There’s something pretty exciting about having a baby passport in your hand. Have baby will travel! But getting one takes a few steps, so allow plenty of time for the following.
Baby passport photos
Baby passport photos make for some hilarious memories. You’ll need your bub to be stone faced – not crying, not laughing, stone faced. Easier said than done, we know. A hot tip? If you’re doing it yourself, lie them down on a white piece of cardboard. In Australia, it’s often easier to get the folks at the post office to take the photo for you, as the rules on baby passport photos are particularly strict and they know what will be accepted.
Crazily, this baby passport photo of your four, five or six month old will be used to identify him till he is five (in many countries, including Australia, the UK and the US, a young child’s passport lasts for five years).
Paperwork for issuing a baby passport (Australia)
All parents with ‘parental responsibility’ will need to issue their written consent for a child to get a passport. This means that typically, both parents need to sign the passport forms – allow time if you’re in a situation where this may be tricky.
The Australian government’s instructions for getting a child’s passport are on this page here. Additionally, there are some further rules on passports – particularly around parental consent on this page here. Note that in Australia there’s an additional form (the B9 – available here) to complete if you want to make an application without both parents’ consent. If only one person is named on the child’s birth certificate, you’ll need to fill in the B8 form. (Available here.)
Remember, you’ll also need to provide the baby’s birth certificate or proof of citizenship. Most passport offices are pretty fussy about needing originals: extracts, pretty ‘commemorative’ birth certificates and photocopies are not accepted.
You’ll also need to provide local identification (usually in the form of a passport, citizenship certificate or local birth certificate) for at least one parent.
Lastly, in Australia, you’ll have to get photos signed by someone who knows the baby but isn’t related to them.
Allow plenty of time to get a baby passport
Allow a number of weeks to do all this as there are a few steps involved – some of which you’ll end up doing twice. Try to be patient! After all, you’ll need your own baby to be compliant when you’re trying to get her photos taken, and you’ll need to dot all the ‘i’s with the relevant forms – both can be slow. But once it’s done, you’re set for five years!