Passport FAQs

Who can obtain a U.S. Passport?

U.S. passports are issued to U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals.

Who can apply for a U.S. Passport?

Individuals over the age of 16 can apply for their own passport and parents can apply for a passport on behalf of their minor children.

How do parents apply for their minor children’s U.S. passport?

Parents must complete an application for their child’s U.S. passport. Application form DS-11 can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html.

What else is needed besides the DS-11 form?

Children under 16 and their parents must appear in person and submit the form at an accepted facility or at a regional passport agency. To search for an accepted facility in your area, go here: http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.  To search for regional passport agency, go here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/npic/schedule/schedule_852.html.

In addition to the form, evidence of U.S. citizenship must be submitted along with one form of identification and one passport-sized photo.For more information regarding the passport application process visit: http://travel.state.gov/.

Can both my same-sex partner and I be listed on our-child’s passport application form as parents?

YES, if both parents are listed on the child’s birth certificate. The new DS-11 form allows both parents, regardless of their sex, to be listed as parents. The old form asked for the name of the “father” and the “mother” of an applicant, failing to recognize the current family structures in the United States. The new form asks in two identical fields for the name of “mother/father/parent,” better recognizing the diversity in family formations.

Does it matter whether my same-sex partner and I are married or not?

NO. It doesn’t matter whether you and your partner are married in a marriage equality state or not. The passport application only needs to know the child’s legal parents.

My wife is the biological mother of our son and I have adopted him. Can we both be on the DS-11 application form?

MAYBE. If both parents are listed on the child’s birth certificate, then both parents can be on the DS-11 application. However, if the adoptive parent is not listed on the birth certificate, then only the biological parent can be on the DS-11 application.

My husband has adopted our daughter, but I cannot adopt her in the state that we live. Can we both be on the DS-11 application form?

NO. Unfortunately, only the parent who is listed on the child’s birth certificate can be listed on the DS-11 application.

What if my partner is out of the country? Can I apply for our child’s passport then?

YES, after establishing consent from your partner.  When the adoptive (or legal) parent is unavailable, the non-adoptive parent who is in loco parentis can complete the DS-11 form. However, in this situation, both the adoptive and the non-adoptive parents need to additionally submit another form, form DS-3053 which can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds3053/ds3053_846.html.  Form DS-3053 gives consent to the non-adoptive parent to apply for the child’s passport and it needs to be notarized.

What does the term “in loco parentis” mean?

The term “in loco parentis” refers to a person who stands in the place of a parent, but does not have a legal or biological relationship to his or her child. This includes the children of one’s same-sex partner or spouse, if one is acting as a parent to the children.

Is there a number I can call and get more information?

Yes. You can call the National Passport Information Center at: 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY). A representative will be able to assist you Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST) and an automated system is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Tell the representative the nature of your problem and he or she will be able to assist you.  If a passport officer told you that you child’s parents could not both be on the passport application, let the representative know that. In addition, let the representative know if your child’s application was rejected for any reason. 

If you experience any difficulties applying for your child’s passport, please contact Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy, at ehecht@familyequality.org