How to Get an Infant Passport

Infant Passport How to by Natalie Parker

Little T received his passport at 5 weeks old!  We already have a trip planned.  Getting an infant passport is detailed, but not difficult.

How to Get an Infant Passport

Visit the State Department website for instructions on minor passports.  Don’t take my word for it or any other blogger.  This site will have the most current requirements.

Again, it’s detailed but it’s not hard.  Read the information carefully and follow the steps.

State Department Step List

Important Things to Note

What you need to start the process: the birth certificate and the Social Security Number. We were at the city records office the first day the certificate was available and had the passport application filled out the moment Little T’s Social Security card arrived.

Same cost as adults but only 5-year validity.  Bummer, I know but those are the rules for minors.

Two forms of payment due.  You have to pay the State Department for the passport plus the facility that’s accepting your application, whether that is a post office or somewhere else.  You can’t write one check for everything.  The application wizard on the State Department site (called “Form Filler”) will tell you what you need to pay.

State Department FAQ

The child must appear when you apply.  You cannot file the application by yourself.

BOTH parents must appear to apply or you must have special documentation.  See the State Department site for details.  In most cases you will need a notarized form from the other parent or court documents if you have sole legal authority.  This is to make sure one parent isn’t taking the kid out of the country without the other’s consent.

Special rules for infant pictures.  Visit the State Department site for details.  But note that infants do not have to be looking directly at the camera, nor do their eyes have to be fully open.  Sometimes passport photo places don’t know these rules.

You can take the picture yourself.  Visit the State Department site for details and a video.  Check out these handy instructions as well.  We took Little T’s picture ourselves — we got a white sheet for his crib for this reason.

You can do it!  Even if you don’t have a trip planned, a passport is a handy thing to have.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

Travel Tips: Making Sure You Have the Right Visa

Passports by Natalie Parker

I’m the first person to say there are no rules of travel.

But there are a few “commandments,” if you will.  These are things that aren’t negotiable.  Here’s one:

You are responsible for having the right passport and visa for the place you want to visit.  Period.

Researching Your Visa Needs

Look into visas as early as possible.  Some countries issue visas on arrival.  Some let you apply and get an e-visa online.  Others require you to mail your passport to a consulate.  Still others require someone to apply in person at a consulate or pay someone to do that for you.

Here are my first steps:

Check Frommers.com:  Frommers has really basic visa information for most countries.  They can help you understand whether or not you need a visa and how difficult getting one will be.

Review the U.S. State Department Website:  With a page for every country, the site has more detailed information on requirements for Americans.  If you aren’t American, check with the counterpart in your country.

Confirm on the Country’s Website:  Do not Google this.  Do. Not. Google. This.  Some countries don’t have the best websites and if you Google it, it’s hard to tell if you have the actual government site or a snazzy-looking site run by a private company.  Link out through a reputable website, such as the U.S. State Department Website (even if you’re not American!).  Don’t believe me?  This is the official visa site for Cambodia.

Plan From There

Review timelines for the visa and when you plan to travel.  If you have to apply for a visa ahead of time, calendar a reminder.

Validity from Date of Issue:  Some countries, such as India, have visa validity from the date of visa issue, not when you travel.  This means you can’t apply right away but need to wait until closer to your trip to get it.

Do You Have to Send Your Passport?  If you need to send your passport in or drop it off at a consulate, make sure you plan for when you won’t be needing it.  We had a 4-month window between trips this summer and needed to ship our passports off for a visa to use at the end of the year.  I made sure we had our passports sent off to get the visa well before we left again.

Going Lots of Places?  Just plan it.  All countries have different rules and it can be confusing if you’re hitting a lot of places on your trip.  Just go over them one at a time, write it down, then plan what dates you need to do which things.

Other Important Things to Consider

Do You Have Enough Passport Pages?  Some countries require one full page or even two full pages.  Review the requirements and make sure you have enough pages.  We had extra pages added to our passports this summer to give us more wiggle room.

When Does Your Passport Expire?  Countries have rules about how long your passport has to be good for on your date of travel.  Six months is a good rule of thumb but check to make sure.  If your passport is close to expiring, they may not let you in.

Print E-Visas/Confirmations.  Even if the country issues e-visas and doesn’t require a printed visa, print it anyway.  Even if it’s just a confirmation page, print it.  You never know when an airport employee or border agent will ask for it.  Australia issues e-visas but when I got to the airport, the check-in agents didn’t understand that and didn’t want to check me in unless I could show them proof I had a visa.  Thank goodness I had the printout!

Even if you are paying someone to do it for you, you should still take the time to make sure you are following the rules.  Again, you are responsible for making sure you have the right visa and a border agent isn’t going to care if the tour operator said they’d take care of it.

This can be intricate, but it’s totally doable.  Just take the time to read up on what you need to know and you’ll be fine!