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Posted on January 23, 2024

Do Both Parents Need to be Present for Their Child’s Passport Application in New York?

Navigating the complexities of child passport applications can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially when it comes to understanding the importance of both parents’ involvement and the legal requirements for parental consent. In this article, we delve into the critical aspects of the child passport application process in New York, including the necessary documents, submission procedures, and situations where both parents are not required for completing the application.

Having the guidance of a skilled New York family lawyer can make a world of difference in understanding and addressing any potential legal issues surrounding the application process, ensuring that your child’s best interests are protected. Call the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum today at (646) 259-3416 to learn more about how our team of experienced New York family law attorneys can help you navigate the child passport application process smoothly and efficiently.

Importance of Both Parents in a Child’s Passport Application

The involvement and consent of both parents during a child’s passport application process is crucial for various reasons. Both parents are considered legal guardians of their children, meaning that both parties have equal say in making decisions relating to their child’s wellbeing. This includes travel permissions and passport applications, which require legal consent from both parents to ensure the child’s safety and prevent parental child abduction.

In New York, passport applications for minors require the consent of both parents or legal guardians. This legal requirement ensures that both parents are aware of, and agree to, their child traveling abroad with a passport. Parental consent is especially important when a child is traveling alone or with only one parent.

For instance, in the United States, both parents must provide consent for a child under 16 years of age to obtain a passport. If one parent cannot be present during the passport application process, they must submit a notarized consent form (Form DS-3053) granting permission for the child to obtain a passport. In cases where one parent has sole legal custody, that parent must submit documents proving their custodial rights.

The Two-Parent Consent Law was established in response to increased international parental child abductions. The law requires both parents to provide consent for a child’s passport application to ensure that children are not wrongfully removed from their home country by a single parent.

The law states that both parents must appear in person at a passport acceptance facility with the necessary identification, passport photos, and evidence of their relationship to the child. In cases where one or both parents cannot attend, a signed and notarized consent form or court documents granting one parent sole custody and authority to apply for the child’s passport must be provided.

The Two-Parent Consent Law creates a system of checks and balances to reduce the risk of international child abductions and ensures both parents have a say in their child’s international travel.

Child Passport Application Process in New York

Applying for a child’s passport in New York may seem like a daunting task, but following the proper steps and gathering the required documents can make the process smooth and efficient. We cover the important aspects of the child passport application process in New York, including the required documents, where to submit the application, and situations where both parents are not needed to complete the application.

Required documents for application

To apply for a child passport in New York, you will need to gather several documents before proceeding with the application process. Here’s a list of documents that you will need:

  • Form DS-11: This is the standard passport application form for the United States. You can download it from the U.S. Department of State’s website, sign it at the time of submission, and provide all the details about the child, such as name, date of birth, place of birth, and social security number.
  • Proof of citizenship: To apply for a child’s passport, you must provide proof of U.S. citizenship. Acceptable documentation includes a certified copy of the child’s U.S. birth certificate or a previous U.S. passport. Wait until you get a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate before applying for the passport.
  • Proof of relationship: You also need to provide documentation proving a relationship between the child and parents. Typically, the child’s U.S. birth certificate, including the names of both parents, will serve as sufficient proof. If the child was born outside the United States, you can provide a foreign birth certificate, adoption decree, or court order establishing custody or guardianship.
  • Parental identification: Parents must present valid identification when submitting the child’s passport application. This could include a U.S. passport, driver’s license, military ID, or government employee ID. Parents also need to submit photocopies of the front and back of their identification along with the application.
  • Passport photos: You must submit 2×2-sized passport photos of the child, taken within six months of the application date. 
  • Payment: The child passport application fee must be paid at the time of submission, which currently stands at $115 for a minor passport book.
Required Documents for Child Passport Application Details
Form DS-11 Standard passport application form for the United States.
Proof of citizenship Certified copy of the child’s U.S. birth certificate or previous U.S. passport.
Proof of relationship Child’s U.S. birth certificate, foreign birth certificate, adoption decree, or court order.
Parental identification Valid identification of both parents, such as U.S. passport, driver’s license, or military ID.
Passport photos Two 2×2-sized passport photos of the child, taken within six months of the application date.

Where to submit the application

In New York, you can submit a child passport application at a U.S. Passport Acceptance Facility. There are many locations throughout the state, including post offices, courthouses, and public libraries. Some facilities require appointments, while others allow walk-ins. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to find the closest facility and verify their hours and appointment requirements.

In case of urgent travel plans, you may apply for an expedited service by providing proof of imminent international travel. This service has an additional fee, and you must apply in person at a U.S. Passport Agency or Center. The nearest location in New York is the New York Passport Agency, located at 376 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014.

Parental Exceptions and Special Circumstances

In most cases, both parents should be present when submitting the child’s passport application. However, there are circumstances where only one parent is needed. These include:

In case you are the sole custodian of your child and need to provide supporting paperwork for your child’s passport application, there are various types of documents you can use. These documents may include:

  • a complete court order that grants you full legal custody, like a divorce decree or any other custody order. 
  • a detailed court order that specifically allows you to apply for your child’s passport (a photocopy is acceptable) can serve as evidence. 
  • a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate that lists you as the only parent
  • a certified copy of an adoption decree with you as the sole parent.
  • a certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence for the other parent who cannot appear in person, or 
  • a certified copy of the death certificate of the parent who cannot be present.

