With the school year coming to a close, it’s time for summertime vacations. There are special considerations for single divorced parents traveling with their children – especially if the summer plans include International travel. Children of all ages are required to have a valid passport when traveling to other countries. A passport card is acceptable for travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. A passport book is required for International air travel. A Nexus card is also acceptable for travel between the U.S. and Canada.
Currently, the U.S. Department of State estimates that the “normal” passport application process is taking between 4-6 weeks. Expedited is three weeks. Be aware that for divorced parents with special circumstances, this process may take longer. A child’s passport book costs about $105 or a book and card, for $120. A passport card costs $40. Expedited Passport Service costs $60. Joining Nexus costs $50.
Applying for Passport for Minor
For all children, a passport application (Form DS-11) must be submitted in person to a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility. The child and both parents or guardians must be present. To prove U.S. Citizenship, bring a birth certificate or prior passport. Parents must also bring Evidence of the Parental Relationship in the form of a birth certificate, adoption decree or custody decree. The parent (and child, if possible) must show valid photo ID and submit a photocopy of the ID. Submit one 2×2” passport photo. Check out the U.S. Department of State website for more passport application requirements.
For divorced parents, the custodial parent applying for the child’s passport must submit the Statement of Consent form (DS-3053) signed and Notarized by the other parent. This form explains why the parent is unable to be present for the application and gives permission to the custodial parent to apply for the child’s passport. For custodial parents who are unable to obtain a signed DS-3053 form from the other parent, there is a Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances form (DS-5525) that allows the applying parent to “explain in detail the non-applying parent’s or guardian’s unavailability and recent efforts made to contact the non-applying parent. You may also be required to provide evidence (e.g., custody order, incarceration order, restraining order) to document your claim of exigent or special circumstances,” according to the U.S. Department of State.
Sole Legal Custody
“If the child only has one parent/guardian, evidence of sole authority to apply for the child must be submitted with the application in the form of a:
- Court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent (unless child’s travel is restricted by that order)
- A court order specifically permitting the applying parent to apply for the child’s passport
- Judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent
- Death certificate of the non-applying parent
- Photocopies and notarized copies are unacceptable” – according to the U.S. Department of State.
The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP)
“The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) allows parents to register their U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 in the department’s Passport Lookout System” according to Portland Family article, “The Divorced Parents’ Guide to Travel.”
“If a passport application is submitted for a child who is enrolled in CPIAP, the Department attempts to alert the parent or parents to verify whether the parents approve passport issuance,” according to the U.S. Department of State.
For concerns about International Parental Child Abduction, contact a family law attorney like Kathryn Wayne-Spindler to find out what preventative measures can be taken to ensure the safety of all children in the family.