A child passport is a travel document used to verify a minor’s identify and nationality. It is essentially a small booklet, usually with less than 50 pages, though pages can usually be added upon request. To apply for a child passport, a guardian must fill out an application and turn it in to a passport service, along with a fee. All passports require a photo, and even baby passports must meet relatively strict guidelines. Minors may no longer be allowed to use a children’s passport after the age of 16 or 17.
The primary purpose of a child passport is to identify a child while he or she is traveling abroad. International travel usually requires having a passport for identification, and children are no exception to the rule. In addition, a children’s passport can be used to verify the identity of a child domestically; specifically, a passport can also be used to verify the home country of a child when attempting to seek aid at a consulate in a foreign country. A child passport is useful in all situations where it is important to prove what country a child is from or other identifying facts.
To get a child passport, a guardian must prove the child’s citizenship and provide proof of his or her relationship to the child. Sometimes both parents must appear in person to get their child a passport. Depending on the country, one parent might be able to get a passport for the child as long as he or she can prove the other parent consents. The cost of a child passport varies, but they are usually less than the cost of an adult passport.
Governments and airlines are usually no less strict when it comes to child passport photographs. Having hair across the eyes, an open mouth, or shadows on the face are all against typical passport photo guidelines. To take a baby’s photograph, it is usually recommended to lie the baby on a light-colored sheet and then take the photo from directly above him or her. The inclusion of blankets, toys, or siblings makes the photo inappropriate for use as a passport photo.
Some countries do not allow citizens to continue using a child’s passport after a certain age. In these cases, it is usually necessary for the citizen to change to an adult passport as soon as he or she is of age, which is usually around 16 to 19 years old. Some countries do not have this restriction and allow adults to continue using a child passport until it expires.