How do I get a Passport for Child of Separated or Divorced Parents

Do both Parents have to sign a Child’s Passport Application? 

Do both parents have to sign a passport application for a child? How to get a passport for children of divorced or separated parents is one of the most frequent questions asked after relationship breakdown by parents who want to travel with their children.

Having a passport issued for children of parents who have divorced or separated when one of the parents refuses to sign the Child Passport Application form, is still possible although sometimes a difficult process to go through.

What can you do if you want to get a passport for a child and one of the parents (either the father or the mother) won’t sign the passport application form?

The general position is that if you want a passport for a child, then you need the written consent (signature on the child’s passport application form) of each person who has parental responsibility for the child.

 



 

In most cases this is usually the natural parents of the child named on the child’s full birth certificate.

Even if a parent is not named on the birth certificate they may have acknowledged parental responsibility, or they may have been found to have parental responsibility (for example, if a Child Support Assessment has been issued).

After separation or divorce, even if you have an order for sole parental responsibility, the passport office will usually still require both parents to sign the application form unless they are satisfied there are special circumstances.

This is because an order for sole parental responsibility gives a parent sole decision making power for “long term decisions for the child“, but it does not completely remove the parental responsibility of the other parent unless that is specifically ordered by the Court, which is very rare.

The reason both parents have to sign a child’s passport application form, is to try to protect children of parents who have separated or divorced from being abducted and also to safeguard the rights of both parents of a child.

A parent can refuse to sign a passport application.

You should not organise or book overseas travel until you have a passport issued for your child.

At a minimum it might take months to get a passport issued. It could however take more than a year to get a passport issued depending on the extent of steps necessary.

It may also be possible for you to make a Special Circumstances Application to the Passport Office and you can read how to do that in our separate information sheet which sets out the steps involved in making a Special Circumstances Application for a Child Passport.

Child Passports & International Child Abduction: More Information

We also have the following pages providing additional information in relation to getting a Passport for a Child, International Child Abduction and Relocation of a Parent with a Child :

 

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