If you are a single parent, you may be wondering what you need to prove parental consent for your child’s passport application. Today, we’ll look at the basic requirements for parental consent for passports for kids under age 16, and then break down what exactly would be needed in some specific scenarios.
Parental Consent: The Basics
The US State Department has firm rules in place for children’s passport applications. They will not issue a passport to a child under age 16 unless they have proof that all of the child’s parents and legal guardians want the child to get a passport. These rules are in place to prevent international child abduction.
There are two ways to prove parental consent for a minor passport. Parents and guardians can either:
- Go in person to the Passport Acceptance Facility along with the child, or
- Sign and notarize Form DS-3053, the “Statement of Consent.”
Please note that at least one parent/guardian must accompany the child to the Passport Acceptance Facility… and yes, the child does need to show up in person, too!
Now we’ll consider a few scenarios, and explain what parental consent requirements are needed for each. If you don’t see your situation listed below, contact us!
I’m divorced, and have full custody of my children. Do I still need parental consent from the non-custodial parent?
Yes, parental consent is needed from both parents, whether they have custody of the child or not.
My child doesn’t have a father listed on her birth certificate.
A single mother whose child does not have a father listed on the birth certificate doesn’t need to get parental consent from the father. All that is needed is for the mother to take the child in person to the Passport Acceptance Facility.
My child’s father is deceased.
Widowed parents will need to bring an original copy of the death certificate to show why parental consent will be given by only one parent.
My child’s mother abandoned us, and I have no way of contacting her.
If you have no way of getting consent from your child’s other parent — either because you cannot locate them, or because they are imprisoned or incapacitated, or because they are overseas and you need to get your child a passport urgently — you have the option of filing Form DS-5525, the “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances.” On this form, you’ll explain why it’s not possible for you to get consent from the other parent. If you hold sole custody of your child, you should also submit original or certified copies of your court documents granting you custody.
I adopted my child.
You will need to provide an original or certified copy of the adoption decree, along with your child’s birth certificate.
I’m remarried. Can my current husband give his consent, as the stepfather?
No, stepparents can not give parental consent for a child’s passport application, and do not need to. Parental consent must still be given by both parents who are listed on the birth certificate.
I am the legal guardian of a child whose parents have had their parental rights terminated by the court.
Please bring an original or certified copy of the guardianship order that shows that the biological parents no longer hold parental rights. You’ll also need the child’s original birth certificate.
I am a foster parent, and would like to get my foster child a passport so he can join us on a family trip.
This one is going to be tricky! Fostering a child is a form of temporary guardianship. Unless the child’s parents have permanently lost their parental rights, they will need to give their consent for the passport application. This will include having at least one parent go with the child to the Passport Acceptance Agent.
I’m worried that my child’s other parent will take him out of the US without my consent. Is there any way to ensure that my child can not be issued a passport?
Parents or guardians who are concerned about the possibility of international child abduction can request to be enrolled in the “Child’s Passport Issuance Alert Program” by filing a form with the State Department.