Need A Passport For Your Baby? Here's How To Apply

While some parents are focused on picking out just the right pastel colors for their new baby's room others, like you, are dreaming about all the new and wonderful places you'll get to take your newborn. Even if they won't remember it, your memories with your bright-eyed baby in a new and beautiful place are something you will cherish forever.

But before you book your tickets, you'll need to start working on getting them a passport. Luckily, it's not too much more difficult than getting your first passport. The main thing you need to know is that it will take some running around and gathering a stack of documents. However, it'll be well worth it to make your baby a world traveler before their first birthday!

To get started you'll need a DS-11 passport application, your baby's birth certificate, identification documents for both parents, a passport photo of your baby, and a check made out to the U.S. Department of State for $80 along with $35 for the processing fee.

How to apply for your baby's first passport

First, download the DS-11 passport application online and fill it out on your computer or by hand after you print it out. Be sure to leave the signature section blank until you're ready to hand it in. You'll also want to print it so it's single-sided, because bureaucracy doesn't care about saving the trees apparently.

Next, for everyone's identifying documents like the birth certificate and the parents' IDs you'll want to make multiple copies of everything. Your baby's original birth certificate will be handed in when applying for the passport but will be mailed back to you separate from your passport. If you don't have a valid driver's license or a state ID for some reason but you do have a passport, you can use that regardless if it's expired or currently valid.

As for the photo of your baby, this can be tricky but be patient! You'll want to make sure the background is white or off white with no shadows in the background. The photo should be well lit though and their eyes need to be open. If you're having trouble with the background and you're a bit tech savvy, you can photoshop it using Canva's background removal feature.

Lastly, book a passport appointment at your local passport agency or post office. Once all your documents have been verified, you can sign the DS-11, hand over the check and processing fee, and receive your passport in about 4-8 weeks!

Traveling with your baby and their new passport

If you have applied for or renewed your own passport, you might remember that you needed to sign it before whipping out that bad boy on your first overseas excursion. And unless you've got a baby genius with excellent motor skills, they can't sign the passport for themselves. So, you'll do it for them. Print your baby's full name on the signature line along with your own signature to the right of the printed name along with your relation to your child as mother, father, or guardian.

As for the actual traveling part, many parents on Reddit's r/BabyBumps say that the younger the better (after they've had their basic vaccinations). This is because when your baby is smaller they typically sleep more easily and they're less mobile to boot. So you can basically carry them around like an extra appendage ... just one that needs food and frequent diaper changes.

However, for very young babies, you'll also want to make sure you've got sleeping arrangements figured out and bring a travel cot with you or a stroller that can double as a bassinet. When flying on an airplane you can also request a bassinet for your seat. And while your baby will be expensive in almost every other way, when traveling with a young one you'll (sort of) have one less mouth to feed since they may be breastfeeding.