Does a Child Need an ID to Board a Plane?

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    Passports

    • All children flying outside of the United States to any other country are required to present a valid United States passport prior to boarding the flight. Without a passport your child cannot fly out of the country or return to the U.S. from another country. Passports take up to eight weeks to process and deliver so you need to apply for your child's passport well before your international departure date.

    Visas

    • Depending on the country to where you are traveling you may need to present a Visa for your child at the airport. Before you book your flight, check the U.S. Department of State's website to see if the country you are traveling to requires a Visa; if it does, you must apply for a Visa for yourself and your child before you depart (travel.state.gov/visa).

    Lap Babies

    • Children under the age of two are permitted to fly free of charge provided they sit in the lap of a parent and not in their own seat. Some airlines require that parents show proof of age for lap babies, such as the child's birth certificate, passport or immunization records. Not all airlines require you present a birth certificate for your lap baby; call your airline or check the website prior to going to the airport because you could be turned away from the gate without proper identification for your child. Many airlines require a doctor's note approving air travel for infants younger than 14 days old.

    Unaccompanied Minors

    • Minor children flying without a parent are required to present a birth certificate or identification card prior to boarding any flight on some airlines; it is sometimes required to determine the age of an unaccompanied minor since there are strict guidelines regarding the age of children that are permitted to fly unaccompanied. To book an unaccompanied minor on a flight you are required to call the airline, so ask the airline representative about identification for your minor while you are booking his ticket.

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