Obtaining a Passport for a Child/Youth under DCFS Supervision
1200-501.40 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide outlines the procedure on how to obtain passports for children who are under DCFS supervision.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 08/26/10 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.


Passports for Children/Youth under DCFS Supervision

Per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all children, including infants, are required to present valid documentation to enter or depart from the United States. Children under the age of sixteen (16) may continue crossing borders using only a U.S. birth certificate or other form of U.S. proof of citizenship, such as a naturalization certificate . Americans must additionally meet the entry requirements of Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and other Caribbean countries when traveling to these countries. .

The following persons can apply to get a passport for a child:

  • Parents
  • Caregivers
  • Foster parents
  • Legal guardians
  • Assigned CSWs or other authorized DCFS personnel

Required Documentation

The following documentation is required when applying for a passport for a child/youth that is under DCFS supervision.

  1. A court minute order. The court minute order must:
    • Have the hearing officer’s signature
    • Establish custody or guardianship of the child
    • Contain specific language that permits the parent(s), legal guardian(s), or caregiver(s) to travel with the child
    • Include the child’s name, their travel companion’s name(s) and relationship to the child, and the child’s destination
    • Grant permission for the child to obtain a passport
    • Specify that DCFS is to provide the payment
  2. Proof of citizenship for the child, which must include one (1) of the following:
    • Certified U.S. birth certificate, which has:
      • A registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal
      • Registrar’s signature
      • Date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. This date must be within one (1) year of the child’s birth.
    • Previous, fully valid U.S. passport
    • Report of a Birth Abroad (Form FS-240)
    • Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350)
    • Valid driver’s license, if applicable
    • Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization from United States Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS)
    • A delayed birth certificate that was filed more than one (1) year after the child’s birth may be accepted if it either:
      • Lists the documentation used to create it
      • Is signed by the attending physician or midwife
      • Lists an affidavit that is signed by the parents, or
      • Shows early public records

For a child in an adoptive placement, the prospective adoptive parent may not be given the child’s certified birth certificate due to the confidentiality of the birth parents. SCSWs and/or the County Counsel should be consulted on the procedure for prospective adoptive parents to obtain a passport for a child.

If the child does not have a certified birth certificate or a previous U.S. passport, the child must instead have both:

  • A Letter of No Record issued by the state with the child’s name, date of birth, the years which were searched for a birth record, and a statement that no birth certificate is on file for the child.


  • As many of the following documents as possible:
    • Baptismal certificate
    • Census record
    • Doctor’s record of post-natal care
    • Early school record
    • Family bible record
    • Hospital birth certificate

If none of these items are available, use a combination of these documents such as a social security card, credit card, bank card, and/or library card. None of these items may be used alone.

A U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who has known the applicant for at least (2) years can vouch for the applicant. That witness must present a valid primary ID and complete the DS-71, Affidavit of Identifying Witness, in the presence of a passport agent at the time of the application.

  1. Social security card. This cannot be used as identification.
  2. Two (2) identical passport photographs that meet all of the following criteria:
    • 2x2 inches
    • Color
    • Full face
    • Front view
    • With a plain white or an off white background
    • Taken in normal street attire and not in a uniform
    • Taken within the last six (6) months
    • If normally worn, prescription glasses, a hearing device, wig, or similar articles
    • The following is not acceptable for a passport photograph:
      • Vending machine photographs
      • Hats or headgear that obscures the hair or hairline unless worn daily for religious purposes
      • Uniforms
      • Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses, unless the child needs them for medical reasons. In such a case, a medical certificate may be required.
  3. Application fee, paid to the U.S. Department of State
  4. For the person applying for a child/youth under the age of sixteen (16), one item from each of the following lists must be submitted as evidence of the person’s relationship to the child. A child’s previous U.S. passport is not considered acceptable evidence.
    • One (1) of the following:
      • Certified U.S. birth certificate with parents’ names
      • Certified foreign birth certificate with parents’ name and, if necessary, translation
      • Report of birth abroad (Form FS-240) with parents’ names
      • Certificate of birth abroad (Form DS-1350) with parents’ names
      • Adoption decree with adopting parents’ names
      • Court order establishing custody
      • Court order establishing guardianship


    • One (1) of the following:
      • Valid driver’s license
      • Valid official U.S. military ID
      • Valid U.S. government ID
      • Valid U.S. or foreign passport with a recognizable photograph
      • Naturalization/Citizenship certificate from USCIS with a recognizable photograph
      • Alien resident card from USCIS

Passport Fees and Processing

The fees to obtain a passport are as follows:

Age of Person Seeking a Passport


Infant to age sixteen (16)

  • $105.00, which includes:
  • Application fee: $80.00
  • Execution fee: $25.00

Age sixteen (16) and older

  • $135.00, which includes:
  • Application fee: $110.00
  • Execution fee: $25.00

Both fees and surcharges are combined into one (1) payment and should be paid to the U.S. Department of State. The acceptable method of payment should be inquired about at that the site where the passport is being obtained. Most passports agencies now only accept applications by appointment. To make an appointment, or to obtain information, call the National Passport Information Center. All children, including infants, must appear in person and be accompanied by an adult.

