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Ask the Consul

I want to apply for my child’s U.S. passport. Is it true that both parents must attend the passport interview?

October 17, 2011

Under U.S. law, the consent of both parents and/or legal guardians is required for U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16.  In most cases, both parents should attend the passport interview, and sign the passport application form (DS-11) in front of the Consular Officer.

In some cases, both parents may not be able to attend the passport interview, such as when one parent is living in the United States.  In these cases, the parent who is not able to attend the interview must provide a signed and notarized consent form (DS-3053) and a copy of their photo identification. If a third party (grandparent, uncle, neighbor) is applying for the passport, both parents should provide their notarized consent, copies of their photo identification, and a notarized affidavit authorizing the third party to apply for the child’s passport.  The written consent forms must be less than three months old. If the consent is notarized in the Dominican Republic, the document must also be legalized by the District Attorney’s Office (Procuraduria General) and by the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cancilleria).

In rare circumstances, a passport may be issued with the consent of only one parent.  The parent must provide proof during the passport interview that they have sole custody of their child, such as the death certificate of the non-applying parent, a birth certificate or adoption decree with only one parent named, or a court order granting sole custody to the applying parent.  If none of the above documentation is available, the applying parent must submit a statement of special family circumstances (Form DS-3053) stating why the non-applying parent's consent cannot be obtained, including the efforts made to contact them. Discretion on whether Form DS-3053 can be accepted lies solely with the Consular Officer. This process can take time so plan well in advance of your trip. 

For more information, please visit http://travel.state.gov.