What Age Does a Child Need a Passport?

If you are planning to travel with your family, you may be confused about whether your children need to have a valid passport to gain entry to your destination.

This depends on several factors, including the age of your child and the country you wish to visit. This page can help you determine if you will need to apply for a passport for your kids in advance of your trip.

International Travel: What You Need to Know about Passports for Kids

In general, if traveling by air to a foreign country,  all passengers must have a valid passport irrespective of their age, including babies and infants.

When an eVisa, travel authorization, or visa is required, this usually applies to minors as well as adults. The child’s passport information is needed to complete the visa application.

Who can apply for a child’s passport?

A person with parental responsibility is the only one who can apply for a passport for a child.

To obtain a passport for minors under the age of 16 you usually need to give both parents’ details.  Parents or guardians with sole custody of a child may need to provide proof of this, such as a court order or death certificate.

It is common for countries to issue adult passports to citizens aged 16 or over. Australia, however, is an example of a country that only issues adult passports to those aged 18 and above. When traveling with minors, check with your government to make sure who should apply for their passport.

Domestic Travel: Do Kids Need a Passport?

Children under the age of 16 do not usually need to show a passport or other ID to travel on domestic flights. The accompanying adult can vouch for the child when traveling domestically.

However, there are certain countries, such as Italy, that do require children to carry a some form of photographic identification, whether it is a passport or other ID.

In addition, some airlines may ask to see proof of a child’s age. This could be in the form of a passport or other official document.

Documents Required to Apply for a Passport for Minors

Here is a list of documents that are usually required to submit a passport application for a child:

  • A completed passport application form 
  • Proof of the child’s citizenship, such as birth certificate, alongside a photocopy of this same document
  • Proof of the parent/guardian’s relationship to the child. This may be the birth certificate, or an adoption or divorce/custody decree.
  • Evidence of the parent/guardian’s identity, such as a valid passport or driver’s license, alongside a photocopy of this same document
  • A document of parental consent
  • A photograph of the child which meets your home country’s passport photo requirements.

Remember that the documents you need to apply for children’s passports vary depending on the issuing country. If you’re a parent or legal guardian, check the specific requirements for your country and apply for your child’s passport well in advance of the trip.

After submitting the requested documents, you’ll be required to pay the mandatory passport fee on behalf of your child to complete the application request. It takes roughly 3-6 weeks for a passport for minors to be processed and approved. Nevertheless, just as with adult passports, there are often faster processing services available for urgent cases for an extra fee.

A  passport for a child under the age of 16 is usually valid for 5 years from approval.  However, a passport for minors aged 16 and over generally expires after 10 years. Make sure you check the expiry date of your child’s passport when considering a trip abroad, or risk not being able to travel.

The minimum validity required on a passport for entry to an international destination varies depending on the country. Check the visa policy of your destination before planning your trip in case it is necessary to renew your kid’s passport.