To obtain a passport via routine service, the processing time is two (2) to four (4) weeks, if applying at a Passport Acceptance Facility such as a local post office, municipal office, courthouse, or library.

For expedited service of a passport, the processing time is within two (2) weeks if the application fee is made at one (1) of the seven (7) Regional Passport Centers. An additional $60.00 will be charged for the application fee.


Applying for a Passport for Children in Out-of-Home Care

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the minute order, DCFS 5540, and all documents being submitted for a child’s passport application.
  2. If not approved, return the documents to the CSW for completion.
  3. If approved, sign and submit all reviewed documents to the ARA for approval.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the minute order, DCFS 5540, and all documents being submitted for a child’s passport application.
  2. If not approved, return the documents to the SCSW with instructions for further completion.
  3. If approved, sign and return to the SCSW for processing.
  4. If the requested reimbursement amount is $500.00 or more, submit all documents to the RA for approval.

RA Responsibilities

  1. Review the minute order, DCFS 5540, and all documents being submitted for a child’s passport application.
  2. If not approved, return to the ARA for further completion.
  3. If the amount is $500.00 or more, approve and sign all documents and return to the ARA for processing.

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Submit a request to obtain a passport along with the travel request to the SCSW for approval, and next to the court, well in advance of the planned travel date.
    1. If the plan is for the child to travel outside of the United States, a court order is required as outlined in Vacation Requests.
  2. Use the following language when requesting that the court authorize DCFS to obtain a passport for a child:
    • “It is respectfully recommended that DCFS be authorized to apply for a passport and to pay for the passport fee for the child [child’s name] and that [select one (1) of the following]:
      • “The child’s parent [enter parent’s name(s)] be authorized to apply for the child’s passport.”
      • “The child’s caregiver [enter caregiver’s name(s)] be authorized to apply for the child’s passport.”
      • “The Children’s Social Worker [enter your name] be authorized to apply for child’s passport.”
  3. Obtain the fully completed minute order approving the vacation request.
  4. Schedule and make the passport application appointment at a Passport Acceptance Center.
    1. Bring all required documents to the appointment.
  5. If a parent, legal guardian, or court approved travel companion is applying for the passport for a child under the age of fourteen (14):
    1. Advise them that:
      1. They must present all required evidence of their identity when applying.
      2. The child must appear in person at the passport application appointment.
      3. They must cosign the child’s application.
      4. They must bring all required documents for the child.
    2. Direct them to make an appointment at a Passport Acceptance Center.
  6. Complete the child’s Application for Passport but do not sign the application until instructed by the Passport Acceptance Agency representative.
    1. Instruct a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver to do the same if they are applying for the child’s passport.
  7. Request payment from the Special Payment Unit. Pay the applicable fees to the U.S. Department of State at the Passport Acceptance Center.
    1. Verify with the Passport Acceptance Center the method of payment that is required.
    2. Obtain receipts for reimbursements and/or records.
    3. If the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver is to pay the fees, complete the DCFS 5540 This graphic links to a form tutorial video., Special Payment Authorization Request , and obtain the SCSW, ARA, and RA’s approval.
      1. Include the parent, guardian or caregiver's social security number on the request.
    4. If requesting reimbursement for application fees paid, submit the DCFS 5540 and all receipts to the DCFS Special Payments Unit.

Requesting Payment or Reimbursement for Passports

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If you or the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver has already paid for passport fees, fax a copy of the minute order with the judicial signature, the approved DCFS 5540 Special Payment Authorization Request, and all receipts to (213) 637-2551 for reimbursement.
  2. Document all actions and contacts in the Contact Notebook.

SCSW, ARA, and RA Approval

  • DCFS 5540, Special Payment Authorization Request
  • The RA signature is needed only if the amount requested is $500.00 or more.


LA Kids

DCFS 5540 This graphic links to a form tutorial video., Special Payment Authorization Request


0300-503.80, Vacation Requests

0100-525.11, Placing Children Outside of the Country

1200-500.10, Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce)


U.S. Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act of 2004 – Requires all person, including U.S. citizens traveling by air, to present a valid passport to reenter the United States and that all persons’ U.S. citizenship and identity be documented.