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Immigration: U.S. passports for children

Posted on May 7, 2012
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ChildrenOn Guam, being in possession of a passport is very important to ensure smooth travel, especially when your travel plans include a stopover in a foreign country.

Additionally, a passport is important in the event of a medical emergency that may require treatment to medical facilities located in the Philippines or Japan.

Part of the benefit that a child born in the United States of America has is that the child is a United States citizen. One would reasonably believe, therefore, that the child and/or his or her parents will have no problems obtaining a United States issued passport for that child.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case, especially if both parents’ names appear in the child’s birth certificate. As an immigration attorney, I receive several inquiries from frustrated parents, who have been unsuccessful in obtaining a United States passport for their United States-born child.

They are surprised that such a problem can occur for a child born in the United States.

When both parents’ names appear on the birth certificate of the child and both parents are still living, both parents have to consent to the child obtaining and renewing the passport for the child. Additionally, both parents also have to appear in person to accompany the child, during the initial application and consequent renewal of the passport for the child.

When one of the parents cannot accompany the child, but nonetheless consents to the application, that absent parent can still demonstrate his or her consent by executing a consent form that is available from the Guam Passport Office or the Department of the State website. This consent form must be completed accurately and executed in front of a notary. This method would resolve the possible problems that may occur when one parent is off-island or has been deployed on a military mission.

The difficulty that most parents face, however, occurs when one of the parents refuses to consent to the application or to cooperate with one parent’s effort in obtaining a passport.

Even if the parents were never married or are now divorced, both parents must still consent if both parents have shared custody over the minor child, or if there is no court order that clearly awards custody to one parent.

That same consent form, noted above, can also be used by the applying parent to provide a “Statement of Special Circumstances” of why the other parent’s consent was not obtained.

However, it will be up to the United States Passport Office to make a determination whether the explanation provided was sufficient to excuse the general requirement of dual consent.

When the explanation provided is insufficient and the application is returned, some parents either give up in their efforts, or seek a court order allowing them to obtain such a passport.

Because a child’s passport is only effective for five years, it is important to resolve the problem with the other parent or to obtain a court order, to avoid the same situation every renewal period.

The article above discusses the application process and renewal of passports for children in the United States. For children who are born in a foreign country to United States-citizen parent, there is a separate process involved when obtaining the initial United States passport for that child. Thus, a consultation with an experienced attorney will greatly assist you in this process.

Catherine Bejerana Camacho

6 May 2012

http://www.guampdn.com/article/20120506/COMMUNITIES/205060301

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