Several times a year we are contacted by clients that have a genuine concern that their minor child may be taken out of the United States by a family member without consent. Below is the first thing we recommend to our clients.
Stop the Issuance of a Passport for your minor child.
The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) is one of the U.S. Department of State’s most essential tools for protecting against international parental child abduction. The program 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 processed for a child who is registered in CPIAP, the Department alerts the parent or parents. The passport lookout system gives all U.S. passport agencies as well as U.S. embassies and consulates abroad an alert on a child’s name if a parent or guardian registers an objection to passport issuance for his or her child. This procedure provides parents advance warning of possible plans for international travel with the child.
The Office of Children’s Issues, which is part of Overseas Citizen Services, is responsible for administering CPIAP. You can find the CPIAP form here.
It is important to note that it is not necessary for a parent to have any custodial rights to the child in order to request that the child be entered in CPIAP. As long as a parent has not had his/her rights terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, he/she can request that the child be entered into CPIAP.