What is Form DS-5525?
When a minor is applying for a passport, the consent of both of his or her parents is an important requirement for the application. However, there are situations wherein the consent of one of the child’s parents cannot be obtained, and because of this, the child may not be issued a passport. In this case, the parent or legal guardian of the child will have to fill out the Form DS-5525 or the Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances for Issuance of a US Passport to a Minor Under 18 to grant the issuance of a passport to the child.
Why Do I Need to Submit This Form?
What does the law require for issuing passports to minors?
The United States Department of State requires the consent of both parents of the minor when applying for the minor’s passport. Usually, one of the parents will be signing Form DS-11 (US Passport Application Form), while the other will be signing the accompanying Form DS-3053 (Statement of Consent for Issuing a Passport to a Child). This is primarily done to protect the minor from possible exploitation overseas, such as international parental child abduction and child trafficking.
What if only one parent or guardian is present with the minor during the application process?
There are times wherein only one parent or legal guardian (referred to as applying parent) can be present during the application process; thus, only the consent of the applying parent can be obtained at that moment. The primary action to be taken is to have the other parent (non-applying parent) submit a notarized authorization letter to express his or her consent.
What if the non-applying parent is unable to submit a notarized authorization letter?
This is where the Form DS-5525 comes in.
The non-applying parent may either be incarcerated or cannot be contacted despite several attempts. In these cases, it may happen that the court orders or decrees still reflect that both parents have joint custody of the child. The law stating the need for the consent of both parents during passport application will still apply.
However, because of the situation of the other parent, it may be impossible to obtain consent from them.
In this case, the applying parent must establish that the minor’s family is under exigent or special family circumstances so that the minors could be granted an exception to the law. This could be done by having the applying parent submit an accomplished Form DS-5525, accompanied by other legal documents, to prove the family’s circumstances.
There are only certain cases in which you will be allowed to fill out this form. There should be a time-sensitive reason that requires the passport to be expedited, and the travel should be related to the health or welfare of the child. Other than that, the State Department may reject your application.
If you have legal documents reflecting your full or sole custody of the child, it is most likely that you do not need to submit this form.
How to Fill Out Form DS-5525?
The form has eight items that you, the applying parent, are required to answer.
Item 1. Provide the child’s legal name in the space provided.
Item 2. Provide the child’s birth date in the space provided.
Item 3. Provide your legal name in the space provided.
In Items 4 through 7, you will be asked to provide information about the non-applying parent and to explain why the consent of the non-applying parent cannot be obtained.
Item 4. In Item 4, provide the personal information of the non-applying parent:
- Legal Name
- Other Names They May Have Used
- Date of Birth
- Address (Street, Apartment No., City, State, ZIP Code, Country)
- Telephone Number (include area code)
- Email Address
Item 5. In Item 5, you are asked if there are any legal documents in your possession that would provide information about the child’s custody. These documents may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Divorce Decree
- Custody Order
- Protection Order
- Stay Away Order
- Restraining Order
Check Yes if you have any of these documents; otherwise, check No.
If you checked the box for Yes: you should submit together with Form DS-5525 the supporting legal document (must be the one most recently issued).
Item 6. In Item 6, you are asked if the non-applying parent is currently incarcerated. Check the box that matches your answer.
If you checked the box for Yes: You should submit together with the form evidence of the non-applying parent’s incarceration. This could be a letter from the convicting criminal court, a copy of the incarceration court order, or a copy of the online inmate locator page.
Item 7. Item 7 asks you to provide information about the attempts you have made to contact the non-applying parent to get their consent. Kindly describe the attempts you have made in the spaces provided in Item 7.
You are also asked if you may have attempted to contact the non-applying parent through a third party (it could be a friend or a relative of the non-applying parent). In the space provided for “Other” under Item 7, write down the personal information of the third party you have contacted and the attempt details:
- How they know the non-applying parent
- Phone Number
- Approximate Dates (dates where you have contacted the third party to attempt to connect with the non-applying parent)
Note: It could be hard to contact the minor’s non-applying parent. However, do exhaust all means possible in contacting the non-applying parent. The State Department may reject your request if they are not convinced that you have exerted great effort in contacting the non-applying parent. Explain in detail all the attempts you have made in the spaces provided.
Item 8. In Item 8, you are asked to explain in detail the reason why you are requesting for the issuance of a passport to a minor without the non-applying parent’s consent. Write your explanation in the space provided. If you find the provided space insufficient, feel free to continue writing on a separate sheet of paper.
(Sample guide questions: What is the reason why the other parent’s consent cannot be obtained? How is the travel related to the health or welfare of the child? Why does the passport application process have to be expedited?)
Signature. Lastly, affix your signature in the space provided in the lower part of the form to confirm your request and to certify that all information you have provided is correct. Also, write the date when you signed the form in the space provided.
Important: You are signing under oath. Be sure to provide factual and correct information in this form, and submit only valid documents together with this form. Falsifying information and documents will be punishable by fine and/or imprisonment under the law.
How Do I Submit the Accomplished Form DS-5525?
The accomplished Form DS-5525 and the accompanying legal documents must be submitted together with the Form DS-11 (Passport Application Form).
Take note that the Form DS-11 has other requirements that need to be submitted as well (for example: the child’s birth certificate, parent or guardian’s valid ID, passport picture). These requirements are further explained in the said form.
There is no application fee to be paid when submitting this form.