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Summer Travel Prep: Do You Have Your Children’s Passports?

If you have booked a trip by air to anywhere outside the United States, don’t forget that just like adults, your children will need to have a passport.  

If you already have your children’s passports but it expires in less than 6 months (children’s passports expire every 5 years), some countries will not let you enter.

So, how do you get one or renew a passport? 

passport

The government provides a comprehensive, easy-to-follow set of directions about this process so please check out their website for the latest updates.  Keep in mind that processing times are long: routine length is at least 4~6 weeks, expedited service is 3 weeks.  Plan ahead!

For a first passport OR if your child is under age 16, you need to apply in person.

Both parents or guardians must appear in person to provide consent for a minor.  If a parent is unable to appear in person, bring a notarized, signed Form DS-3053.  Or, if you are the sole parent, you will have to provide evidence of sole authority.

For urgent travel planned in less than 2 weeks, Arizona has one Passport Agency in Tucson.  However, for most of us, it’s a lot easier to plan ahead and go to a local Passport Acceptance Facility in the greater Phoenix area.  Search for a location closest to you HERE.

Costs will vary depending on where you apply.  A minor’s passport book can cost $80, plus a $25 execution fee.  Expedited service costs an additional $60, and overnight delivery costs an extra $14.85.  Bring a checkbook, as most locations will not accept credit cards.

We visited the City of Scottsdale Tax and License agency on Indian School Road.  We walked in just before 9am and had to wait less than 15 minutes.  It was a good thing we had to wait because despite being told multiple times to bring a checkbook, I forgot it and had to send my husband down the block to the CVS to get a Money Gram.  The ATM to get cash cost us $3 and the surcharge for the money order was $0.99, and luckily he wasn’t too annoyed!

WHAT TO BRING: 

  • Form DS-11 without signing it.  You will need to provide your child’s Social Security Number on this form as well.
  • Proof of US citizenship.  The easiest is to bring your child’s original birth certificate, or a previous passport.
  • Evidence of a parental relationship.  A copy of the birth certificate (or a certified copy) will serve that purpose as well. You can also provide a foreign birth certificate or an adoption decree.
  • Identification.  A parent’s current AZ driver’s license is an easy one.  Bring a photocopy of the front/back of both parent’s IDs to submit.
  • Passport photo.  There are very specific requirements, so you can look at the official website to do it yourself, or you can pay the $11 it takes to go to a CVS or Walgreens and have them do it for you.
  • Your checkbook.

If you want specific information about traveling by land to Mexico or Canada, or about a cruise that starts and ends at the same US port, visit the government’s page here because your children may not need a passport.

Happy travels!

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