Passport requirements for minors and first time applicants
Information for getting a passport the first time – adults and minors
A passport is an important travel document you’ll need to explore the world. Every traveler needs one – even babies. As you would expect the government wheels turn slowly, so like with most government dealings you’ll want to allow as much time as possible to get passports for your kids. It isn’t hard to get one if you follow the rules. Here are all the details you’ll need to get a passport for everyone in the family – even minors, before heading out on your family vacation!
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – Photos
You’ll need a set of passport photos. They need to be a certain size and your head need to be a certain percentage of the photo. The best and easiest way to get your passport photo taken correctly is to go to a place that advertises ‘Passport Photos’ and pay for them. You can get the photos at some post offices and drug stores like Walgreens.
Since the post office in our area always has a mille long line I just took my kids to Walgreens. It was super easy, fast, and inexpensive.
Your passport application can be denied if the passport photo isn’t ‘just right’ so get your photos done correctly the first time!
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – Application
Once you get the perfect photo you’ll need to fill out the application.
***DO NOT SIGN THE APPLICATION YET**
Step One: Print the DS-11 application for passport from the State Department website.
Step Two: Fill out application but DO NOT SIGN yet. It needs to be signed when you apply in person.
Step Three: Photo copy proof of identity and citizenship documents such as a certified US birth certificate and driver’s license. See full list of document options.
**It is a good idea to take more than one type of documentation just in case.**
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – Where to Apply
If you have more than three weeks before you travel – go to the Post Office.
Don’t choose any post office. You need one that offers passport services. Check the hours for those passport services. You might need an appointment.
If you have less than two weeks before you travel – go to the US Department of State Passport Agency.
Make an appointment and take a good book, and your patience because you might have to wait. When we got first time passports for the kids in Tulsa, OK, the entire process took 7 minutes. When we had to get passports renewed for kids (which is required every 5 years) in Austin, it took 4 hours. 4 HOURS and we had an appointment. Ugh. Take a book – you never know what you’ll encounter. Better yet – take a travel guide and do some daydreaming about the trip you’ll go on with your new passport!
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – What does it cost?
Considering the amount of money you’ll spend to USE the passport to travel, the passport itself is really inexpensive. Expect to pay:
Adult – $110 PLUS $25 execution fee PER passport
Child – $80 PLUS $25 execution fee PER passport
Photos – about $10 each
Shipping – Depends on how fast you want to get them
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – How can I pay?
You need to pay with Cash or Money Order. NO DEBIT CARDS OR CREDIT CARDS.
AND – YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THE PASSPORT AND THE EXECUTION FEE SEPARATELY.
So, you’ll need one cash/money order to pay for the passports and another cash/money order to pay for the execution fee.
Be careful using a $ order because you’ll need the exact amount ahead of time. What if you make a mistake on the amount? AFTER you waited for your appointment? If you like to live dangerously and use a money order – make it out to “US Department of State”.
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – How Long will it Take?
IF you fill out all the forms correctly and your photo is perfect and the stars align it will take 2 – 3 weeks to get your passport. Don’t wait until the last minute!! Start as early as you can so that you can relax!
Passport Requirements for Minors and First Time Applicants – How Long does a Passport ‘last’?
A passport is good for an adult – 10 years and for kids – 5 years. Then you need to renew them.
Where are you traveling with your new passport? I’d love to hear all about it. Drop me a line in the comment section.
If you are traveling with the kids, you’ll be interested in ways to keep them happy and busy while you travel by plane or car!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist