Having a baby is a busy and exciting time for the parents. If the baby is born in the US it also involves lot of paperwork. Would-be parents should have a good idea about the documents needed for a newborn in the US otherwise the paperwork involved after the baby is born would be overwhelming for them. Documents required for the new-born are

Birth Certificate for a New Born Baby

How to apply for my newborn baby's birth certificate?

You will be required to fill out a form during your hospital stay for the birth certificate and the rest will be taken care by the hospital. In some states, the hospitals advise you to apply for SSN first and then the form for birth certificate. The reason for the one month lag is simple. The hospital has to send a record for the baby's birth to the State office. Once the office has that record, the birth certificate can be issued very quickly. Verify the process at your hospital in advance.

In either case you will receive the birth certificate through mail. In case you haven't decided the name of your baby, then you can fill out the form later and submit it at your County Health Department. It might take a while before you actually receive it. But it is always better to think about the baby's name in advance as it is much easier to apply for a birth certificate at the time of birth. There is no charge for this service.

Why do I need extra copies of my baby's birth certificate?

Any certificate of birth issued by a hospital is not a legal document. You need to apply for a birth certificate to be at your local county department. You will be required to submit copies of the birth certificate on the following occasions:

  • Getting your child into school or at the time of school enrollment
  • Getting a work permit
  • Getting a passport
  • Getting a drivers license
  • Getting a social security number

How do I apply for extra copies of birth certificate?

  • You will be given a form during your hospital stay to order extra copies of the birth certificate. Fill it and post it to your county Health Department along with the required fee per copy. Your baby's record will be at this office for 3 years.
  • If you want some more copies after this time duration, then you must send in baby's name, date of birth, and parents name at your State Health Vital Records Office. For example, if you need more information on birth certificates in California visit: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/default.aspx
  • Select the county that applies to you on this link http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CountyRecorderOffice.aspx
  • There is a fee per copy for the birth certificate but it differs at different locations. For example, it is $17 per copy in San Diego and $22 per copy in Virginia.
  • The application for the extra copies must be notarized

Social Security Number for a New Born Baby

Why should I get SSN for my baby?

Your baby is a U.S. citizen by being born in the U.S. As a US citizen, SSN is very important for your baby. Getting a SSN is just the beginning of the valuable protection and benefits your child may be eligible for in the future. Young children need SSN for many reasons. For example you will need the SSN if you want to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Show your child as a dependent on your income
  • Buy saving bonds
  • Get medical coverage
  • Apply for any government services for your child

Consider it a first step in some of the most essential things people do in the U.S. Not having an SSN is likely to cause delays in several processes mentioned above.

How do I apply for my baby's SSN?

You have two choices. You can:

  • Apply for SSN in the hospital when you furnish information for your baby's birth certificate. It is always much easy to apply at the time of birth. You will be asked if you want to apply for a SSN for your baby. If your reply is "yes", you will be required to provide the SSN of both parents. Your baby will be assigned a number which will be directly mailed to you.
  • You can apply later also for a SSN, through the Social Security Administration Office. You will need to:
    • Fill out an SSN application. (You need to provide both parents SSN.)
    • Show evidence of your child's age, identity and citizenship.
    • Show evidence of your identity.

Contact information for SSN

  • You can get the online form here
  • You can also visit one of the local Social Security offices.
  • You can also call at the toll free number, for SSN related matters : 1-800-772-1213

Do I have to pay in order to get a SSN?

No. There is no fee for a SSN card.

I have lost my baby's SSN card. What should I do to get a replacement?

Keep your baby's SSN card in a safe place. It's an important document. However, if you lose the card, it can be replaced free of charge at your nearest social security office.


Newborn Baby's Passport (American passport)

Do I Need to Obtain a Separate Passport for My Baby?

Yes. All persons, including newborn infants, are required to obtain passports in their own names.

If applying for your child under age 13

As a parent or legal guardian you have to apply for your child. Both the parents have to appear in person and sign up at a passport agency or authorized passport acceptance facility. If only one parent can appear then a notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the non-applying parent/guardian should be submitted. Both the parents are required to show their current valid ID. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must show an alien registration card ("green card"), valid foreign passport, or driver's license. If you do not have an acceptable ID, someone with current valid ID must vouch for you as described above. A child would be issued a Passport valid for a maximum of five (5) years.

Documents Required for US Passport for your Newborn Baby:

  • Form DS-11
  • 2 Passport Photos that are : 2 x 2 inches in size, identical, taken within the past 6 months, showing full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background. Do not wear a hat or a headgear.
  • Proof of US Citizenship such as original copy of your child's birth certificate (Xerox copies are not accepted) or naturalization certificate. The birth certificate will also prove relationship of the child to the parents as it carries the parent's names.
  • Copy of your child's Social Security Number. (Xerox copies are accepted).
  • Proof of Identity of both the parents such as Driver's License or passport etc.
  • Passport fee and processing fee.

