You may have heard that twins share everything, but does that mean it’s always a good idea? Fooling friends and switching classes are common twin pranks, but trading legal documents is a different story.
The consequences are dire, so it’s essential to know what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to twins and passports.
Can twins use the same passport?
The answer is no. While it may be possible for a twin to pass themselves off as their identical sibling using their passport, it is in no way legal. A passport is meant to be a document that pertains to an individual person’s identity, and twins are not the same person. Therefore, using a passport that does not show the true identity of an individual is a crime.
Identical twins may come from the same egg and share DNA, but there are still ways to distinguish them from each other. From fingerprints to facial recognition, technology makes it difficult to get away with switching legal documents.
That’s why you will have to follow the steps for applying for a passport for each child.
Twins and Passports – What To Know
While it might seem insignificant at first thought, improper use of identifying documents, like a passport, can have serious implications. Let’s start by seeing what the law says.
Is It Legal for Twins To Use Each Other’s Passport?
It is illegal for twins to use each other’s passports, and there are no exceptions to this rule. Even if they can get away with it, the law strictly prohibits this practice under 18 U.S. Code section 1544.
Anyone who knowingly uses someone else’s passport, as well as anyone who willingly gives their passport to someone else to use, can receive a prison sentence.
Consequences of Using Someone Else’s Passport
The consequences for using someone else’s passport vary, but they aren’t small. Using someone else’s passport to travel without any plan to commit a crime carries at least a 10-year prison sentence.
If use of the wrong passport is for criminal activity, that sentence can jump to 25 years. Even if identical twins are switching passports simply to see if they can get away with it, it’s still a crime.
Do Identical Twins Each Need Their Own Passport?
Identical twins need their own passports, and there are specific rules in place to ensure this happens. Identical twins are not one person, and each person’s passport must have their specific identifying information on it.
You can’t leave the country with two babies and one passport since each individual has to present their own. Even though twins almost always share a birthday, they will have different names on their documents.
When To Apply for Your Children’s Passport
If your child needs to travel out of the country, a passport is required. Even newborns and infants need a passport to enter another country. Passports for children 15 and under will stay valid for five years.
You can apply for your child’s passport as soon as you have an official birth certificate. If applying for twins, you need both birth certificates to apply.
How To Apply for a Passport for Twins
- Have Your Babies
No matter how quickly you hope to obtain passports for your twins, they have to be born first. You can’t apply while pregnant. Official birth date is needed for the birth certificates, and each twin will have their own birth certificate.
- Apply for Birth Certificates
You must apply for each child’s birth certificate. You can do this once your children have names and birth dates. Since you have to send the original birth certificates in with the passport paperwork, you might want to request extra copies.
- Make an Appointment
A local government office or post office is the place to book an appointment for a passport. Make sure both parents are available to be present at the appointment.
- Complete Paperwork
Filling out the paperwork before your appointment is a great way to save time. However, both parents and the children still have to show up in person at the appointment to submit the paperwork. A person at the passport office will need to sign off that everyone was present.
- Take Passport Photos
Each twin needs a separate passport photo. You may be able to have someone at the government building or post office take your child’s picture, but you can also take one beforehand to ensure you get a good photo. Also, not all places that handle passport appointments will be equipped to take photographs.
- Use a white background
- Try to get a picture with your child’s eyes open
- Follow measurement guidelines for the picture so your application isn’t rejected
Do Twins Have the Same Fingerprints?
It’s been said that no two people have the same fingerprints, and this is true. Identical twins will not have the same fingerprints despite sharing the same DNA. Fingerprints are affected by DNA, but they are also determined by environmental factors in the womb.
Sharing a womb does not mean each twin has the exact same experience. Access to nutrition, position in the womb, and a variety of other factors make each person’s fingerprints unique. This is true even when twins share the same space.
It is common for identical twins to have very similar fingerprints, and this is when fingerprint minutiae matters. This allows people who need to identify which twin a print belongs to look at the detailed parts of the print and determine the differences.
Can Twins Use the Same Face ID?
It is possible for twins to trick facial identification systems, but it’s not easy. Just like with fingerprints, there are different levels of facial recognition. While it might not be possible to tell twins apart by the shape of their faces, a thorough analysis of distinguishing features that even twins have can make it possible for facial recognition to tell them apart.
Your twins may look exactly alike to most people, but that doesn’t mean they should swap passports. It’s necessary to apply for a passport for each child, and you have to follow the application steps completely for both of them.
What Other Twin Moms Are Saying
When asked how long it takes to get twin passports back after applying, Kari F. said:
“We did this a little over a year ago and it only took maybe 3 weeks for them to arrive in the mail. Remember, both parents need to be present to sign the paperwork.”
Carla V. goes on to share her experience about having her twins’ pictures rejected:
“Our pictures were rejected because they weren’t sharp enough. Just sharing that it seems to be quite strict, so be careful and make sure your their pictures are clear.”
Mom of three (including identical twin boys), wife, and owner of Parents Wonder. This is my place to share my journey as a mother and the helpful insights I learn along the way.