One of the most rewarding things about becoming a parent is the opportunity to see the world with fresh eyes as you introduce your little bundle of joy to all manner of new experiences. Though it might feel like something of a military operation to get organised and out the front door at times. Parents that are passionate about travel will want to take the necessary steps to ensure that when adventure calls; baby can come too with their very own baby passports.
Of course, just because your little one is firmly attached to your side at all times, it doesn’t mean they won’t need the relevant paperwork to travel. Or that you can wait until the last minute to arrange this. In fact, your baby will need a valid child passport to travel. We would recommend applying at least two months before you might want to leave the country. The one-day emergency passport service is not available for first-time passports due to the amount of paperwork that needs to be processed. However, an £87 fast-track one-week service is possible with an appointment at a local passport office.
If you’re planning your first holiday together as a family; getting your hands on the baby’s first passport is an exciting event. Plus, as many airlines offer free or discounted flights to children under the age of two; they could well become a miniature jet-setter before they even need a seat of their own.
Applying for a baby passport
The good news is that the application itself is relatively straightforward. You can print the relevant form from www.gov.uk or simply drop into any Post Office which offers the passport Check and Send service. However, there are a few things you must provide to complete the application process. As well as the application form you will need:
- Two identical passport photographs in colour; One must be signed on the back by a professional who personally knows you and your baby in order to vouch for the likeness of the picture. Passport photos can be tricky to get right at the best of times. Let alone when you have a wriggly, camera-shy child to snap. In order to maximise your chance of success; ensure that your baby is the only person in the photograph and holding no toys or dummies. To make life slightly easier, children under six years old do not have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression. Additionally, children under one year old can have their eyes closed. It’s best to take the picture against a plain cream or light grey background in order to properly see the facial features.
- Documentation to prove your baby’s nationality such as a birth certificate or the details of your own British passport.
- Payment of £46 or £55.75 if using Check and Send. Be aware that once this payment is sent and the application process begins, you will not be able to claim a refund.
Travelling with a baby
When you book your flights, be sure to talk to the airline about how your child will travel. On an international flight where it’s likely you will be spending some time sleeping; you will probably have to book a travel cot for your baby to rest in. Shorter flights might simply see them sitting on your lap. If you have booked an adult seat for your child to travel; you may need a child’s car seat in order for them to travel securely and safely.
When making your travel plans, don’t forget that some parts of the world may require certain vaccinations that your baby might be too young to have. For example; babies under six months are unable to be vaccinated for yellow fever whilst babies under two months can’t take anti-malaria tablets. Always check with your GP if you are unsure whether a destination is safe.
In the name of playing it safe, don’t forget to ensure that you and you baby are covered by the right insurance policy when you head off on your travels. That way, you can truly relax and enjoy