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Thread: How To Apply for a Child's Passport with One Parent Outside the US

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    How To Apply for a Child's Passport with One Parent Outside the US

    Guide to Getting your Child a Passport
    While the Other Parent is Outside the US
    updated 2/23/2012

    Yes, it is possible! The general directions for a minor's passport can seem overwhelming and don't give you much detail, so here's a more thorough guide, written from experience!


    We often encounter this problem on the forum: You are the parent of a US citizen child, and you need a passport for your newborn or child. The passport office says you need both parents to be present in the office to apply for the passport. But the other parent is banned or visa-less in another country and can't be present to apply. So you need to get his/her consent on a special form. How do you do this?

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    Here is the overview of how it works. Details follow.
    1. Foreign Parent obtains Consent Form DS-3053
    2. Foreign Parent fills it out
    3. Foreign Parent gets it notarized
    4. Foreign Parent sends it to US parent
    5. US parent gathers the remaining documentation, applies for the passport
    6. Passport processes, should arrive according to published processing times

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    Here's the breakdown:
    1. Get the Consent Form
    Have the foreign parent download the Statement of Consent form DS-3053. If they are unable to access the internet, the US parent can mail it, either using USPS (generally slower) or a courier service like DHL/FedEx/UPS (faster).


    2. Fill It Out
    The foreign parent must fill out sections 1, 2, and 3 ONLY (this can be done on the computer before printing the form).


    3. Get it Notarized
    The foreign parent must now take the form to a location where he/she can fill out section 4a in front of a notary who can then stamp it. This is where it gets tricky. While any local notary stamp, even in another country, is accepted by the US Department of State for a passport, some foreign notaries won't stamp the form without an official translation, and in fact in some countries (such as South Korea), it's illegal for them to stamp a document that's not in the country's official language.
    • Option 1 - The "simplest" option is to go to the nearest US consulate or embassy, where notarization is a regular consular service. In this case, no translation is needed since the consulate can conduct business in English. The US Dept of State now charges $50 per notarization stamp (this is as of Feb 2012). Some people used to report that their embassy/consulate stamped this form for free because it is a US govt document, but this only seems to happen now on certain occasions at the Mexico City embassy. If you choose this option, make sure the foreign parent checks with the consulate or embassy first, as many require an appointment to get notary services. Information on notarization is usually listed on the consulate's website.


    • Option 2 - You can get the document translated (which can cost upwards of $50 in a place like Mexico) and stamped by a local notary. Check with the notary first to find out what kind of translation they require. For example, in Mexico there is a difference between a regular translation and a translation by a Perito Traductor, a translator that has been legally certified by the government.You may get lucky and find a local notary who will stamp it without a translation. One member's husband found one such notary after a lot of searching, but they still charged $50, partly because an English-speaking secretary had to orally translate the form to the notary.

    In any case, at this step, your spouse fills out section 4a in front of the notary, and then the notary fills out and stamps section 4b.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    IMPORTANT: Ignore section 5, and inform your child's other parent to ignore it as well. This section only applies if the other parent is dead or has severed all parental rights. Note that some people claim it's possible to use this section to avoid involving the foreign parent at all, by stating on the form that the other parent's signature is not obtainable due to being out of the country. However, in several member's cases, this did not work, and the passport application was denied as a result. It's not recommended that you use section 5 unless you can establish that the other parent has terminated all parental interest in the child.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________

    4. Send the form to the US
    It's highly recommendable to use a document courier service, such as DHL, FedEx, UPS or the like. It will ensure the safe and speedy delivery of the consent form. The cost ranges from $30-40 US but it is worth the expense, especially if you're trying to get the child's passport in a hurry. Each of these has offices located all around the world. Consult their websites to find out where.


    5. Get the Application Prepared and Submitted
    Once you have the consent form finished, fill out the child's passport application form, DS-11 .

    Along with it, you need several other documents:
    • Photos - You will need to obtain passport photos of the child, even for an infant. Several members have found it easiest to do infant photos themselves with a white blanket, baby lying down comfortably, and a high-quality digital camera. It can be less stressful than doing it outside the home. If you do so, you can upload the resulting photo to a site like epassportphoto, where it will help you crop the photo and then it will generate a 4x6 sized sheet of six passport photos that you can have printed for super cheap at your local Walgreens, Wal-Mart, CVS, or other photo printing location. Be sure to review the requirements and tips for taking your own photo.


