It’s officially unofficial! We are planning a visit to my husband’s, let’s call him Monsieur (M.), homeland, France. This will be the first time our daughter, Mademoiselle (Mlle.), will meet her paternal grandparents and uncle. Last week, we spent a couple of hours in the post office getting her a passport.

A passport is required for everyone including babies when travelling internationally. You can fill in and print out an application online but here are a few details that aren’t made very clear on the government’s website you should be aware of:

  • A child’s (under 16 years of age) passport is good for 5 years (instead of the 10-year time frame for adults)
  • You will be expected to mail an original birth certificate with the application. It will be mailed back in 1 week’s time.
  • You will need one set of photocopies of parents’ IDs (front and back) per application
  • child applicants must be present when applying for a passport
  • both parents must be present or the one parent present must submit a notarized Statement of Consent

Here are baby and daddy waiting patiently.


I am not complaining because it is all in the interest of protecting children but they are really sticklers for these rules. We waited in line long enough that by the time we reached the counter, I had to sit and nurse the baby. Even though baby and I were technically present, the passport agent made me stand up, approach the counter and show her Mlle’s face while still attached to me before she would begin processing the application. That was still less of a hassle compared to what we went through to get Mlle’s French passport at the French Consulate. For that one, in addition to the usual requirements, we had to submit our original birth certificates and M.’s mother’s birth certificate, plus the long-form of our marriage license. Who knew there was a “long-form”? Get this – the only difference between the long form and short form are the inclusion of our parents’ names and birth places and a notation regarding any previous marriages for either of us. Oh, yeah, and we had to pay $35 to get the long form! Why aren’t all marriage licenses long form in the first place?

Anyway, the best way to get through all this bureaucracy is to be as well informed as possible beforehand and bring copies of everything!

Organization is key while on the road too! I am drooling over this orange passport case. It’s large enough to hold multiple passports, boarding passes and other vital documents. Plus, the zipper keeps everything secure!

orange passport case

Do you have any wise travel advice for families to share?