My US child passport expires on December 4, 2016, and I'm planning on traveling in December.
I know I need a new child passport to travel then.

However, I turn 16 in June 2017.
After I turn 16, would I still be able to travel on a child passport until it expires (around December 2021, I would be 20 years old) or would I need an adult passport then?

  • 6
    There are no US children/adult passports. Even when you're 3 months old, you'll get exactly the same passport, just with limited validity as stated by pnuts above.
    – George Y.
    Sep 17, 2016 at 18:34
  • 2
    In short, get a new passport now, and it will be valid for the next 5 years. After that, you can get a new passport valid for 10 years at a time. Sep 18, 2016 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


The answer is, yes you will be able to travel on your passport as long as it is remains valid (in this case not expired). There are no "child passports" in the USA, a child gets the passport which is exactly the same as adult passport, with the only exception it is valid for 5 years.

And if a 5 year validity bothers you for some reason, note that you can (but don't have to) replace your passport again once you turned 16 - you do not have to wait until it expires.

PS. If anyone's curios, in some countries a child's passport is indeed different from an adult passport, and must be replaced when the child turns 16. However it is usually achieved by making the child passport expire at their 16th birthday, so it is rather obvious. As stated before, this is not the case in the USA.

  • 2
    Do you have a reference for passports expiring at 16th birthday? This sounds extremely unlikely, as it would mean that you could not travel around your 16th birthday, or given many countries requirements for 6+ months validity, for the preceding 6 months.
    – Doc
    Sep 18, 2016 at 4:26
  • I also wonder why those countries seem to agree on the age 16, whereas voting, drinking, driving, and consent ages vary all over the place. Sep 18, 2016 at 5:59
  • @Doc in the case of Germany you can get a regular passport while you have the child passport, then handing in the latter to get the former. You can of course do this before your child passport expires, thus avoiding problems when traveling around the crucial birthday. The threshold is 12 here btw. I assume it works similarly for other countries. Also I can't find a lower age limit for getting the regular passport.
    – mts
    Sep 18, 2016 at 11:16
  • Ukraine for example has it: see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Travel_Document_of_a_Child
    – George Y.
    Sep 18, 2016 at 14:14

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