child on a planeWHAT IS THE CHILDREN’S PASSPORT ISSUANCE ALERT PROGRAM, OR “PASSPORT LOOKOUT SYSTEM”?

The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (“CPIAP”) is administered by the State Department and allows parents to register their U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 in the Department’s Passport Lookout System.  If a passport application is submitted for a child who is registered in CPIAP, the Department contacts and alerts a parent or parents that there are possible plans for international travel with the minor child at issue.  The alert system gives all United States passport agencies as well as United States embassies and consulates abroad an alert if a parent or guardian registers an objection to the issuance of a passport for his or her child.

WHO MAY BENEFIT FROM THE PROGRAM?

If you are a parent that is divorced from your child(ren)’s other parent, a parent that is separated from your child(ren)’s other parent, or a parent who is concerned that your spouse may attempt to take your child(ren) out of the country without your knowledge, the State Department’s CPIAP “Passport Lookout System” may be an invaluable resource for you.  CPIAP provides information to a parent or court when a passport application is submitted on behalf of a registered child.

HOW TO REGISTER THE CHILD.

In order to avail the benefits of the CPIAP, the child must be a U.S. Citizen under the age of 18 and must be registered by filing a written request with the State Department.  It is not necessary for a parent to have any specific custodial rights to the child in order to fill out the request.  The Passport Lookout System Child Registration Form can be downloaded on the State Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/80112.pdf.

Besides a child’s parent or guardian, this form may also be filed on behalf of a child by law enforcement, a court, or someone acting on behalf of a parent.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION?

The CPIAP’s mission is to prevent international parental child abduction.  If a child is registered, all U.S. passport agencies and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are given an alert on the registered child’s name.  If a passport application is submitted for a child who is registered in the CPIAP, the Department contacts the parent or parents of the child, giving the parent advance warning of the possibility the other parent is planning on traveling internationally with the child.

If the child you seek to register already has a passport, the program will notify you if Passport Services receives an application for renewal of the passport. The Department may not revoke a passport that has already been issued to the child.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A PARENT ATTEMPTS TO OBTAIN OR RENEW A PASSPORT FOR THE REGISTERED CHILD?

After receiving notice of the passport request from the CPIAP, the parent will have about 30 days to consent or object to issuance or renewal of the passport for the child.  If the parent who applied for the passport for the child can demonstrate that he or she has sole authority to apply for the passport (for example, by providing a court order indicating he or she has sole custody of the child or a court order specifically authorizing the applicant parent to travel with the child) then the passport may be issued at any time after application regardless of obtaining consent from the other parent.

About the Firm.  Vaughn-Martel Law represents parents and children throughout Massachusetts in divorce, child custody, modifications, co-parenting, and all aspects of family creation and family law.  If you have a question about your specific parenting plan, marital settlement agreement, or court order, or wish to speak to an attorney about effectively parenting with a former spouse or partner, we invite you to contact us.

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