For general tips to prevent child abduction, see the State Department’s International Parent Child Abduction Prevention Tips page for more information.
If you are in the middle of a custody case, you may be able to ask the judge to seize (hold on to) the child’s passport. If there is no ongoing case, you may be able to file for a restraining order, and ask the judge to hold the child’s passport as part of that case.
If the child does not have a passport, but you fear the other parent may apply for one for the child, the State Department has a program called the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. Visit the U.S. Department of State Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) for details. The program allows parents to register their U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 in the Department’s Passport Lookout System.
To enter your child into the program, complete the Request for Entry into Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, provide proof of your identity (a photocopy of your driver’s license or other ID card), and submit a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate or other documentation to show that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian. Mail, fax or email these items to Passport Services, Charleston Passport Center:
U.S. Department of State
Passport Services, Charleston Passport Center
Attn: Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program
1269 Holland Street, Building D
Charleston, SC 29405
Note: If your child has dual citizenship, the child may be able to travel out of the country on the passport of the foreign country. Since the State Department cannot regulate passports from other countries, you may want to contact that country’s embassy or consulate to ask if it has a similar program. Find contact information for specific embassies and consulates.