updated 5/1/2009 9:39:13 AM ET 2009-05-01T13:39:13

If you're planning a family trip abroad, keep in mind that everyone, including small children and infants, needs a passport for air travel overseas. However, if you're going to be crossing into Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or parts of the Caribbean by land or by sea, children 15 and under may still use a certified copy of their birth certificate in lieu of a passport.

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The same goes for children aged 16-18 traveling to these destinations under adult supervision with a school, religious, cultural or athletic group. (For adults, passports will be required for most land and sea travel overseas as of June 1, 2009. For exceptions, see Passport Information.)

As a parent or legal guardian, you may apply for a passport on your child's behalf, but your child must be with you at the time of application (all first-time passport applicants must apply in person). All passport renewals must also be done in person if your child was under 16 when the passport was first issued.

What to bring

Who to bring
As mentioned above, your child must be with you to apply for his or her passport. In addition, both parents must appear with the child at time of application, or one parent may appear with a notarized statement of consent authorizing passport issuance for the child.

If you are a single parent, you may apply alone for the child's passport with proof of sole authority, such as judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent or a death certificate of non-applying parent. For a list of all acceptable documentation, visit the State Department's Web site.

If a third party is applying on behalf of a minor under the age of 16, he or she must submit a notarized written statement or affidavit from both parents or guardians authorizing the third party to apply for the child's passport. When the statement or affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the third party must also present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.

If your child is too young to sign his or her passport, the parent or guardian must print the child's name on the passport and sign their own name. In parentheses next to the adult's signature, indicate the relationship to the child.

Where to go
There are over 6,000 passport acceptance facilities in the United States. Click here to search by zip code.


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