Yes, your kids need a passport in order to go on a cruise with you. Here are simple ways to get one.
No matter how old your children are, 16 months or 16 years old, all children (and adults for that matter) must have a passport before departing on a cruise. Here are the requirements and documents you will need in order to obtain a passport for your child if you live in the United States.
In the United States, there are special passports for children 16 years of age and younger. These are less expensive than adult passports and expire every 5 years instead of the 10 year renewal term for adults. The children’s passport will no doubt be your child’s first photo ID and will become a security document until they become an adult. Official details and fees for obtaining a minor’s passport can be found at the State Department’s website at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/under-16.html.
Here are some important things to know:
- BOTH parents must be present when the passport application is submitted for your child.
If one parent cannot be there, an official parental consent form will be required. You may apply at a passport office or an official acceptance facility (US Post Office for example).
- You will be asked for your child’s social security number.
- You must provide evidence of your child’s citizenship and identity of both parents – this is usually accomplished with an original form Birth Certificate that has an official raised seal.
- You must provide photo identification for both parents with an address that matches your child’s address.
- You will need passport photos of your child. The best way to get a good photo is to use the “square” setting on your cellphone and have your child stand in front of a plain white wall. If they are a toddler, it may be easiest to have them lie on a flat light-colored surface and snap their photo that way.
As we all know, life is complicated and there are lots of family circumstances that will differ from the straight forward two parents living in one household mode. You should be able to find instructions for whatever your circumstances are on the State Department’s website. You should allow approximately 6 weeks for the processing of a passport application.