With the New Year on our heels many of us are making resolutions or perhaps a resolve to not make resolutions. Among the things that I have decided is to continue to travel with my baby.
He is slightly over 16 months, and a three-hour flight consists of reading, singing, snacking, coloring, looking out the window and anything else to keep him busy. If I’m lucky he won’t need a diaper change until our layover. But, getting to our final destination makes it worthwhile.
I could go on about why travel works for my family, but the story I want to share most is how our latest trip was nearly stunted. My husband and I planned a trip to Ontario, Canada to visit friends, therefore, needed a passport for our son. We filled out all the paperwork, had his photo taken and went to the Travis County Courthouse’s passport processing center to ensure a smooth process. That part was easy and definitely recommended. We had allowed plenty of time to receive the passport and even paid for expedited shipping as an extra precaution.
We received an email that stated, “The evidence of U.S. citizenship or nationality you submitted is not acceptable for passport purposes.” It went on to say “The document you submitted does not sufficiently support your date and place of birth in the United States since your birth was in a non-institutional setting.”
Although we had submitted a Texas State birth certificate, it was insufficient to establish our son’s entitlement to a U.S. passport because he was born at home. Homebirth babies are asked to present additional documents beyond a birth certificate, which is not typical of most passport processing.
The process can get a bit confusing because you’ll be asked to submit a combination of original or certified documents, but the combo or amount is not clear. We submitted three additional documents after speaking with the National Passport Information Center: 1-877-487-2778 (TTY/TDD: 1-888-874-7793). At the end of this article I am sharing a portion of the letter we received in case you are planning to obtain a passport for a child born at home.
Our son’s passport arrived the day before we were due to fly and the trip went off without another hitch.
Even though my days of snoozing on the plane or casually reading a magazine during takeoff are on hold, I don’t want to put travel on pause. Traveling with my son means that he will inevitably get off schedule, but he is learning to be flexible and is getting to experience snow, different forms of transport, and other languages and cultures.
Hopefully this information helps other families plan their journeys without the stress of passport uncertainty. We try not to worry too much about what might happen while in transit or away from the familiar and instead look forward to grand adventures.
Below is a portion of the letter we received from the National Passport Information Center. If you had a child at home and are applying for a passport it could be helpful.
Thank you for your recent passport application. The evidence of U.S. citizenship or nationality you submitted is not acceptable for passport purposes for the following reason(s):
The document you submitted does not sufficiently support your date and place of birth in the United States since your birth was in a non-institutional setting. Therefore, please submit a combination of the following:
Early filed religious records showing your name, date and place of birth;
Early school records showing your name, date and place of birth;
Medical records created within the first year of your birth;
Insurance records showing your name, date and place of birth;
Birth Certificates for brothers or sisters older than you;
Border Crossing Cards or Green Cards for your parents issued prior to your birth;
Parent’s tax, rent, or employment records created at the time of your birth which indicated their U.S. residency; and/or
Any other document established in your infancy or early childhood that indicates your date and place of birth.
Note: All documents submitted must be original or certified.
If you have any questions, please contact the National Passport Information Center: 1-877-487-2778 (TTY/TDD: 1-888-874-7793)
For general passport information or to check the status of your passport application, please visit us on-line at travel.state.gov.
By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.