Passports for Children with Special Needs


So…as I mentioned previously, we had passport photos taken the other day.  With the strict guidelines Passport Canada has regarding photos, I knew it would interesting.

Passport Canada has a page with general information for persons with disabilities.  You can take a look at it here. (Note:  I was quite surprised to see the address/URL for the page uses the word handicap in it.)

I’d like to know what YOU had to do, if anything, for your child(ren) with special needs to get their passport.

I called Passport Canada ahead of time to inquire what I would have/need to do if we couldn’t get a photo with his mouth completely closed.  They informed me I would have to get a letter from a Doctor explaining why.  Okay, I got on the phone with the Ped. Dentist and asked if they would help and provide a letter.  I explained the circumstances and situation and today I got a call back telling me the letter was being sent off in the mail today! THANK YOU Dr. Weinberger!! 🙂

During the photo taking, the photographer had asked me to remove Patrick’s glasses for the glare.  No problem, I took mine off for my photo as well.  She kept asking him to look at her or the camera, and he was, but it doesn’t look like he’s looking at you.  I told her he was and also asked if that would be an issue for their guidelines as well.  She wasn’t sure.  I called Passport Canada (PC) again and asked if there would be an issue with his eyes.  She informed me it would be up to the discretion of the individual office.  Needless to say, I’m looking at getting a letter NOW instead of later, just in case!  It also dawned on me that all children over the age of 11 have to sign their own passports, so I inquired about that as well.  Again, another letter from a Doctor is needed stating why he is not able to sign his own passport.  Patrick can write PAT, but not his full name, nor could he do it in the small space requested by them.

All of this will be worth it to know and see how much he will enjoy the trip! 🙂

Have you had to do anything in particular to get a passport for your child(ren) with special needs.  What do you think about the process?  Do you think they ask too much information?  Do you think all the letters are necessary?  Do you or did you have to pay for these letters?

Please share your experiences, I’d love to hear them.

Have a great evening!

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6 thoughts on “Passports for Children with Special Needs

  1. We are in the states and my husband and I were just talking about getting passports for the boys. They are teens but cannot write and certainly not in the required space. Thanks for all of your info in describing your personal experience, there’s a lot of ‘huh – hadn’t thought about that’ lightbulbs going off in my head! We are so bubbled in our environment and we are heading into the real world now as they get older. Best wishes to you and again, thanks for the heads up!

  2. I’m in the states and we’re in the same situation. Odd, because my boy’s name is also Patrick. The Passport photographer spent 15 minutes trying to get a good picture. The only one we got where he is looking at the camera is with his mouth open. He just danced around and refused to cooperate with very patient and very nice photographer over at the AAA travel agency office. This weekend I am going to take his application to the acceptance agency and see what happens. Patrick is also not capable of signing his name, he can only print PAT in very big, sloppy writing. He’s 13 an intellectually challenged. This will get quite interesting.

  3. I’m in Canada, and just got my second set of passport photos for my 3 y/o boy with autism. The first one was rejected since his second ear wasn’t showing clearly and the first had too much light shining through it. Too bad, because he had perfect eye contact with the camera, neither smiling nor scowling. This time we can see both ears, and his mouth is closed and his head straight, but he is looking slightly ABOVE the camera. This after 30 attempts by a very patient photographer. If they reject this one, we already decided that we’d have to go to his pediatric specialist and ask for a letter asking for leniency due to his disability. I feel your frustration!

  4. I live in England and also am experiencing similar problems. My 8 year old son is severely autistic and we’re trying to take our own photo of him, but its proving difficult due to the strict guidelines set in place. Got NO chance of him sitting in a booth for the camera! I have emailed the British passport website and yet to hear what they can come up with. I’ve seen many holidaymakers abroad with learning difficulties, so there has to be a way round it. I’ll let you know how I get on. Thanks for your website, was having difficulty finding this subject on the Internet. Thanks!

  5. hi

    the link you provided seems to not be available anymore. Do you know of any updated site for info on the same?

    thanks

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