Yep, you need to wait to 16 to get a 10-year passport. Thanks for starting this thread. I have a high schooler who needs a new passport, and I had not thought of needing to go to the appointment, since he qualifies for an adult passport. I looked at the parental awareness info and will send my approval/signature along with a picture of my id. It is interesting that approval from two parents is not being required as it was definitely required the last time my kids & their cousins got passports. I was asked for father's approval letter.
You definitely can travel with less than six months to some countries. Look up your countries of interest here to see what the country requires for a US passport. https://travel.state...tion-Pages.html
There are countries that require 6 months.
Italy, Germany: Must have at least six months vailidity beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
Others do not.
Australia, South Korea: Must be valid at time of entry
Ireland, Japan: Valid for the duration of your stay
United Kingdom Must be valid for duration of your stay (six months remaining validity recommended) We did this with multiple kids having about 4 months on passports, without any trouble.
Portugal: 3 months beyond the intended date of departure
France: Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area (We did this with 4 months remaining, without any troubl
Spain: 6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required.
Since you mentioned a cruise:
Bahamas, Mexico: Must be valid at time of entry.
Cayman Islands, Aruba, Jamaica: Must be valid at the time of entry and exit
Costa Rica: Length of stay
If a trip comes up as your son turns 16, you can pay for an expedited passport. I think it says 2-3 weeks. Regular passports are running 4-6 weeks according to the website.