Traveling with an infant brings unique challenges for first time parents. Car seats, diaper bags, changes of clothing and more become part of the new travel routine. Along with all of the standard baby gear, there may be one more thing to consider bringing along: an infant passport.
Passports are becoming increasingly important. Most borders cannot be crossed today without a passport, even the Mexican and Canadian borders. Infants are not exempt from this requirement. You cannot add an infant to a U.S. passport. Every citizen, including babies, must have his or her own passport. Anyone trying to cross a border with an infant who doesn't have a passport may be regarded with suspicion. Carrying a passport for an infant when you travel is just as important as carrying your own.
New parents often wonder when they should apply for an infant passport. The best answer is: as soon as possible. Obtaining a passport for an infant should be considered routine, just as applying for a birth certificate is. Even if you don't have international travel plans in your immediate future, it's still a good idea to apply for one. It usually takes about six weeks to have your application processed. Those who want to expedite the process and receive a passport in about two weeks can pay an extra fee of . However, by simply applying for it early on you can avoid this fee. You'll also avoid the stress of trying to obtain a passport while busy making travel plans.
Infant passports are obtained in the same manner as a child or adult passport. Infant passport applications may be downloaded from various travel service providers and government agencies. You may also obtain one in person from your local post office or immigration office. Infant passport requirements include:
*Presentation of your baby's birth certificate. If your child was born outside the United States, you must present the child's Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship along with the birth certificate.
*Two official passport photos. They must be regulation size (2 inches by 2 inches) and should be taken by a professional photographer. Home-produced photographs are not accepted.
*The application fee, which is . Remember, it will cost an extra if you need to obtain it faster than six weeks.
The baby need not appear in person to be granted a passport. However, the person applying for it must be able to vouch for the identity of the child and present his or her own identification. Infant passports are valid for five years.
Traveling aside, it's useful to obtain a passport for an infant for other reasons. It is often the only form of official picture ID that a baby can obtain. Sometimes picture ID is required for registering for preschool or kindergarten, or may even be required for some domestic airline flights. Having official picture identification for your child is never a bad idea. Applying for it right from the beginning may save parents from unforeseen trouble down the road.Applying For an Infant Passport