If you find yourself as the sole legal custodian of your child, the authority to make decisions regarding your child’s passport rests solely with you, and you do not require the consent of the other parent. To navigate the process of obtaining a passport for your minor child smoothly, it is essential to meticulously handle the submission of all required documentation along with evidence demonstrating your sole legal authority.

For a parent with sole legal custody, a personal appearance is mandatory when applying for the minor’s passport. During this appearance, you must sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent. A crucial aspect of this process involves submitting primary evidence that confirms your exclusive authority to apply for your child’s passport. The following documents are accepted as proof of sole custody for minors:

  • The minor’s certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate, clearly indicating only the applying parent’s name.
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) that expressly identifies the custodian as the sole legal guardian.
  • A court order that grants sole custody to the applying parent, with the exception of situations where the child’s travel is restricted according to the provisions of the said order.
  • A decree of adoption applies when the applying parent is the sole adopting parent.
  • A court order expressly permitting the parent or guardian applying for it to travel with the child.
  • A formal acknowledgment of the non-applying parent’s legal incapacity.
  • Official documentation confirming the death of the non-applying parent.

Each of these documents serves as crucial evidence of your exclusive legal standing, ensuring a successful application process for your minor child’s passport. 

Navigating the intricate requirements for obtaining a passport under the proof of sole legal custody can be complex, but a skilled New York family law attorney can provide invaluable assistance. At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, our experienced attorneys can guide you through the necessary documentation, offer sound legal advice, and advocate for your rights as the sole custodian. Contact us to schedule a consultation and secure your child’s travel documentation with confidence.

One Parent Unable to Appear

In cases where a child’s passport application cannot be accompanied by one of their parents or guardians, the absent party can grant consent by filling out Form DS-3053, known as the “Statement of Consent.” 

To proceed, the parent or guardian who is unable to attend must:

  • Sign and date Form DS-3053 while in the presence of a certified notary public, and
  • Include a photocopy of both the front and back sides of the identification they presented to the notary public along with Form DS-3053.

Other Parent Cannot be Located

In instances where the other parent cannot be reached or located, form DS-5525, known as the “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances,” must be submitted.

  • Make sure to provide as much information as possible on the form.
  • Additional evidence will be required, such as a custody order, incarceration order, or restraining order to prevent international parental child abduction.
  • If the non-applying parent is on military deployment, they should generally be able to supply a notarized Form DS-3053. However, in the rare instance that they are unreachable, you must either provide military orders and a Form DS-5525, which indicates that the non-applying parent is on a special assignment for over 30 days outside their duty station and cannot be contacted, or submit a signed statement from the non-applying parent’s commanding officer stating that they are unavailable.

Neither Parent Able to Appear

To obtain a child’s passport, a third party can submit a Form DS-3053, also known as a “Statement of Consent,” or a notarized statement from both parents/guardians granting permission for the third party to apply for the passport on behalf of the child. The statement should include a copy of the parents/guardians’ identification. However, if the statement is provided by only one parent/guardian, the third party must provide proof of sole custody of the consenting parent/guardian.

Keeping Track of Application Status

To ensure your child’s passport application runs smoothly, it is recommended to check the status regularly. You can track the progress of the application online or by phone. Be sure to have your child’s full name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number handy when checking the application status.

Additionally, it’s essential to keep in mind that processing times for passports can vary depending on factors like application volume and the time of year. Remember to plan accordingly and apply well in advance of any planned international travel.

Renewing a Child’s Passport

All minor passports have a validity of five years, so it is necessary to renew your child’s passport when it expires. A child under 16, accompanied by both parents, must be present to renew their passport.

If the child’s last passport was issued when they were under 5, provide 1-2 photos per year from the issuance date to the present, demonstrating how their appearance has changed (casual or family photos are acceptable).

To renew the passport, follow these steps:

  • Schedule an ACS appointment.
  • Complete the DS-11 form online and bring it to the interview.
  • Bring the child’s current U.S. Passport (original and a copy of the front page).
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship (original and a copy): U.S. Birth Certificate or CRBA.
  • Present the parent’s proof of identity (original and a copy of the front page): a valid government-issued ID, such as a foreign passport, driver’s license, or ID card.
  • Bring one photo.
  • Include the child’s SSN on the application. If they don’t have one, you would need to fill out a form with a specific statement indicating that they have never been issued an SSN.
  • Pay the required passport services fee.

Obtaining a child’s passport in New York requires careful consideration of various legal requirements, including the involvement and consent of both parents. The Two-Parent Consent Law, in particular, plays a vital role in ensuring the child’s safety and preventing international child abductions. By understanding the necessary documents, submission procedures, and exceptions for parental involvement, parents can navigate the child passport application process with relative ease. 

Enlisting the help of a skilled New York family lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of the passport application process. At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, our team of skilled New York family law attorneys may be able to help ensure that your passport application is handled smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to obtain the necessary travel documents without unnecessary delay or frustration. Contact us today at (646) 259-3416 to schedule a consultation.

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