Applying For A Child’s Passport

Considering an overseas holiday with the family? Don’t forget to apply in plenty of time for passports for all travellers. Everyone travelling overseas needs to have a valid passport, including the kids.

The first time I applied for a passport for one of my kids was when my son was 18 months old. My husband, my son and I were taking a medium-length flight in Europe. His passport photo was adorable – a cheeky little monkey who had to be reminded not to smile for the camera – for just this once!

The flight was a breeze. We had bought him a special toy to play with on the plane but he was far more interested in running up and down the aisles, babbling to the passengers and charming the air stewards. The meal for all the passengers was unduly delayed … apparently because all the crew were too busy chatting to him!

Roll on a year and a half and our next experience with passport photos and air travel was nowhere near as relaxed. My youngest was just nine months old and no, infants do NOT look in the direction that they are supposed to look, keep their eyes open, refrain from crying or actually do anything that you need them to do, right there, right then – especially when you really, REALLY need that photo. We spent a fortune in a photo booth with my son sat on my husband’s knee to get the shot only to have it rejected due to tight guidelines around photos. Our second attempt was more successful when we had the idea to put a hand up the back of my son’s shirt and hold him gently in the right position but out of shot!

This travel involved multiple flights to the other side of the world with a three-year-old and an infant. It was so very, very long! Midway across the Pacific, I was ready to step out for some “fresh air”.

Passports for kids

When you’re ready to tackle air travel with the family the first consideration is those passports. New Zealand passports for adults are valid for 10 years whereas child passports are only valid for five years.

The New Zealand passport service allows you to apply for or renew passports online (subject to terms and conditions). By applying for passports online there is no need to print or send forms or visit a passport office. The online service also removes the need for professional passport photos to be taken. Applicants can take a photo with a smartphone or digital camera and upload the image with their application. See examples of acceptable photos here.

Who needs a passport?

All children (under 16 years old) and babies need to have their own passports when travelling overseas. To obtain a New Zealand passport you must be a New Zealand citizen.

Your child is a New Zealand citizen if:

  • They were born in New Zealand, Niue, the Cook Islands or Tokelau before 1 January 2006.
  • They were born on or after 1 January 2006 and at least one of their parents was a citizen or a permanent resident of New Zealand, Niue, the Cook Islands or Tokelau at the time of the child’s birth.
  • They qualify for a New Zealand citizenship certificate. Find out more here.

More information

Processing of a passport application usually takes around two to three weeks (not including delivery times).

For more information about applying or renewing a passport, click here.

When travelling overseas, it is advisable to register your travel with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Please note that the above information was correct at the time of publication. Always check for the latest information with The Department of Internal Affairs before undertaking any overseas travel.

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”

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