Traveling Abroad With a Minor Child – Know How to Get a Passport

Can a single parent obtain a passport for a minor?

The short answer is “Yes,” but there are some rules you need to know before going to get the child’s passport. If there are two parents listed on the child’s birth certificate, then both parents must either consent to the travel or you must be able to show the passport office that you have sole legal custody of the child.

But the father and I were never married

It is true that in Arkansas the mother of a child born outside of wedlock is the sole legal custodian of the child. However, showing the passport office the Arkansas law will not be enough. Travel outside of the United State is governed by federal law. The federal government has specific requirements that must be met before a passport will be issued to a minor. Those requirements are set out in 22 CFR51.28

Before issuing your child a passport, the passport office will want to see a certified court order giving you sole custody of the child. Ideally, the court order should also specifically state that you are allowed to travel out of the country with the child. If the order does not specifically authorize you to take your child out of the country, then the order must give you sole custody, joint custody (even if you are the primary custodian) will not work.

Option two – consent of the other parent

If you and the child’s father or mother have a good relationship, then the easiest way to get a passport for your child would be to get the consent of the other parent. The other parent can give their consent in person at the passport office. The consent can also be in writing in the form of a notarized statement. The government offers a form Consent Form DS-3053 for this purpose.

What if my child’s father has died?

If the child’s other parent has passed away, then you would need to show the passport office a copy of that parent’s death certificate.

Contact us for help

If you would like more information regarding obtaining a minor’s passport for foreign travel or need assistance in petitioning a court for permission to obtain a passport, or need assistance with another family law area in Arkansas, feel free to contact our firm AR Law Partners, PLLC. ARlaw Partners has knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys. We offer free initial consultations. We have offices conveniently located in Little Rock and Fayetteville and offer assistance to Arkansans throughout the state.