Preschoolers and Passports

Planning to take your little guy or gal abroad this summer? Then you may be able to use this helpful travel tidbit: All first-time passport applicants must apply in person, regardless of age. Translation: There isn’t a chance in h*ll that you will be able to obtain a passport for your preschooler unless he or she is present. According to the government, your child must be with you at the time of application or you can kiss your passport, and subsequent family vacation goodbye.

Recently, there has been some confusion about kids, passports, and how new security rules affect families who travel between the United States and Canada. According to the Homeland Security Department, U.S. and Canadian children no longer need passports to come into the country by land or sea. However, if you are entering or exiting by air, then your little one needs proof of identification.

Government officials say U.S. or Canadian citizens ages 15 and younger that obtain parental consent will be able to enter the United States with just a birth certificate if they are entering by land or sea. In addition, children 16 to 18 also will be allowed to cross the nation’s borders with a birth certificate if they are part of an adult-supervised school, religious, cultural or athletic group.

One more note about international travel: If you are a parent traveling with young children alone–regardless of whether you are married and are simply flying with your child solo, or you are divorced or widowed—you need to have notarized authorization from your spouse to take your child out of the country, or a notarized copy of a death certificate, or other proof that you have permission for your child to leave the United States with you. All major airlines are enforcing this policy to combat the problem of international kidnapping.

Related Articles:

Traveling to the Beach with a Preschooler

Surviving the Summer with a Preschooler

Road Trip Sanity Savers for Parents of Preschoolers

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.