    • Birth Certificate - You need the child's birth certificate to submit as citizenship and proof of relationship evidence. There are some specific requirements about the contents of the birth certificate, so make sure you're getting the correct form of the birth certificate. You will also need his or her social security number to fill out the application form (a headache and sometimes a hold-up for the parent of a newborn).


    • US Parent's ID and a copy - The parent who goes in to apply needs to bring a valid ID and a copy of that ID. Be sure to follow the Dept of State guidelines on this.


    • Passport Fee and Processing Fees - See this page for current passport fees.

    Once you've got all that together, you can head to your nearest passport office. Check ahead of time, as some places require an appointment to apply for a passport. If your passport office is a US Postal office, this link has some useful information on how to go about applying there.

    Normally it takes about 4-6 weeks to process a passport. If you're in a really big hurry and are willing to drop some more cash on this process, there are a few extra options available, once you have the consent form ready to submit:
    • For an additional $60, you can expedite the application, for a turnaround of about 2-3 weeks.
    • You can pay for overnight shipping, so that you get the passport the day after they finish processing it.
    • If you already have flight tickets in hand and you are within 2 weeks of the travel date, you can schedule an appointment at a Passport Agency, pay the $60 expedite fee, and get the passport before the date you fly.

    6. Wait for the passport to arrive in the mail!
    Processing times vary. This page lists official processing times but often it takes less time than that. You can also track the passport's status.

    Once the passport arrives, you will likely need to watch the mail for a few more days, as they tend to send the identity/relationship evidence back separately.

    If you got that far, congratulations, and happy travels!

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    Regarding "Travel Consent Letters":
    In addition to a passport, when you travel internationally with a child whose parent is not traveling with you, you MAY be asked by authorities in either country to present a notarized consent letter from the other parent. There are several international agreements between various countries who vow to prevent international child abduction through measures like checking for this consent whenever a child is brought in or out. In reality, these agreements are not very well-enforced, but they are still enforced from time to time. For a full list of which countries are involved and to what extent, see this link. As a general rule, the safest thing is to travel with a consent letter. Even though the majority of the time, nobody ever has to present these letters, the spirit of the agreement says we should be, and there have been multiple instances reported on this forum where people WERE asked for these letters, whether by Mexican authorities or US authorities. Here is a link to a sample consent letter, both an English and a Spanish version. It is wise to have the foreign spouse print or obtain this letter along with the DS-3053 so that he/she can get both documents notarized at once. Only one consent letter is necessary (either English OR Spanish, not both), but both languages are provided there for those cases where a foreign notary won't stamp an English-language document.

    NOTE: If you will touch down in Canada at any time during your trip, you will need their specific consent letter, which can be found here, and you will need to get it notarized. Canada takes this issue very seriously. Some parents have reported getting through Canada just fine without the letter, or with one that wasn't notarized, but enough have experienced major hassles to make it very worthwhile to have one.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________

    Quick Links to Everything Mentioned Above:
    US Dept of State Info and Forms
    Passports for Minors Under Age 16
    Required Documentation for First-Time Applicants
    Statement of Consent form DS-3053
    Passport Application DS-11
    Birth Certificate Requirements
    Parent Photo ID requirements
    Current Processing Fees
    Current Processing Times
    Expedited Passport Procesing

    Locations
    US Embassy and Consulate Locations Abroad
    Passport Application Acceptance Offices
    Passport Agencies for Expedited Processing


    Photos
    Passport Photo Requirements and Tips (US Dept of State)
    ePassportPhoto.com

    Mailing Services
    DHL
    FedEx
    UPS

    US Postal Service (including info on applying for a passport through your post office)

    Sample Travel Consent Letter in English and Spanish
    Official Canadian Travel Consent Letter
    Last edited by Los G; 07-27-2012 at 12:54 AM. Reason: adding to travel consent letter info
    Please post your immigration questions on the forum, not in a private message. Always consult an experienced lawyer before filing.
    *If you believe you or someone on your behalf checked the "US Citizen" box on an employment document, please do not send a private message. Talk to a trusted lawyer about what could happen. *
    Getting StartedGetting Legal Status for Your Loved OneWaiver Eligibility
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    Living Outside the USLife in MexicoMoving to Canada Moving to Other Countries

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    Lawyers I've worked with and highly recommend: Laurel Scott Laura Fernandez Lizz Cannon





  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Los G For This Useful Post:

    beechgirl83 (12-06-2012),lsanchez124 (05-11-2012),starcrossed11 (07-02-2012)

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    I just wanted to add my experience on this issue..

