and my birth certificates
  3. Copies of valid US driver’s license for Dan and me
  4. A completed application. We filled out form DS-11. This form is for first time applicants or first time/renewals for children under 16.
  5. Checkbook. Although it says online that they accept credit cards we were told once we got there that paying by check is easier. We had to write two. One for the services of USPS and one for the actual passport application fee.

They take all the original documents and about a month later we received two letters. One with the passport and one with Aiden’s documents.

If you want to travel internationally with your baby or toddler you will need a passport. Check out these tips for applying for a passport for a baby.

The hardest part of applying for a passport for a baby or toddler is definitely the picture. Once you’ve gotten that done the rest is pretty easy. Don’t forget that your baby’s passport will only be valid for five years (instead of 10 like an adult’s passport).

Did you ever have to apply for a passport for a baby? What was your experience?

If you liked this post check out Baby on Vacation — Packing and  Baby on Vacation — Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

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If you want to travel internationally with your baby or toddler you will need a passport. Check out these tips for applying for a passport for a baby.
If you want to travel internationally with your baby or toddler you will need a passport. Check out these tips for applying for a passport for a baby.

About Melissa

Hi, I’m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby Aiden Milo (born November 2015), and a police wife to my husband Dan. I started this blog because, after having Aiden, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the er-lovely (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Considering we may have more kids in the future, I want to document everything we do, so we remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!
  • My kids both have passports, and it was such a pain to get. We took the pic at the post office, but then my sons pic was rejected so we had to go back. I feel like we just got them, and they are only good for 5 years so they expire like next year! ( we got them in 2013) plus if your passport is within6 months of expiring, they might not let you leave the country!

    • Melissa

      Hi Harmony, that is exactly what I was afraid of with the picture — they reject them for the smallest things!! I am glad it worked out though and great point with the six-month expiration point! Good luck with the renewal — hopefully getting a picture will be easier this time around. Do you know if you have to apply in person again or if you can renew through the mail like an adult?

  • I never even thought about how challenging it would be to get a passport for a baby. I don’t even have my own passport because the two times I’ve left the country have been cruises to Mexico and you just need birth certificates for that. I think my kids will probably be in elementary school or older before we ever get them a passport so hopefully that process will be easier.

    • Melissa

      Hi Jordan, I think the process will be the same — but you willl have a much easier time with the picture I think! That was the biggest stress for me!

  • Victoria Sharp

    Hmm this is interesting. We just went on a international cruise with our 6 month old and they only wanted a birth certificate. They told us a passport is unnecessary. But, these are great tips for when we travel again soon.

    • Melissa

      That is so lucky! I know to fly you definitely have to have the passport! It’s good to have just in case either way :0)

  • Dana Fridenstine

    Absolutely adorable pictures! I have never needed a passport so I never realized what all goes with getting one for a baby!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Dana! It is definitely a process LOL but not as hard as I thought it would be.

  • Alyssa Tyghter

    My kids are 4, 2 and 8-months and I haven’t gotten them passports yet. Truth be told, I haven’t renewed mine since I last travelled before my daughter was born… sad but true. It’s definitely time to get everyone’s passports in order so we can eventually take a little family trip.

    • Melissa

      I don’t think I would get my son a passport if we weren’t planning to leave the country; however, it is nice to have in case you have the chance to go somewhere and don’t have a ton of time to actually get the passport!

  • Sara DeLoe

    Thank you for all of this info! I’ve never gotten a passport before, but my husband and I were hoping to take a family trip someday.

    • Melissa

      Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by! I hope you do get to take a trip — where would you like to go? :0)

  • Jackie Lindsay

    Thanks for sharing, this is super helpful. It’s always nice to know what’s required before getting into something, especially with little ones!

    • Melissa

      I agree Jackie! I always like to read about what to expect, but sometimes I can’t find helpful information so that is what I *try* to do!