Getting a passport for a minor is an entire process, especially if you are not married to the child’s father. Because both parents are supposed to apply in person OR the other parent is supposed to fill out consent forms and get them notarized. Like I said, an entire process.
(Wandering Moms does an incredible job of breaking down the process to obtain a passport for a minor)
I believe my daughter was about six years old when we applied for her first passport, it was for a trip to Canada. I also had to get his signature on visa forms when I applied for her Brazil visa and on our 1st trip to South Africa. And when we traveled the world for year, I needed to get him to sign a consent affidavit. Not to mention the time I needed him to rush me updated consent forms so I could renew her passport and get an emergency temporary passport during our year abroad.
So over the years, I’ve needed my daughter’s father to sign quite a few documents to ensure I could flutter around the globe with my little one in tow. Thankfully, he has always been more than willing to do what’s necessary for her to travel. It has always been just as important to him as it was to me that we literally give our daughter the world and he honestly seemed to be very proud that his daughter got to see so many different places and experience so many different cultures.
But he is a man. And I was not about to leave deadlines and completing documents with accuracy completely up to him. Sorry fellas, I know this is a serious stereotype and any person of any gender or even non-gender can be challenged with meeting deadlines and completing all the appropriate steps on a form. But still, this here is MY testimony, lol.
So these are the extra things I did to make damn sure my documents were completed in full and back to me on time:
fillED out EVERYTHING that I could fill out ON THE FORM
When I tell you I fill out everything besides the man’s signature on the application for passport for a minor, I mean I fill out all of it- his name, DOB, address, phone number, hair color, eye color, whatever necessary information I already have, I fill it out.
HighlightED where he needs to fill out or sign
The same way attorneys do, I either took a yellow highlighter and marked anything he needed to fill out or sign or I put sticky’s that said “sign here” on the paperwork. It’s not because he’s not smart enough, he happens to be very smart. It’s mostly because I just want to make sure nothing gets missed. I’ll detail the other main reason later.
gave him detailed instructions
When I handed him the packet with what he needed, I included a sheet of paper with the step by step instructions on what I needed him to do. For instance:
- Sign X document
- Send me a copy of your ID front and back, you can text or email this to me
- Get X document notarized, you can get it notarized for free at your bank
- Mail it all back to me when you’re done
Leave nothing out. Again, this is not about the other parent not being smart enough to get it, most of us are juggling a lot of things in our every day life and it’s easy to forget or miss something. You want this to be as clear as possible and you don’t want any delays. More often than not, your needs are time sensitive, you’ve already booked a flight and you need these things before you go.
included a self-addressed pre-stamped envelope in the packet
I don’t live in the same state as my daughter’s father. So when I’m sending him this stuff it’s usually by mail. There have been a few times where I could drop off a packet while I was in town but I still needed it sent back to me.
So in the packet, I include a manilla envelope with my address already and enough stamps already on it. I don’t want to make this inconvenient and I’d like there to be no “I couldn’t find any envelopes” or “I keep forgetting to go buy stamps”. I just need it done and sent. Period. This way he can just put it in his mailbox and keep on living.
But why you gotta do all that for another adult?
That exact question has been asked so many times in the Wandering Moms Facebook Group. The answer is super simple – I’m the one who wants something.
Yes, her father is an adult and is or should be more than capable of taking care of all of this on his own without any extra prodding from me.
But I’m the one asking him to do something for me (yes and his daughter) and I’m the one who needs it. That said, I want it to be as easy as possible for him to give me what I need. I also want to reduce the margin of error and get it fully complete and on time. Especially since, like I said, it’s often time sensitive – I’ve already booked a ticket and it needs to get done.
I’ll be honest, if I were on the other end of this, I would truly appreciate him making it easy for me to just fill this out and drop it in the mail. I have a lot going on any given day and would be very very grateful for the time savings he granted me by taking these extra steps. The Golden Rule applies – treat others the way you would want to be treated.
If you feel some type of way about taking these extra steps, please understand you aren’t required to do anything. Also understand, that neither is the other parent. If you want to reduce your stress level and make sure you get what you need to get a passport for your minor, I encourage you to take these extra steps up front.
If these aren’t working for you, there are some other things you can do if the other parent refuses to provide consent for passport for a minor or travel internationally with you.
Wishing you all the best of luck with traveling with your kiddos!