Birth Certificate for Under 18

MrsInsG

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Hi All-

We are cruising in November with our 14 and 11 year olds. They do not have passports, and I planned to use their birth certificates as proof of citizenship. We are sailing an eastern Caribbean itinerary, and unless I'm mistaken, birth certificates are fine for use (for minors) in this case. Here's my question - has anyone ever had a problem boarding with a US citizen minor on a Caribbean itinerary? I am thinking to apply for passports for the girls, but I want to know there is a plan B just in case.

Many thanks for your help!
 

Marc D

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 27, 2016
The usual rule followed by DCL on an Eastern Caribbean ROUND-TRIP cruise is that guests that are U.S. citizens and 15 and younger can board with only a birth certificate.

However, in case of an emergency, a passport is always the best solution. They are valid for a long time, do not cost a lot compared to the hassle of coming back in the country without one from a foreign country and the cost of a cruise.
 
  • MrsInsG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2017
    Thank you, both. We will be getting them, but can't get the appt until later in August. I just wanted to be sure I didn't need to freak out over the possibility of NOT having them. Thank you, again!
     

    tankin

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2013
    @MrsInsG I would definitely get passports. It gives you a nice fallback in case something goes wrong because you can then fly to/from any port.

    As far as the appt, you might want to check around your area. When we went to get passports for our girls, initially we had a long wait time for an appointment but by widening the search, we found a place (local clerk of courts) that took walk ins, no appt needed, and was only farther 15 min away
     

    Maggie'sMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Thank you, both. We will be getting them, but can't get the appt until later in August. I just wanted to be sure I didn't need to freak out over the possibility of NOT having them. Thank you, again!
    If you are concerned you won't get the getting the passports back before your cruise, then be aware the birth certificates need to be sent in with the passport application and are returned separately, often after the passport has been already been received. It's very unlikely you won't get the passports back in time for a November cruise even with a later August appointment. The turn around time quoted is usually 6-8 weeks, but in reality, most people receive their passports 3-4 weeks after application. But if you are still concerned, you may wish to order another copy of your children's birth certificates.
     
  • deliela999

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 27, 2019
    If you are concerned you won't get the getting the passports back before your cruise, then be aware the birth certificates need to be sent in with the passport application and are returned separately, often after the passport has been already been received. It's very unlikely you won't get the passports back in time for a November cruise even with a later August appointment. The turn around time quoted is usually 6-8 weeks, but in reality, most people receive their passports 3-4 weeks after application. But if you are still concerned, you may wish to order another copy of your children's birth certificates.
    I was going to warn you about this. We actually got our passports a day or two before the original documents, they come in separate envelopes. When my daughter was born I went ahead and got 2 birth certificates so it's not an issue for me. My passport was also delayed because the girl at the post office forgot to sign my paperwork so I had to do that part over, but they kept my old passport, birth certificate, and marriage license until it was all finished. I also second to check around for other locations. I could get appointments within a day or two for weekdays at our post office but had to schedule 2 weeks out for Saturday. They also take walk-ins but I didn't want to gamble with that.
     

    smiths02

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2009
    We cruised with our 3 kids (5,5,12) and their birth certificates were barely looked at upon boarding and coming back into the US. We had no problems (DH and I had passports).
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    I would expedite the passport. Not worth the risk of having an emergency and needing a passport to get back to the US by air. But to each his own.
     

    MsOnceUponATime

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2014
    We've sailed DCL closed loops five times with just kids birth certificates. Absolutely never have had a problem any of those times on the Bahamian or Caribbean cruises.

    If you are thinking about applying for their passports anyway -- expediting them to have them back before you sail would ease your mind entirely! Your 14 year old will be able to apply for her passport again at 19 (this time it won't expire for 10 years) and will able to do this alone and your 11 year old's passport will expire in 5 years and she also can apply alone with certain documentation.
     
  • Fred M

    DIS Dad #860
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2019
    Forgot to add that you don't need a private service for this. If it's an extreme rush, you have to go to a Passport Office--our nearest one from Sacramento is at the International Terminal at SFO. However, for just an expedited passport, our local facility was a special room at the Post Office 10 minutes from the house. We ended up getting everything back in 5 weeks. And the postal service employees were pros with all of this. They even had the camera if you didn't get a photo in advance.
     

    Maggie'sMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    The link provided above states that if you need a passport more than 6-8 weeks in the future, the regular service is fine. The OP has an appointment in late August and a sail date in November. That is plenty of time for regular service. Paying the fee for an expedited passport would be a waste.
     

    bumbershoot

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2007
    Here's my question - has anyone ever had a problem boarding with a US citizen minor on a Caribbean itinerary?
    What sorts of problems are you worried about?

    If a minor is allowed to use a BC, that means anyone can use the BC. So there would be no issues for them that there wouldn’t be for you.

    As has been mentioned, if there’s an emergency and they don’t have the passports, then you’ll be getting expedited and usually temporary passports wherever you are, before getting on a plane back home.

    As far as the appt, you might want to check around your area. When we went to get passports for our girls, initially we had a long wait time for an appointment but by widening the search, we found a place (local clerk of courts) that took walk ins, no appt needed, and was only farther 15 min away
    Good idea.

    If you are concerned you won't get the getting the passports back before your cruise, then be aware the birth certificates need to be sent in with the passport application and are returned separately, often after the passport has been already been received.
    Glad you mentioned that.

    your 11 year old's passport will expire in 5 years and she also can apply alone with certain documentation.
    The 11 year old will be 16 at expiration

    “Passports for children under 16 are only valid for 5 years.”

    And

    “Passports for applicants 16 and older are valid for 10 years.”

    The 16 year old “must show at least one parent or guardian knows that you are applying for a passport.”

    That’s all. And having the parent there shows parental awareness. Easy.


    The OP timed the first passports well! Just one 5 year passport each.
     

    MrsInsG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2017
    You guys are awesome; thank you! I appreciate the time you each took to answer the question, and you have set my mind at ease.
     

    bearette

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2006
    My kids have had their passports for years starting at 9 months. Most places take the picture, but for $1-2 more they will take them at the passport office. The cheapest places for pictures is Wal-Mart and Costco. Both parents must be there - not sure about the 16 year old, but definitely for the 11 year old. Any walk in place,be there when they open - especially on a weekend. You have plenty of time for regular service, plus some extra time for problems. Have fun!
     

    Maggie'sMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Both parents must be there - not sure about the 16 year old, but definitely for the 11 year old.
    Both parents don't have to be there. There is a form for the absent parent to fill out if both parents can't make it. The form is available online with the other application forms and I believe it has to be notarized.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    Thank you, both. We will be getting them, but can't get the appt until later in August. I just wanted to be sure I didn't need to freak out over the possibility of NOT having them. Thank you, again!
    You'll be fine for the cruise. But I WOULD get Passports for both of them. The possibility of school trips(choir, band, sports, foreign language class) in the next few years that do require a Passport would be why I say this.
     

    MrsInsG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2017
    You'll be fine for the cruise. But I WOULD get Passports for both of them. The possibility of school trips(choir, band, sports, foreign language class) in the next few years that do require a Passport would be why I say this.
    For sure! Our oldest is 18 and has hers. She was awarded a State Dept. scholarship and spent last summer living in Estonia. My middle daughter already has her eye on an overseas field trip during her sophomore year; my poor wallet! My field trips in high school were day trips to NYC to see shows; I wouldn't mind having had the opportunity to travel the world on someone else's dime!!!
     

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