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A passport is a document that proves a person’s citizenship and residence. This document is required for everyone who travels outside of his or her home country, and must be presented upon request to authorities while in other countries. All citizens must have a passport when traveling, regardless of the person’s age. A baby passport is one that has been issued to a very young child for the purpose of traveling to other countries.
Each country has its own requirements for issuing passports, including those issued to babies. In the United States, requirements have become much more stringent over the years. In the case of a baby passport, a major concern is that one parent might get a passport and leave the country with the child without the knowledge and consent of the other parent. To prevent such problems, several requirements are in effect that impact getting a baby passport.
First–time U.S. passports, including baby passports, are no longer applied for by mail. Those wanting a passport must apply in person at a passport office. If the applicant is a minor, both parents must be present along with the child in order to apply.
In some cases, a notarized letter of consent from a parent who cannot attend will be accepted. If there is only one parent, that parent must bring proof that he or she is the only parent. Parents must be able to document their relationship to the child, such as by having their names on the birth certificate, and bring proof of identification.
When traveling to a passport acceptance office or other facility to apply for a baby passport, it is important to bring documents to prove residency, as well as personal identification. Birth certificates and other official documents must be certified copies, bearing the official stamp or seal of the appropriate government agency. A completed passport application form and payment must accompany such documents in order to complete the application process.
Once the application process is complete, and all documents are accepted and verified, the government will issue the passport. The baby passport will arrive by mail after about six weeks. If a passport is required more quickly, parents can go to a regional passport office instead of a passport acceptance office to apply. By paying the extra fee for expedited service, parents can receive a baby passport within two weeks of the date of application.
@pastanaga - I imagine in cases where a baby or toddler is caught up in child or domestic abuse and there is a good reason to take the kid across a border (for example, the "good" parent has a different nationality) an exception must be made, because otherwise it would be difficult to do anything without the consent of the difficult partner.
I guess you'd need to work with a social worker to get a passport for a baby in a situation like that, but I imagine it can be very difficult.
I know my nephew's parents broke up after they had managed to get him a passport and there was a lot of worry that one or the other of them would take off to another country with him.
We were almost as worried, since we weren't all that close to my sister at that point.
Nothing happened, but as a precaution there was a block put on his passport by the courts while the breakup was taking place and custody was being decided. That meant in theory that if either parent had tried to get my nephew through customs, on his passport they would have been stopped and the police would have been alerted.
I wonder how often that actually happens. I suppose if I were a parent escaping from a difficult situation, I might try to take my child over the border as well.
I still have the passport I used as a baby, although I'm not sure if you are supposed to keep them.
I actually think it's quite a good little memory, in spite of the fact that I can't remember ever using it!
And it's kind of cool seeing the places that I traveled before I was even old enough to walk.
My mother always said I was a pretty good traveler even back then. Although she would plan ahead, make sure I was hungry going onto the plane, then feed me at the start and let me sleep for the remainder of the trip.
It's something I'm going to try and remember to do if I ever have to travel with my own kids, although honestly I hope I never have to get a baby passport. I'd rather not travel with young ones unless it's absolutely necessary.
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