    On June 30, 2012 I applied for my son's passport and used Section 5 on Consent Form DS-3053. BIG MISTAKE!!! Thankfully I read this post around July 4th or so and realized his application would be refused. SOOOOOO my husband was in Mexico City and I scheduled an appointment for the notary services at the consulate in Mexico City.

    I had to wait until July 12 for the next available appointment. My husband even told the consulate that this was for passport consent and they notarized it for FREE! Yay. He then shipped it back via DHL and I received it on July 16, 2012. The refusal of passport notice came in the mail the same day! I mailed back the notarized consent form and denial letter and received my son's passport one week later.

    Good luck everyone! And please try your hardest to get a passport before your spouse leaves the US. I put it off and ended up paying way more than if we would have done it together.
    October 2001- hubby EWI from Mexico
    May 2008- married
    2011- DS born!!!
    July 15, 2011- I-130 accepted---- February 23, 2012- I-130 approved FINALLY!
    March 14, 2012- NVC receives our case----- April 4, 2012-case closed w/NVC
    April 27, 2012- given 1st appointment in Ciudad Juarez
    May 30, 2012- husband left for Mexico
    June 1, 2012- medical and fingerprints
    June 5, 2012- interview eligible for waiver yay!
    June 8, 2012- mailed waiver to lockbox June----June 11, 2012- text message received waiver
    June 26, 2012- text 11:45 am to check status-- APPROVED
    July 4, 2012- 1st WAYBILL!---- July 13, 2012- mailed passport to CDJ
    July 26, 2012- showing visa issued!! ---- July 30, 2012- 2nd waybill!! Almost done!
    August 2, 2012- Visa in hands!!
    September 1, 2012- HUBBY HOME!!!
    Jan. 2014- Baby #2 due!!! ITS A BOY!
    2 BILs: middle BIL AP survivor 29 weeks!; youngest BIL F2A visa issued Dec 2013!

    CITIZENSHIP September 1, 2015!

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    The first thing I did before starting this process was to get my kids their passports. Uff what a relief I got them in the mail about a month ago.

    Thanks for the advice on how to get passport with one parent.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1994 Hubby EWI
    1995 Met hubby
    1996 Moved in together
    2003 May, 1st baby
    2003 Dec, Married
    2004 Sent I-130/Interview canceled
    2010 2nd baby
    2011 Started process over again
    2011 5 July I-130 receipt
    2012 11 January I-130 APPROVED
    2012 1, Feb received NVC #
    2012 19, April, Paid NVC fees
    2012 11 Sept, Fingerprints; Sept 13, Visa interview CDJ


    "All our Dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." ~ Walt Disney



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    Thanks for sharing your experience, starcrossed! It sounds like you worked fast! And thanks for letting us know that Mexico City notarized the form for free. The websites used to state that they would notarize forms for govt use for free, but this changed after the fee increase last year. Glad to hear some places are still applying the old rules!
    Please post your immigration questions on the forum, not in a private message. Always consult an experienced lawyer before filing.
    *If you believe you or someone on your behalf checked the "US Citizen" box on an employment document, please do not send a private message. Talk to a trusted lawyer about what could happen. *
    Getting StartedGetting Legal Status for Your Loved OneWaiver Eligibility
    Recommended Lawyers Visa BulletinHelp from Elected OfficialsTranslations

    Consular ProcessKnow before filingSpouse/Fiance Petition Petition Processing TimesNVC Stage Medical/InterviewI-601 WaiverAfter Approval
    Other Routes Adjustment of Status in the US Direct Consular Filing

    Living Outside the USLife in MexicoMoving to Canada Moving to Other Countries

    Officially banned for life w/no waiver (6cii)- but we don't give up! Read our story
    Lawyers I've worked with and highly recommend: Laurel Scott Laura Fernandez Lizz Cannon





  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Los G For This Useful Post:

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