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Attorneys Discuss Passports for Nonparents with Custody in San Diego

How Can Guardians Obtain U.S. Passports for Their Children?

When one or both parents are not able to take care of their child, the child is often given to a trusted family member to take care of. This arrangement may be temporary, or the relative could assume legal guardianship of the child.

Although as a guardian you are basically acting as a parent, legally you are not and there are certain obstacles you may encounter when trying to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Our San Diego family law attorneys want to give you basic information about applying for a passport for a minor child when you are not the child’s parent. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call Mattis Law, A.P.C., at (858) 328-4400 to speak to a lawyer.

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Two Parent Consent Law

Getting a passport for a minor under the age of 16 can be tricky if you are not the child’s parent. The Two Parent Consent Law, codified in 22 CFR 51.28, states that in order for a child to obtain a passport, both parents must be present at the time of the filing and sign a consent form for the passport.

This law was put in place as a protective measure for the child. The U.S. was trying to guard against one parent being able to take the child out of the country without the other one’s knowledge. The Two Parent Consent Law also prevents a kidnapper, older friend, or any other relative from unexpectedly taking a child out of the U.S.

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Applying for a Passport for a Child Under 16

If you are the child’s legal guardian and you have the paperwork to prove it, there is a workaround for the Two Parent Consent Law. If neither parent is able to appear at the passport office to give consent, a third party may apply for the child's passport with a notarized statement from both parents giving that third party permission to apply for the child. The guardian may also prove that the parents’ consent is not needed if legal rights to the child are held by the guardian.

  • The statement must include a photocopy of the parents/guardians' identification.
  • When the statement is from only one parent/guardian, the third party must present evidence of sole custody of the consenting parent/guardian.
  • The written statement from the parents must be less than three months old.

It is important to plan ahead and have all the necessary documents on hand to make the process go as quickly as possible. Passports can take anywhere between six to eight weeks to process, so it’s best to avoid any potential delays that could hinder your travel plans.

Minors over the age of 16 can sign their own passport as long as they have proper identification and a parent or legal guardian present.

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Do You Have Questions About San Diego Custody? We Can Help

At Mattis Law, A.P.C., we take pride in putting our clients first and giving them the best results possible. If you are trying to get a passport for a child and are running into difficulties, please give our office a call at (858) 328-4400. We handle many child custody cases in San Diego.

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Additional Information

(858) 328-4400