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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Question. 
28th-Feb-2010 07:03 pm
Elayna - Oct08
This is a very specific question, but I have great big readership, so maybe someone's encountered this and can help.

We are taking Elayna in for her passport tomorrow.

All of the forms demand the father's info. And a death certificate or the father's consent stuff. (Note for new readers: Adam is her stepfather, not her biological father. Dad in every way that counts except passports and stuff.)

Suffice to say that providing any of that is impossible, and the explanation for why not is nothing I am willing to say in front of Elayna.

How inflexible are they on this stuff? Mine is the only name on her birth certificate - will that and "the father is not in the picture; I have sole parental rights" be enough, or am I in for a world of hurt tomorrow?

I have been making myself sick for a week now over this. Concert last night helped me push back the panic, but it's back. Because I have to do this tomorrow, or I lose another week, and I've already pushed it back a week due to the aforementioned agitation, and kid needs her passport application in ASAP.
Comments 
1st-Mar-2010 12:05 am (UTC)
My experience (second hand, and more from the Canadian end) is that it is brutally dependent on who you end up with. Some people are very willing to accept that answer - especially with some kind of documentation to that effect - and others will just shut you down completely.

I'll cross my fingers you get the first.
1st-Mar-2010 12:10 am (UTC)
OK - as Parent with Sole Custody you must:

* Appear in person with the minor
* Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
* Submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child with one of the following:
*
o Minor's certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent
o Court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)
o Adoption decree (if applying parents is sole adopting parent)
o Court order specifically permitting applying parent's or guardian's travel with the child
o Judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent
o Death certificate of non-applying parent

NOTE: If none of the above documentation is available, the applying parent must submit Form DS-3053 stating why the non-applying parent/guardian's consent cannot be obtained
1st-Mar-2010 12:11 am (UTC)
1st-Mar-2010 01:47 am (UTC)
From reading this, you should be OK. Suggestion, though: print out the applicable pages from the State Dept.'s website and have them with you, just in case.
1st-Mar-2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Good thought.
1st-Mar-2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think that lightcastle has it right. Since your name is the only one on the birth certificate, then you are good to go with only you and her. Now they will take the birth certificate with them as they send things through to be processed, but it will return to you in the mail afterwards.

When I did mine I had to jump through some extra hoops because my first name was spelled one way on somethings, another on other things. I had to have a form filled out that said really, it's spelled this way from family around when I was born to get my official birth certificate fixed. Then it turns out that the database that counted, had it right all the time, only the local office database where I got my 'official birth certificate' from had it wrong.

Sounds like you'll make it through okay with what you have.

good luck!
1st-Mar-2010 12:11 am (UTC)
I have no legal father. They did not ask for consent once they saw that the father line on my birth certificate was blank.
(Deleted comment)
1st-Mar-2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Speaking as someone who works at the passport office, and has heard the adjudicators discuss this? If you're the only person on her birth certificate, then you don't need the father's consent. You're good with just you.

(I will note that they don't like state IDs -- they'll take driver's licenses as sole proof of identity/citizenship, but not state IDs. And also, if you have any questions, you can come in to the O'Neill building right by North Station and go to the Will Call window, and whoever is there will answer as many questions as you want. Both of which you might already know, so I apologize if I'm repeating information.)
1st-Mar-2010 01:57 am (UTC)
I will point out that after my passport disappeared when I sent it in to be renewed, the woman in the Will Call window was *immensely* helpful and kind.
1st-Mar-2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Long time lurker, yada yada...

Look here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html

Scroll down to Step 6; there are instructions for parental consent, when one parent has sole legal custody. Required documentation is listed as a birth certificate that lists only the applying parent.

Looks like you're in the clear, if I'm reading all of that correctly.
1st-Mar-2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Based on the FAQ info on found on the passport website, just your name being on her birth certificate should be enough!

One Parent
(with sole legal custody)
MUST:
* Appear in person with the minor
* Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
* Submit primary evidence of sole authority to apply for the child with one of the following:
*
o Minor's certified U.S. or foreign birth certificate listing only the applying parent
o Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) listing only the applying parent
o Court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)
o Adoption decree (if applying parents is sole adopting parent)
o Court order specifically permitting applying parent's or guardian's travel with the child
o Judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent
o Death certificate of non-applying parent

NOTE: If none of the above documentation is available, the applying parent must submit Form DS-3053 stating why the non-applying parent/guardian's consent cannot be obtained

http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html
1st-Mar-2010 12:16 am (UTC)
What lightcastle says. I remember reading this when I applied for my renewal in 2008.
If YOUR NAME is the ONLY one on the birth certificate, you are the only one who needs to be there. Because if there is no father named, then how in the world could they prove if he was actually her father?
I was just about to hunt down my recent passport documentation to confirm but lightcastle beat me to it.
Fret not, you'll be okay!
But bring a book, those lines are ugly.
Also- she should not wear a tank top- they really frown on that for some reason, and she should be ready to remove her glasses (or wear contacts) and tuck her hair behind her ears- for some reason, ears are an important part of the visual ID. Don't ask me why, I don't make up these often goofy rules.
1st-Mar-2010 12:17 am (UTC)
Ears are unique and much harder to mimic than the rest of your face.
1st-Mar-2010 12:21 am (UTC)
That strikes me as so bizarre!
You can't even see my ears when looking at my face, okay maybe just the tips. Perhaps, I am a mutant.
But this would be why I never thought of them as an identifiable feature...mine are so difficult to see!
1st-Mar-2010 12:22 am (UTC)
Mine are too, but I guess they're like fingerprints and for most people (I'm looking at my sons as I type this and they have visible ears from the front) you can see the pattern at a glance.
1st-Mar-2010 12:25 am (UTC)
So fascinating! I only remember this tidbit at all because many many years ago, a friend had to go re-do her hair so she could show her ears for the photograph and it stuck in my mind as one of the weirdest requirements!
But thinking on it, we were remarking about the unusual shape of the ears of one of the Japanese figure skaters the other night so the US Gov totally must have a point!
1st-Mar-2010 01:24 am (UTC)
They will want her eyes to be VISIBLE in the photo. If her glasses are reflective she'll need to take them off for the photo.

