US Passport for newborn babies

Everyone in U.S. regardless of age is expected to have their own passport. Newborn babies are no exception to this. If you are travelling abroad your baby will need his own passport. This article describes the process of applying for a U.S. passport for a newborn baby.

STEP 1: Complete Form DS-11

This is the most basic step in the process of passport for newborn kids. The DS-11 is an application for a U.S. Passport.

  • The passport applicant (baby) has to apply in person. This means that parents or a legal guardian must accompany the baby.
  • Fill the form DS-11 with the baby's full legal name, his social security number and other personal information. For more information on DS-11 please visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html
  • Provide any supporting document as required in the form.
  • Please do not sign the application unless instructed to do so

STEP 2: Give evidence of U.S. Citizenship

You can submit one of the following as an evidence of U.S. Citizenship.

  • Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state
  • Consular report of American birth abroad
  • Previously issued U.S. passport
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certificate of Citizenship

Tips

  • If you are temporarily in the U.S. (H1-H4 visa, L1-L2 visa, etc) your best bet would be to present a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. You have to apply for the birth certificate at the time of birth. The hospital authorities usually guide parents on applying for Social Security Number and birth certificate immediately after birth of a child.
  • No abstract (short, duplicate) versions of birth certificates are accepted.
  • You must produce a certified birth certificate that has a registrar's seal, his signature, and the date on which the certificate was filed with the registrar's office. Apply for birth certificate as soon as the baby is born or within one year of birth to avoid any hassles.

STEP 3: Give evidence of relationship to your child

You will have to prove that you are related to your newborn baby as parents. All documents must be submitted in original.  For this you can submit any of the following evidence.

  • Ideally a certified birth certificate with both parents' names is good enough.
  • If the child is born abroad you should submit the following:
    • Child's certified Foreign Birth Certificate with name of both the parents.
    • Child's Report of Birth Abroad with name of both the parents.

Formal or informal English translation must be submitted with all the foreign documents.

  • If the child is adopted, submit an adoption decree with the parents' name.  
  • If you are guardian to a newborn baby, you should submit the following:
    • Court order establishing custody.
    • Court order establishing guardianship.
  • Evidence of Name Change like copy of marriage certificate must be submitted if the name of a parent/guardian has changed since the original documents were issued.
  • Previous US passports are not accepted as evidence of relationship.

STEP 4.1: Identification Evidence Of Parents

Parents of newborn babies should present proof of identification at the time of application for a new passport for the child. Acceptable proof of identification includes:

  • U.S. passport in undamaged condition
  • Valid driver's license
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Current military ID or Government ID

If you do not have any of these, you can use evidence of secondary identification as described below as well as an identifying witness who can vouch for your identity.

(A) Secondary identification

If you do not have any evidence listed above, you can present the following secondary proof of identification as well to verify your personal identity. Please note that you have to present ALL the documents. They are not considered valid if presented alone.
Secondary Identification = Social Security Card + Credit Card + Employee ID + Library Card

(B) Identifying witness

You can also take help of an 'Identifying Witness'. An identifying witness is a person who can identify you and can swear to your identity. There are a few regulations for this. The identifying witness must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have valid ID (Driver's license, US Passport, current military or government ID).
  • Be present at the time of application.
  • Have known you for at least 2 years.
  • Fill and submit Form DS-71: Affidavit of Identifying Witness in the presence of a Passport Agent. This form is available at the Passport agency or local acceptance facility.

STEP 4.2: Submit Photocopy of Parents/Guardian Identification

You must submit photocopy of the identification as described in step 4.1

  • A photocopy of each identification document must be presented by a parent or guardian of a newborn baby with the baby's passport application.
  • If you have twins or quadruplets and you are applying for more than one passport, you must include a photocopy of each parent/guardian ID document along with each newborn baby's individual passport application. No combined applications are accepted.
  • The photocopy should be taken on a plain white, 8 1/2 x 11" standard paper stock, showing the front and the back of your ID. No other paper size is accepted.
  • Do not use both sides of a paper.
  • While taking a photocopy, you may enlarge the image of your ID on the 8 1/2 x 11" page, but you are not allowed to decrease the size of the image.
  • You must attach photo copies of al secondary identification, if any with your application. An assistant to a disable applicant who witnesses the signature or signs on the disabled customer's behalf must present a photocopy of his or her ID.
  • A person acting as an Identifying Witness (Form DS-71) must present a photocopy of his or her ID as well.

STEP 5: Provide Parental consent

Both parents of a newborn baby must provide a consent authorizing passport issuance for the baby. The following conditions may apply to you. Ideally both parents must go for filing the application. However, there are some exceptions.

Both parents of the new born must

  • Appear in person with the newborn baby.
  • Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent.

For one parent

If only one parent is going for the application process, he must

  • Appear in person with the newborn baby
  • Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent
  • Provide and submit the second parents' notarized Statement of Consent (Form DS-3053)

For a third-party submission

If the parents of a newborn baby are applying via a third party, he will have to submit:

  • Submit a notarized written statement or affidavit from both the parents of the newborn baby or guardians authorizing a third-party to apply for a passport.
  • When the statement of affidavit is from only one parent/guardian, the third-party must present evidence of sole custody of the authorizing parent/guardian.

One parent (with sole custody of the newborn baby)

If only one parent is applying, he must do the following. First it is important to accompany the baby. Second it is important to show documents required. Last, it is important to show evidence of what happened to the other parent. If a written letter from the non-accompanying parent is provided, the letter should be less than 3 months old.

  • Appear in person with the newborn baby.
  • Sign Form DS-11 in front of an Acceptance Agent.
  • Present evidence of sole authority to apply for the new born baby with one of the following:
    • Newborn baby's certified U.S. birth certificate listing only the applying parent.
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) listing only the applying parent
    • Court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless child's travel is restricted by that order)
    • Adoption decree (if applying parents is sole adopting parent)
    • Court order specifically permitting applying parent's or guardian's travel with the child
    • Judicial declaration of incompetence of non-applying parent
    • Death certificate of non-applying parent
  • If the single parent does not have any of the above documents he will have to submit a form DS-3053 stating why the non-applying parent/guardian's consent is not available or cannot be obtained at the time of the passport application

STEP 6: Provide 2 Passport Photos & Pay the fee

Please provide two color photos of the newborn baby. The photos must be identical and 2 x 2 inches in size. The photos must not be older than 6 months and it is better to click new photos for the baby just before applying as babies grow very fast and change appearance. The photo must have the baby's full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background.
The fee applicable for newborn babies is as follows:

  • Newborn baby Passport Book & Card - Application fee $95 + execution fee $25
  • Newborn baby Passport Book only - Application fee $80 + execution fee $25
  • Newborn baby card only - Application fee $15 + execution fee $25

For more information on fee and the form DS-11 please visit: http://travel.state.gov/passport/fees/fees_837.html

Tips

  • Sometimes it is just good to go to the nearby USPS post office and apply for the newborn baby's passport. You can get a photo clicked there, get all documents notarized and also send a prepaid mailing envelope to get the baby's passport.
  • However, the best and perhaps the fastest option is to appear in person in the Passport Agency near you.
  • Check the website of Department of State and vital records for your state to make sure that you are on the right track.
  • Clicking a photo of the infant baby can be a little challenging. You can get a passport clicked in Walgreens or other 24 hour photo facility around you.
  • Carry proof of identification with you during the visit to the Passport Agency.
  • Expect about 2-4 weeks for the entire process to complete.