Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: What Form of ID Do Kids Need to Travel & Passports for Kids

passport for children

Q: Dear Playground: What forms of ID, if any, are required for children when traveling from the mainland to Hawaii? – Laureen

A: Hi Laureen,

We often get asked about passports and ID for families who are traveling with children here at Playground.

First, the good news: kids don’t need any identification to fly domestic routes in the United States, including Hawaii. In addition, if you’re traveling to a US territory or commonwealth, such as Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, you also won’t need to have photo identification for your kids.

As soon as you cross international borders though, every child, regardless of age, will need a passport.

(The exception is Canada, which allows children under 16 to cross at land border points with a birth certificate. If you fly into Canada, however, everyone needs a passport.)

Kids 16 and under have to appear in person to get their first passport (which last 5 years); note that although you’ll see instructions that say both parents need to appear in person with the child, if you have a notarized (that part is very important) letter from one of the parents who can’t appear in person, that will work as well.

You can apply for passports at many Post Offices, also keep a look out for special passport days at your local library that are usually run by the county clerk’s office. Use this interactive location finder to pinpoint your closest location.

The US State Department website has very detailed information about what you’ll need to bring with you, including two 2”x2” color photos of your child – CVS offers this service and it’s quick and cheap — and a check for fees (What, you thought they were free? Try $80, plus a $25 service fee.)

Here’s a few more things to have with you:

  1. Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
  2. Evidence of Parental Relationship
  3. Photo Identification
  4. Parental Consent
  5. Passport Photo
  6. Application Forms
  7. Passport Fees

Do yourself a favor and print out the forms AND fill them out before your appointment.

And one more word to wise: give yourself plenty of time to have passports processed, 4 to 6 weeks is standard. If you have to pay an “Expedite” fee (which gets the passport back to you in 3 weeks) it’s an additional $60 per person – money much better spent having fun on your travels. (If you need a passport sooner than 3 weeks out; you’ll have to go to the actual passport agency and state your case in person – or use a service such as, which charges a whopping $349 for a children’s passport with 24 hours notice, and that doesn’t include the $140 additional government fees).

Have a great trip!

(Photo: Flickr)




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