International Matrimonial Law

5 essential tips to obtain your child’s passport

By October 17, 2017 No Comments

Betty Moore Sandler, IAFL, Partner with Nichols Zauzig Sandler, P.C.

With the holidays approaching, many families travel internationally. If your child will be traveling outside the U.S. for the first time, know the rules about passports. The requirements are strict, whether the family goes together, or just one parent accompanies the child.

Even infants need passports

A passport is required of all children, regardless of age, including infants. Both parents must take part in the issuance of a passport for the child.

Abduction is the concern

Concerns about parental abduction are the main reasoning behind passport regulations involving both parents. These five essential tips will help ensure the correct procedures are being followed in obtaining a passport for your minor child in Northern Virginia.

5 tips for obtaining your child’s passport

  • Minors must appear with at least one of their parents or guardian in person to apply for a passport. The timing of your trip will determine the best location—U.S. post offices, clerk of court offices or Department of State Passport Agency are some options.

  • For speediest handling of the application, both parents, whether married or not, should appear with the child when the application is submitted.

  • You must submit evidence that lists you as the parent of the child applying for a passport. Examples of documents that may be used as evidence of parental relationship are:

                        U.S. birth certificate

                        Foreign birth certificate

                        Adoption decree

                        Divorce/Custody decree

                        Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen (FS-240)

  • If one parent is unable to be physically present, applications will be accepted if the absent parent completes the State Department Form: DS-3053: Statement of Consent and signs it in front of a notary and provides it to be turned in with the application.

  • If the child has two parents/guardians, but one is absent and cannot be located to provide parental consent in a timely manner, the applying parent must submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances.  The applying parent also may be required to provide evidence (e.g., custody order, incarceration order, restraining order) to document his/her claim of exigent or special circumstances. To protect against international parental child abduction, the Passport Agency processing the application may ask for additional details if the statement is determined to be insufficient.

Don’t want your child to go?

If one parent does not wish the child to travel outside the country or be permitted to obtain a passport, it is important to contact an attorney with international family law experience.  Complex domestic law, international implications and abduction concerns are legitimate concerns in such instances.

Seek an attorney with international credentials

If you are in the midst of passport issues for your child, take the crucial step of seeking advice from a family lawyer with the international expertise, as indicated by the IAML designation. Fellows of the International Association of Family Lawyers (IAFL) are required to possess extensive experience and knowledge in the matters of international family law. Contact me at Nichols Zauzig Sandler, P.C. at 703-492-4200 or email using the form on this page.