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Planning An International Trip This Year? Every Child Needs A Passport

A passport is a ticket to adventure, a world of travel or the key to visiting family or friends abroad, but in recent years, this critical document is not an easy one to obtain, especially for children under the age of 16. The application process takes time, and if you are a parent in the midst of divorce or a custody arrangement, obtaining a passport for your child may be prohibitive if the other parent objects to the application.

Every child needs to have a passport, and it’s important to know that a child passport is only valid for five years. If you have family or friends abroad, this may be an important point to discuss with your lawyer if a custody agreement is in place. Since 2008, both parents and the child need to be present to apply at an approved application acceptance facility for new passport applications. If both parents cannot be present, then the application must be accompanied by a signed, notarized  Statement of Consent form from the non-applying parent/guardian.

If you are the applying parent or guardian and the written consent of the other parent or guardian or evidence of sole custody cannot be obtained in a timely manner, there are ways to handle this situation with the help of your lawyer. There is a form that states “Special Family Circumstances” that can be submitted with the application that addresses this situation. Certain legal documents are required to support this request that your lawyer can help to obtain.

Having up to date passports is an important element of travel planning. It is important to allow ample time to obtain the proper documents so as to minimize unnecessary stress and expense. New passport requests take on average 4-6 weeks to complete, although an expedited process is available.

As with any custody arrangement, it is important to give the other parent or guardian as much time as possible to process requests and respond in a timely manner. If travel is on your new year’s wish list, then take some time to check the expiration dates on your passport too – time flies and documents can expire without notice!