Passport processing services at USPS

  • You can also use the Passport Processing services at the nearest USPS office.
  • To locate the nearest location go to www.usps.com.
  • Then click on Passport Application Services in the tab 'Products & Services'.
  • Fill in your zip code to locate the nearest office.
  • Check for the passport processing hours.
  • You can also get the passport photo clicked here. Passport photo processing hours may vary at each store.
  • Check if you need to set up an appointment for this service. Many locations welcome walk-ins.
  • In all there are over 4,500 public places that accept passport applications, all over the United States. To find the a location around you click here :nearest location and office
  • To find out the nearest passport facility, and other information on Passport Services, visit this link at : http://travel.state.gov

Do I need to apply for Passport Card for my baby?

All US citizens can apply for Passport Card. If a person has US passport book there is no need to have a passport card. US Passport Card can be used as a form of identification for Minors but the card cannot be used for international air travel. It can only be used at land borders and sea-port entry from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. It can be convenient and less expensive but not a viable option for children of Indian immigrants who want to travel to India regularly.

What is the passport fee for minor?

Passport Service

Passport Fee*

Execution Fee*

Total Fees

Under Age 16

$70

$25

$95

Age 16 and older

$95

$25

$120


*The fee is subject to change without prior notice.

Where to get the application form?

Passport acceptance facilities provide passport forms. They can also be downloaded from the internet at http://travel.state.gov or obtained by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-900-225-5674. The form name is DS-11.

How long does it take to get the passport?

Routine service will normally take about 6 weeks time. The passport will be mailed to you. But there are different services that expedite the process as well. Remember, if you opt for a faster service, you will have to pay more fee.

How to get a faster service?

If you need your passport urgently, then you can take the Expedited Service. The cost of the expedited service, in addition to regular application fees, is $60 per application plus overnight delivery costs.

What are the mode of payment?

  • Major Credit Card - Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or debit card (Not ATM and without a pin). Some passport facilities do not accept credit cards.
  • Personal Check.
  • Bank Draft, Postal or Commercial Money Order.

Tips

  • If you are planning to travel and need the passport for the new born baby, apply several months in advance of your planned departure. Allow more time for visa from the foreign embassy.
  • Both the parents must provide valid ID's.
  • Normally, presence of your baby (under 13 years of age) is not required. However, passport agents reserve the right to require appearance of the child.

Getting Indian Visa/ PIO/ OCI for your Child

Do I need to obtain a separate visa for my baby to visit India?

Yes. All persons, including newborn infants, are required to obtain visa in their own names, to enter India. Your child can get a PIO, OCI, or Indian Visa.

What kind of visa will my baby get?

Your baby can get a Tourist Visa, either valid for six month stay or for ten years with six months stay at each visit to India.

What are the documents required for getting Indian visa, PIO or OCI?

  • Provide One Passport Photo.
  • Your photograph must be: 2x2 inches in size, taken within the 30 days of applying, showing full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background. Do not wear a hat or headgear.
  • Application form which can be downloaded from the internet at :www.cgisf.org.
  • Visa fee.
  • Valid Passport.

In this reference bear in mind two important aspects:

  • A child would be issued a Visa valid maximum for five (5) years.
  • None of the Indian Consulates or Embassy has any appointed agents/representatives for accepting application for consular services. All applications should be sent directly to the consulate, either through mail or in person, and not through any agent.
  • The procedure for visiting an Indian Consulate office is usually given on the website.

When do I receive the Visa/Passport?

You can receive the Visa/Passport:

  • At the Consulate, in person.
  • By mail as well. The processing and delivery time for the applications received via mail are longer.

What is the difference between Indian Visa/ OCI/ and PIO?

Indian Visa: Your baby can get a Tourist Visa for India. The visa will be valid either for a six-month period or for ten years with six months stay during each visit to India. You can apply to the BLS office in your jurisdiction for an Indian Visa. A child would be issued a Visa valid maximum for five (5) years. You can apply for Indian Visa in person or by mail. You have to fill the online Visa Application form known as IVFRT, fill the BLS Order Form, attach the supporting documents and photograph, and pay the fee.

OCI: OCI or Overseas Citizen of India is for People of Indian Heritage whose home countries allow dual citizenship. After getting an OCI card you will not need visa to travel to India. Any person who was eligible to become a citizen of India on or after January 26, 1950, or who belonged to a territory that became a part of India after 15th of August 1947, or is a child or grandchild of a person meeting any of the criteria above can apply for OCI. Citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot apply for OCI. You can apply to the BLS office in your jurisdiction for an OCI. For more information about OCI please click here http://www.path2usa.com/overseas-citizen-of-india-oci.

PIO: A PIO card is for people of Indian origin who want travel to India without Visa. PIO Card is for person (s) who at any time has held an Indian passport, or has parents or grandparents or great grandparents born in and permanently resided in India as defined by the Government of India Act, 1935, or who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin as mentioned above. Persons of Indian origin up to four generations back can apply for the PIO card. The exception applies for citizens of China, Bhutan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. For more information about PIO please click here: http://www.path2usa.com/pio-card-person-of-indian-origin.


Health Insurance for New-Born

Although this is not restricted to immigrants alone please remember to register the newborn baby in your health insurance plan. This can be done within 30 days after the birth but figuring out the baby's health insurance and the plan coverage prior to the birth will make you better prepared. Also, in case the baby arrives early you will be ready with all the details of the baby's health care plan.