Do I Need Parental Consent to Get a Passport For My Child?

Contempt in Family Court

Getting parental consent to get a passport shouldn’t be so difficult but sometimes it is. Traveling is fun. The world is vast and has so much to show you and your child. When you’re a parent, it’s not hard to imagine times when you want to travel with your child overseas. But there are times when you need parental consent to get a passport for your child. In those situations if your spouse doesn’t agree to it you may have a problem that requires a modification of the current arrangement. Fortunately you don’t always need consent but in the event that you do you there are things you can do.


The U.S. Department of State issues passports. Generally, you and your spouse must consent to your children getting passports if they’re age 15 or younger. You and your spouse must appear in person, along with your children, to fill out the required documents. But there are many reasons your spouse might not agree, such as a phobia of flying or concern that your children are too young to travel internationally. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of State offers exceptions to the two-parent-consent rule.

When Consent Isn’t Needed

Birth Certificates—Suppose that, for some reason, only your name appears on your children’s birth certificates. (Maybe you and your spouse got married after your children’s births.) In this case, you wouldn’t need your spouse’s signature to get your children’s passports.

Sole Custody—Maybe your children are from a previous marriage or relationship, and a court awarded you sole legal custody. You won’t need your current spouse’s signature when you have sole legal custody.

Age—If your children are 16 or older, then they might need neither your nor your spouse’s signed consent to fill out a passport form. 

Court-Ordered Passport

If your spouse refuses to consent to appearing and signing off on passports, you can request a court-ordered passport. You’ll need to explain:

  • Why a judge should grant your request
  • The perimeters of this instance of travel (where you’re going and for how long) and
  • Any known plans to travel abroad 

You might want a passport for your children because their grandparents live in a different country. Maybe you want your children to be well-versed in other cultures. Perhaps you just want to vacation. Whatever the reason, you should clearly state your reason for international travel, how it affects your children, and any other vital details. Also, discuss why your spouse doesn’t want your children to travel. Be specific because a judge will look to whether your spouse is unreasonably withholding their right to travel. 

Because court orders can be a lengthy, tedious process, you should speak with an attorney. An attorney knows the ins and outs of the law, and legal representation reduces the likelihood of errors if you go the court-order route. Depending on when you want to travel, you might not have time for errors. 

Other Concerns

Bear in mind that passports for children are only good for five years. In other words, you might reencounter this problem, depending on your children’s ages. Also, if you and your spouse end up divorcing before your children are 16, another world of complications might arise. The complexities grow if your spouse becomes incarcerated or is serving in the military and gets deployed. These are reasons why you should seek legal counsel before moving forward. 

Family Law Attorneys Near You

Kania Law Office is an excellent team of trustworthy family attorneys who’ve overseen plenty of cases just like yours. Our experienced children’s passport attorneys can tell you what your options are, help you go through the court order process, or even help you find a mediator between you and your spouse. Give Kania Law Office a call at (918) 743-2233 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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