Before our oldest was born, we knew we had a family reunion in Thailand when he’d be 6 months old and that we’d need to get him a passport. Having only gotten passports for ourselves (and it had been quite a few years) we had to do a bit of research to figure out how to get one for a baby. We ended up having to drive to a neighborhood far away in order to get it in on time.
When our youngest was 2 months old, we decided to plan a trip to Europe for when he’d be 6 months old. We went online to look for the form. I found one here. I was able to fill it out on my computer and then print it. Then, I searched online to figure out which post offices near me accepted passports and had to check appointment days/times to see what worked with my family. The hardest part was NOT SIGNING the form until we got to the Post Office to apply.
After we had the form filled out (but not signed) I took some passport photos of my baby. We have white bed sheets on our bed, so I just pulled the covers off the bed and laid my son down. To avoid shadows on his face, we just used daylight and a flash on my iPhone. We took several photos so we’d have options, as passport photos can be really specific. Here are passport photo guidelines. My husband found this website to be especially helpful when printing the passport photos at home.
Our experience at the post office was meh. We waited in line for 10 minutes past our appointment time. We had our 3-year-old and our baby with us. There wasn’t enough room for us all to be at the counter at the same time, so it was cramped. The appointment took about 20 minutes. At then end, we were asked for a check for the passport fee. We didn’t bring it with us, but thankfully we were able to get a money order for a small fee.
6 Things to Know:
- You cannot apply online. Yes this is 2017 and one of the few things you cannot take care of online.
- You can take your own photo. According to the U.S. Department of State, “When taking photos of newborns and infants, please make sure no other person is in the photo, and the child is looking at the camera (preferably with his/her eyes open, not required for infants and newborns). For infants and newborns, lay the child on his/her back on a white blanket or sheet to ensure his/her head is supported without the aid of a hand. Make sure there are no shadows on the child’s face if you are taking the picture from above. Alternatively, cover a car seat with a plain white sheet and take a picture of your child in the car seat.”
- You can apply at your local post office. Many post offices have someone there who can process passport applications. They have very limited hours and you may need to make an appointment, so check here first.
- Both parents should be present. This was tricky for us because most appointments are during the work day for a few hours. You can have a notarized letter if a parent is unable to be present, but that can also be just as tricky
- Submit an official copy of your baby’s birth certificate. You can’t submit a photocopy. The birth certificate will be returned to you separately from the passport.
- Bring a checkbook. They only accept checks and money orders for the passport fee.