Passport Renewal for 16-Year-Old: U.S. Rules

Turning 16 is often seen as a mark of finally becoming an adult. But the answer to passports may not be as straightforward as the turning of age. In this article, we’ll cover the details of passport renewals and applications for 16-year-olds.

Table of contents

Does a 16-year-old have to apply for an adult passport?

When a child turns 16, the question of whether they need to apply for an adult passport solely depends on the validity period of their passport. If their passport is not expiring around the time they turn 16, it is no requirement to renew it immediately. It will be valid until the date of expiration.

If it does expire around the time the holder turns 16, then yes, it would need to be renewed, this time as an adult passport.

Can minors aged 16 or 17 apply for a passport themselves?

Yes, minors aged 16 or 17 can apply for a passport in the US, but specific requirements must be met. According to the U.S. Department of State, 16- and 17-year-olds can apply for a passport without their parents’ presence, but they must still provide parental consent.

Is it possible to apply for a minor's passport by mail?

No, minors can't apply for a passport by mail. It is not possible to apply for a child’s passport by mail. An in-person application is required.

Passport renewal for minors over 16: application process

The application process for minors over 16 (that is before they reach 18) is similar to an adult’s application process, except for the required parental awareness.

  1. Fill out the application Form DS-11;
  2. Provide the required documentation:
    1. Your proof of US citizenship and photocopies;
    2. Your (or your parent’s) ID and photocopies;
    3. Proof of parental awareness. Here are ways to prove it:
      1. A legal parent or guardian appears with you in person when you apply for your passport and sign Form DS-11. Have a photocopy of that parent or guardian's ID;
      2. Submit a signed note from your legal parent or legal guardian with a photocopy of their ID;
      3. Submit proof that your legal parent or legal guardian is paying your application fees (Example: parent or guardian name is written on the check or money order);
      4. The agent or employee may ask you to submit a notarized statement from your legal parent or guardian (Form DS-3053) with a photocopy of that parent or guardian's ID.
    4. Valid passport photo;
  3. Fee payment;
  4. Submit your application in person;
  5. Wait for processing.

U.S. passport photo criteria

Along with your documents and forms, you must submit a photo that fulfills US passport requirements on your application form. Here are the requirements:

Here is an example:

US passport photo

U.S. passport photo online tool

As we mentioned above, US passport photos have to follow specific requirements to be accepted. To avoid wasting time and resources, we recommend you trust the editing of your photo to a professional tool that guarantees that your photo will fully satisfy the parameters up to the subtlest details.

Visafoto has been processing US visa pictures since 2013 with an acceptance guarantee. Just upload a portrait (or even a selfie) of you taken in decent lighting, with a proper dress code, and adequately posed: look straight to the camera and keep a neutral expression. Visafoto will take care of the rest.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.

Passport photo original source

You will get two files from Visafoto: a digital photo for electronic applications and a template ready for printing.

Example of a USA passport photo
USA passport photo for printing
Read more: Find out passport photo printing tutorials here.

U.S. passport fees for minors

The passport application fees depend on whether you’re applying for an adult passport or a child’s passport.

The child’s passport fees are as follows:

Adult passport fees (for applicants over 16 years old, including those still a minor):

The above fees do not include the processing fee of $35.

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