A brand new baby can upend everybody's daily life as they get used to the new family member. But if baby decides to arrive just before an international trip, or if a serious emergency obligates you to travel soon after baby's birth, you'll be scrambling more than usual to collect the proper travel documentation. The fastest way to get a passport for your new baby is to apply in person at an authorized passport agency.

The Passport Process for Newborns

To get your newborn a passport, expedited or otherwise, you'll need to provide the same documentation and application form as for any child under 16. Use Form DS-11, "Application for a U.S. Passport." Bring with you:

  • A certified copy or original U.S. birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth to prove your baby's U.S. citizenship
  • Documentation that proves your parental relationship (the aforementioned documents can serve this purpose, too)
  • Your own valid government ID
  • A clear passport photo showing your child's full face
  • Your application fees
  • Both of the child's parents 

If both parents can't come, you must either provide proof of parental consent or proof that you are the child's sole legal guardian.

Expediting an Infant Passport In Person

Adults who previously had a passport have the option of expediting renewal by mail. But since babies don't come with passports, the only way to expedite the process for a newborn is by applying in person at an authorized passport agency. You'll need everything required for the regular application, including your form DS-11, plus an extra fee for expedited handling, and proof of your upcoming international travel.

In Case of Life or Death Emergencies

If you have a life or death emergency – which the U.S. Department of State defines as "serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 business days)" – see the State Department's "Life or Death Emergencies" page for phone numbers to schedule an expedited appointment. If you're outside the United States and need a passport due to a life or death emergency, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Other Ways to Make the Process Faster

Sometimes the small things make a big difference. Filling out your application form in advance (although you should wait to sign it until you're in front of the passport agent) and bringing photocopies of your ID and your child's proof of citizenship can help ease your application through the system a little more quickly. Make sure your photocopy shows both the front and back of your ID on a sheet of regular copy paper. The same applies for baby's proof of citizenship, although if there is nothing on the back, you don't need to copy the back side. The photocopies can be enlarged if necessary, and should not be double-sided themselves.