How to Get Your Child’s Passport as a Single Mom

What mom doesn’t want to show her kids the world? I a a firm believer that giving them front row seats to see the world is the best gift a mom can give a child. It opens their eyes to new ways of thinking and challenges their current beliefs. For many of us single moms, traveling can be a little tricky. Below you will find the steps to apply for a passport for your child as a single parent. As single parents we know all about finding a way and making things happen. Hopefully this will help!


How to Apply

1. Fill Out Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport

There is a great new feature called the form filler. USE IT!

The Form Filler will select the correct form for you based on the information you input. It may generate a different form from what you expect. Do not sign your child’s application until instructed to do so by the acceptance agent. You must provide your child’s Social Security number, if they have been issued one. You may request a larger passport book with 52 pages for your child, at no additional cost, by checking the ’52 page’ box at the top of the DS-11.


2. Provide U.S. Citizenship Evidence

You must submit one of the following U.S. citizenship documents for your child. Your evidence must be an original or certified, physical copy. Photocopies and notarized copies are not acceptable.

  1. Fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired)

  2. U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:

  3. Issued by the city, county, or state of birth

  4. Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth

  5. Lists the parent(s)’ full names

  6. Has the date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)

  7. Has the registrar’s signature

  8. Has the seal of the issuing authority

  9. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth

  10. Certificate of Citizenship

Please note you cannot submit digital evidence of your child’s U.S. citizenship such as a mobile or electronic birth certificate. You must submit physical evidence of U.S. citizenship and a photocopy of the document. 


3. Bring a Photocopy of U.S. Citizenship Evidence

Submit a photocopy of the front (and back, if there is printed information) of the U.S. citizenship evidence you’re submitting.

Photocopies must be:

Legible On white 8.5”x11” standard paper Black and white Single-sided If you don’t want to submit a photocopy of your citizenship evidence, you may submit a second certified copy of your citizenship evidence, which we will keep. If you don’t submit a photocopy or a second certified copy of your citizenship evidence, your passport processing could be delayed.


4. Show Parental Relationship

You must submit documentation that lists the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child applying for a passport. The following may be used to show parental relationship:

  1. U.S. birth certificate (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)

  2. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth (also evidence of U.S. citizenship)

  3. Foreign birth certificate

  4. Adoption decree

  5. Divorce/Custody decree

Please note: Some documents, like a U.S. birth certificate, show both U.S. citizenship and parental relationship. These documents must be originals or certified copies (not photocopies).


5. Present ID

The parents/guardians must present one of the following identification documents (IDs) to the acceptance agent:

  1. In-state, fully-valid driver’s license

  2. Valid or expired, undamaged, U.S. passport

  3. Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship

  4. Government employee ID (city, county, state or federal)

  5. U.S. military ID or military dependent ID

  6. Valid foreign passport

  7. Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular Identification, commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant)

If you cannot present one of the IDs above, or for more information, please see Identification.

Please note:

  1. Some states now issue digital ID documents (also known as mobile driver’s licenses or mobile IDs). We cannot accept these digital IDs when you apply for your child’s U.S. passport. You must continue to submit your physical, photo ID and a photocopy of the ID.

  2. If you present an out-of-state ID, you must present an additional ID.


6. Bring a Photocopy of ID

Submit a photocopy of the front and back of each ID that you present to the acceptance agent.


  1. Photocopy must be on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11″ standard paper.

  2. Photocopy cannot be double-sided.

  3. Do not decrease the image size (although you may enlarge it).


7. Show Parental Consent

Both parents/guardians must authorize the issuance of the child’s passport. The best way to do this is for both parents/guardians to go with the child in person to apply for the passport.

What if both parents/guardians cannot appear in person?

If…Then…You have sole legal authorityYou must submit evidence of this with the application. Examples include:Complete court order granting you sole legal custody of the child, such as a divorce decree or other custody orderComplete court order specifically permitting you to apply for your child’s passport (photocopy is acceptable)Certified copy of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the only parent Certified copy of an adoption decree listing you as the only parentCertified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence of the parent that cannot appear in personCertified copy of the death certificate of the parent that cannot appear in personOne parent unable to appearIf one parent/guardian cannot go with the child to apply for the passport, they can give permission by completing Form DS-3053 “Statement of Consent.” You must submit the completed form with the child’s passport application. The parent that cannot go with the child must:Sign and date Form DS-3053 in the presence of a certified notary public, andSubmit a photocopy of the front and back side of the ID that they present to the notary public with Form DS-3053.Please note: In certain countries, a DS-3053 must be notarized at a U.S. embassy or consulate and cannot be notarized by a local notary public. Currently, these countries are Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen.You cannot locate the other parentYou must submit Form DS-5525Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances.”Please complete the form with as much detail as possible.We will ask for additional evidence. Examples include: a custody order, an incarceration order, or a restraining order to protect against international parental child abduction. If the non-applying parent is deployed by the military, he or she should be able to provide a notarized Form DS-3053 in most cases. In the rare case that the non-applying parent cannot be contacted, you must provide either military orders with a Form DS-5525 showing the non-applying parent can’t be contacted because they are on a special assignment for more than 30 days outside of their duty station OR a signed statement from the non-applying parent’s commanding officer that they can’t be reached. Neither parent able to appearA third party may apply for the child’s passport with a notarized statement from both parents/guardians giving that third party permission to apply for the child.The statement must include a photocopy of the parents/guardians’ identification. When the statement is from only one parent/guardian, the third party must present evidence of sole custody of the consenting parent/guardian.

Please Note: Written authorization from the parent that cannot appear in person must be less than three months old.  


8. Provide a Photo

You must provide one photo of the child with the application.

Please note:

  1. Do not attach your photo to the form before submitting it to the acceptance agent.

  2. Some passport acceptance facilities provide photo services for an additional fee.

Tips for taking photos of infants and newborns:

  1. Lay the child on its back on a white blanket or sheet to ensure its head is supported without the aid of a hand.

  2. Alternatively, cover a car seat with a plain white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat.

  3. Please make sure no other person is in the photo.

  4. A photo with the child looking at the camera is preferred, although not required.

To avoid processing delays, be sure the photo meets all photo requirements.

9. Calculate Fees

Child Applicants:

ProductForm Application FeeExecution (Acceptance) FeePassport BookDS-11$80$35Passport CardDS-11$15$35Passport Book & CardDS-11$95$35

Please note: The application fee and the execution fee are paid separately.

For information on forms of payment and a full list of fees and services, please see Passport Fees.


10. Submit Your Completed Application

Inside the United States:

  1. You and your child must submit your completed application, including citizenship evidence, photocopy of ID, photo, and fees, in person at a passport acceptance facility.

  2. Your child may be eligible to apply in person at a passport agency if you are traveling soon. Please see Get a Passport in a Hurry for more information.

Outside the United States:

Please contact your U.S. Embassy and Consulate for how to submit your child’s documents, since processes vary.

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