My bugaboo was keeping my eyes open for the picture. I had my photo taken at Kinko's beforehand, and I was really glad, because there wasn't a line at Kinko's to make me MORE freaked over getting an acceptable picture.
1st-Mar-2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Also, search the web; there was a coupon recently for free photo's at CVS's. Even if you cannot find it they do it pretty cheaply.
YIS,
WRI
1st-Mar-2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Deep breath:

You are not the first person in your position who has ever sought a passport for her child. There must be a way. It probably involves more paperwork. It probably does not involve more trauma.

Your friends have already begun providing useful information, as I see above (sorry, but I have such a short attention span, I already forgot your LJ username, friend--mea culpa).

If you have any trouble, call your congressman. (I think yours is Markey--he's the dean of the delegation, which means his staff will know how to do all the important stuff, because they've been doing it the longest.) Trust me, with all the anti-incumbent fever running rampant, they'll fall all over themselves to help.
1st-Mar-2010 12:20 am (UTC)
What kind of consent stuff is it? Just have someone sign it.
(Deleted comment)
1st-Mar-2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Has Adam adopted her legally? If so he gets to sign as father.

I think everyone else has covered the basics.

How much does she know of her father? Because "paternity has never been established" is probably the best option, especially if there's none on her birth certificate.
1st-Mar-2010 12:47 am (UTC)
In theory, if you're the custodial parent, they shouldn't require consent from anyone else. In reality, of course, it'll depend on the clerk.
1st-Mar-2010 12:58 am (UTC)
Gee you asked a question I had as well because I'm getting my first passport and I noticed that Father is asked on everything too. His name isn't on my birth certificate so maybe as others here have said it won't matter when I go to get mine either.
1st-Mar-2010 01:32 am (UTC)
If Elayna's name is not the same as on her birth certificate, take along the paperwork for the name change. (I have no idea whether Adam has adopted her, for example, just pointing it out.)

I you have a copy of your birth certificate, it wouldn't hurt to have it with you.
1st-Mar-2010 02:07 am (UTC)
I got a passport for the first time this August to go to Montreal. I anticipated some snags because I legally changed my name for none of the typical reasons (marriage, divorce, adoption--it was completely gratuitous). I applied in the town clerk's office in Townsend, Massachusetts.

The feds sent me a letter requesting the originals of my court paperwork for the name change, which I sent, and which they returned. That was it--I got my passport really fast.

And I'm an open Pagan, a member of the ACLU, and in my photo, my hair is blue. :-) I've gotten the feeling that they're not all that picky. Massachusetts is more easy-going about this stuff, in my experience: both changing my name and starting my business were a lot easier than they are in some other states.

They really do go by the birth certificate--whatever is on it, is gospel. From what you say, I think you'll be fine just saying you are the sole legal parent, period.

Good luck!!
1st-Mar-2010 02:25 am (UTC)
My partner's son has "name withheld" on his birth certificate. Obtaining his passport flew through with no issue and no questions. The policy is rather clear. I am a contractor at the State Department and their internal books (Foreign Affairs Manual and Handbook ~ FAM and FAH respectively) are clear that you should have no issues. Should be a cake walk. Being able to answer the why question with a simple phrase would be a good general idea, though it should never come up. I suggest "Paternity was never legally established" as both true and legalese enough to confuse the issue.

At some point you will need to explain this to the sprout, but that should be "the right moment", not at the force of a bureaucrats whimsy.

Edited at 2010-03-01 02:26 am (UTC)
1st-Mar-2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Do you have power of attorney for everything regarding Elayna? My mom used that to get passports for my sibs when my dad's legal state was in flux (we had no death certificate, long story).

If Adam has formally adopted her, there shouldn't be any issue with forms.
1st-Mar-2010 02:52 am (UTC)
I can't remember if you've submitted your legal name change paperwork yet. If you have, bring it along.
1st-Mar-2010 03:12 am (UTC)
I have no additional advice, except this - if you can bring a copy of her birth certificate to submit, that would prevent you having to send the original.

I had to get a new passport when I got married and the State Department wanted either the original marriage license or a copy with a raised seal. I didn't want to send in the original (despite them saying they'd send it back) and so I scanned the original, got a graphic designer at work to go over the seal area with Photoshop's burn tool, and submitted that copy instead.

I did get it back, but I also had peace of mind knowing they didn't have the only original copy.
1st-Mar-2010 05:35 am (UTC)
when you get this information, you should possibly start compiling stuff like this for BARCC. Others will want to know about negotiating these things.
1st-Mar-2010 12:15 pm (UTC)
Bryan was not raised by his bio dad (who is listed on his birth certificate), but was formally adopted by his stepdad at age 6. I can check with him, but I'm pretty sure that when he applied for his passport, that he only needed his mom and stepdad's signatures.

I really hope that this works out for you and that you do not have to deal with potentially embarrassing or painful topics.
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