Minors under age 16 cannot apply for a passport by themselves.
Both parents/guardians must appear in person with the minor and provide consent, authorizing passport issuance to the minor. If one parent/guardian is unable to appear in person, then the DS-11 application must be accompanied by a signed, notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the non-applying parent/guardian.
If the minor only has one parent/guardian, evidence of sole authority to apply for the minor must be submitted with the application in the form of a:
U.S. or foreign birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or adoption decree, listing only the applying parent
Court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent (unless child’s travel is restricted by that order)
Court order specifically permitting applying parent’s travel with the child
Judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent