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Question of the Week: Does My Baby Need a Passport?

Dear Editors,

Does a nine-month-old baby need a passport when returning to the U.S. from Mexico?



Photo courtesy hjl via Flickr.


Hi Jose,

As I’m sure you’ve found out, the answer to this question isn’t as clear-cut as you’d think. You can thank the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for that! This initiative went into action in 2007, making it much more difficult–and often impossible–to travel between Western Hemisphere countries without a passport. In the case of your child, whether or not she/he needs a passport depends entirely on how you plan to travel.

If your baby is traveling by land, passport possession is purely optional–children under the age of 16 who are citizens of either the United States or Canada can squeak by the border with just a copy of their birth certificate. However, if you’re flying home, it’s a whole different story. All travelers entering the U.S. by air–including newborns, infants, and nine-month-old babies–must have a valid passport to get into the country. If you don’t have one and you’re already in Mexico, you can apply for your baby’s passport at Mexico’s U.S. Embassy. Of course, that’s hardly an ideal scenario. Better to plan ahead, get all the proper documents together, and have your passport in hand before you ever leave home.

Best of luck in your travels, and have fun in Mexico!



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My name: Kate Beall

How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.

Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.

First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.

View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.

Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.

Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.


Nathan Rodriguez

Good pointed and interesting question, very well answered in my opinion.

Cherokee County Homes

Good information to know since I will be traveling with my 3yr old boy soon.

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