Passport for Teenager When Parents Are Divorced.

Updated on January 14, 2013
D.D. asks from Goodyear, AZ
15 answers

We are thinking about getting our 15 yr old son a passport for a possible mission trip to Urganda. Do both parents have to sign if he does not have custody or visitation rights?

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answers from Miami on

Dear Viola,

You've gotten your answer regarding the passport. However, I worked in International Education for over 15 years and I would NOT send a 15 year old to Uganda at this time. If you have not already become VERY familiar with Uganda, please at least take the time to read carefully the United States Department of State country info on Uganda:

Here are some additional items to consider:

Please also ask the mission trip provider some of the following questions:

If you decide to allow your son to go - please be sure that you have a passport (if your child should become ill or in trouble you don't want to have to wait for a passport to be issued in order to board a flight to your son's side) and also make sure you have very comprehensive overseas medical and emergency assistance / evacuation / repatriation insurance. The policy that I personally utilize for travelling is:

Feel free to message me if you have any questions.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

My 15 yo daughter is going to Europe on February. We are divorced with joint "legal custody". We went to the gvt websites with info about passports for minors. It was our understanding divorced or married BOTH parents need to be present at the PO for the application process, unless one parent has completely given up parenting rights, in which case you bring that legal paperwork with you. If you have no communication with the other parent, there is a different proceedure for that.

Once they are 16, they no longer need any parental consent for a passport.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you checked out the State Department's website? They answer a lot of questions re: getting passports for kids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We just got our 15-year-old daughter a passport. My ex and I both had to be there to sign the papers. It's either that or you have to have his father's approval notarized. If I were you, I'd call the office where you are going to get the passport and ask them this question. They can answer it better than we can. I'm all for missions trips, but aren't there safer places than Uganda to do missions trips these days?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If you have 100% legal & physical custody... Then you bring in your divorce decree/custody papers to prove that, and then you sign.

Because of the large numbers of custodial interference cases... The USSD is loathe to grant passports without all the paperwork in triplicate. But if you HAVE that paperwork, then you're good to go.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

both parents have to be there or you need a notarized letter from the father granting permission. the only thing would be if he actually had his parental rights terminated.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If he's legally still the father, then you need permission. You can provide notarized permission from the absent parent if you can't get him to show up in person. Even though DH and I are married, I needed his permission (and the child in tow) to get DD her passport without him present. Similarly, he got his ex's notarized permission for SD's passport. If there is no pressing need (I do agree with Christine), I would skip getting the passport at this time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I brought a notarized copy of my (stbx) husband's approval, it worked well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Has the father been ordered to not visit or have parenting time? If so, this might make a difference. I would contact the passport office, ask to speak to a supervisor and ask or talk with an attorney who deals in such issues.

It is true that both parents have to sign. One can send a notarized letter. I've seen that done. However, yours may be a special case that would allow a different process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

There are procedures for this.
They certainly like both parents to be there but sometimes it's not possible (parent deployed over seas or deceased, etc).
My husband was working so he filled out a form (gave his permission) and had it notarized, and I had it with me with the paper work when I took our son to get his passport.

It might not be necessary if you wait another year or so.
At 16 or older I think you might be able to follow the adult process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

when we got our kids passports.. not only did both parents have to sign.. both parents and the minor child must go to the post office so the folks can see everyone.. it was a field trip for the family..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

The government website explain exactly what you all will need.

Regarding a minor, either both biological parents must be present or you must have a notarized statement from the absent biological parent present with you authorizing the passport to be issued.

Honestly, it is for the minor's safety.


answers from Dallas on

When we got our daughter's passport and we are not divorced, we both had to be there.

Thanks for the reminder... she's up for renewal in March!



answers from Miami on

I do believe that both parents have to be with the teen. If I were the non-custodial parent, I'd want to know for sure why my child has a passport. I'd also want a say if I found out that my ex was considering a trip to Uganda. Uganda is a scary place and it wouldn't sit well with me to not have some say in the matter, regardless of whether I had primary custody or not.

I would NOT try to do an end-run around your ex. (Not saying that you would, mind you. However, just by the fact that you are asking if the father has to sign, I'm a little concerned.) I'd work on getting his agreement so that he doesn't find out and take you to court to prevent it.


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