Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Immigration Corner | Do I need his mother's consent?

Published:Tuesday | May 2, 2017 | 5:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

In 2004, my stepmother had her daughter send her grandson to live with us in Jamaica.

My stepmother subsequently passed away in 2008. However, her grandson's passport expired in 2009.

We have since been trying to get his mother's consent to get the passport renewed, but that task has been a bit tedious. Is there anything we can do to get it renewed without her?

- D.B.

Dear D.B.,

The issuance or renewal of a US passport for a minor (under 18 years old) can be quite an effort. The process is deliberately difficult to prevent parental abduction of children. Generally, both parents are supposed to be present to apply for a US passport for a child.

If the application is taking place in Jamaica at the US embassy and one or both parents are absent, there are provisions in place to have the missing parent(s) complete a sworn application/affidavit in place of their presence. If one parent is missing, there is also a separate form to be completed, attesting to their absence. If you are solely responsible for the child, you can apply for the US passport with proof of your legal status with the child.

 

SECURE PROOF

 

If the child is 16 or 17 years old, only one parent needs to consent and the child can sign their own passport application. Once the child is 18 years, they can apply for their US passport on their own and the parental issue goes away.

You did not indicate how old the child in question is, but he would be at least 12 years old. Depending on the immediate need for the passport and the mother's failure to cooperate in the application process, the young man can wait until he is 18 years old and apply for his US passport on his own. In the meantime, try to secure his US birth certificate and proof of birth from the hospital where he was born in preparation for the passport application at the appropriate time.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com