For most people, renewing a passport is as easy as mailing a renewal form and processing fees to the U.S. Department of State. Unfortunately, children under the age of 16 must renew a passport in person at a passport acceptance facility. Sixteen- and 17-year-old minors can renew their passport by mail as long as the original passport is undamaged and was issued when they were at least 16.
Form DS-11 must be submitted with all passport applications. This form will relay your child's biographical information and travel plans to the Department of State. You can print out the form on the department's website or obtain one at a passport acceptance agency, such as a post office or library. Use the link in the resources section to locate an agency near your home.
Fill out the form in black ink and write legibly. The minor must sign the application form in the presence of an passport acceptance official.
Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
Children must submit proof of citizenship with the application. Certified birth certificates, consular reports of birth abroad, or certificates of citizenship or naturalization are acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship. A previous undamaged U.S. passport also will suffice. You must submit the original document, not a photocopy. It will be mailed back to you along with the new passport. Make a copy of the document in case the application gets misplaced or lost in the mail.
Both parents or guardians of children 15 or younger must be present at the time of application. Parents must have an official document that proves their relationship to the minor. The minor's birth certificate or report of birth abroad will be accepted as evidence if both parents' names are on the document. An adoption decree or a court order that establishes custody or guardianship also is acceptable.
Parents will need to show identification, such as a previously issued passport, a driver's license or a military or government employee ID, at the time of application. A photocopy of the document must accompany the application.
If one parent cannot be present at the time of application, he needs to fill out Form DS-3053 and have it notarized. For special circumstances, such as a deceased parent, refer to the Department of State website.
Two photographs of the child's head and shoulders must be included in the application. All photographs must be in color, 2 by 2 inches and set against a white or off-white background. The State Department requires that the photographs be taken no more than six months before the time of application.
You can take the photographs if you have the proper camera and printing equipment. Otherwise, purchase the images from a pharmacy or photo shop that sells passport compliant photographs.
You need to submit the same fees for renewal as a first-time applicant. Application and execution fees are needed to process a passport. The application fee goes to the State Department and the execution fee is used by the processing application center.
As of March 2010, the combined application and execution fees for a minor's passport book were $85. Fees are less for passport cards, which can be used only for land and sea travel to Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas. Because fees fluctuate, it's best to check the Department of State website before submitting your application.