Passport Boy.jpgCourts have recognized that it is in the best interests of a child to travel with a parent.  A court may provide relief when one parent unreasonably withholds consent from the other parent to travel with a child and compel a divorced parent to cooperate with the other parent to secure a passport for a child (Arroyo v. Agosta [2nd Dept. 2010]).

Thus, in Anthony McK. v. Dawn M., 2009 WL 8527772, Kings County Family Court Judge Paula J. Hepner, authorized a mother to obtain a passport to obtain a passport for the parties’ 11-year old daughter, over the objection of the father (indeed, the father had entered his daughter into the State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program). Moreover,the child was specifically authorized to travel with the mother.

Judge Hepner also noted the Federal provisions relating to the issuance of a passport to a minor:

[M]inors under the age of sixteen are required to appear in person when applying for a passport [22 CFR 51.28(a)(1)pdf]. Both parents are required to execute the application on behalf of a minor under the age of sixteen when applying for a passport for the first time and provide documentary proof of parentage [22 CFR 51.28(a)(2)]. One parent may execute a passport application for a child if s/he provides “documentary evidence that such person … has sole custody of the minor” in the form of “an order of a court of competent jurisdiction granting sole legal custody to the applying parent containing no travel restrictions inconsistent with the issuance of the passport, or specifically authorizing the applying parent to obtain a passport for the minor, regardless of custodial arrangements; or specifically authorizing the travel of the minor with the applying parent or legal guardian” [22 CFR § 51.28(a)(3)(ii)(E)]. Before a passport is issued, the parent of a minor may file objections “so long as the objecting party provides sufficient documentation of his or her custodial rights or mother authority to object” [22 CFR § 51.28(c)(1)].

Generally, passport regulations and forms may be found online. For minors under 16, go here. For 16- and 17-year olds, go here.

Forms are also available online. Under ordinary circumstances, it is necessary for a passport application (Form DS-11) to be executed and presented, in person, by the minor and both parents at a passport acceptance facility (usually a post office). However, if both parents are not to be in attendance, then it is necessary for the non-appearing parent to execute a Statement of Consent (Form DS-3053), unless a court order provides otherwise.

It is always advisable for a parent to travel with a consent from (Travel Consent form.pdf), signed by the other parent and notarized, authorizing the parent to travel with, make arrangements for, and make health care decisions concerning the child.