Traveling out of the Country

Under federal law, in order to apply for and receive a passport, a child under age 16 must have the signature of both parents. This requirement will be excused if you can prove, with a court order, that you have sole custody of the child or the parental rights of the other parent have been terminated. Even if you do not have sole custody, you may still be able to obtain a passport for your child if you:

  • Obtain a written affidavit from the non-applying parent agreeing to the child getting a passport;
  • Obtain a court order authorizing the issuance of the passport;
  • Establish that “compelling humanitarian or emergency reasons relating to the welfare of the minor exist” such that a passport should be issued;
  • Establish “exigent circumstances,” which are generally emergency situations where the minors health, safety or welfare will be jeopardized if the minor does not obtain a passport, or the minor will be separated from the rest of the minor’s traveling party; or
  • Establish special family circumstances, which are generally situations where the minor’s family situation makes it very difficult for one or both of the parents to sign the passport application.

Legal Editor:  Robert H. Moses, September 2015

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

Back to top

Our Lawyers

Our lawyers are screened and approved – they have all gone through an application and interview process. Each lawyer we recommend has been screened for significant experience, knowledge of ethics codes and rules, and law office practices, including customer service skills and handling of fees and billing.

Learn More

About Us

When you call us, you will be speaking with an attorney. One of our attorney referral counselors takes your call and talks with you about your legal question, or reviews your online referral request. There is no charge to speak with one of our attorney referral counselors — we’re here to help.

Learn More