How To Apply For A US Passport for Newborn Babies
Anyone in the US, regardless of age, must have his or her own individual US passport when traveling abroad. This implies that if you and your newborn baby and/or minor children are traveling abroad, they will need their own passport.
The process of applying for a US passport for a newborn baby is the same as applying for a US passport for minor children under 16. Once granted, US passports for newborn babies and children under 16 are valid for 5 years.
US passport applications for newborn babies and children must be submitted by the parents in person at a passport agency or passport application acceptance facility. To apply for a US passport for a newborn baby or child under 16 years old, follow the newborn passport application steps outlined below.
STEP 1: Complete Form DS-11
Download Form DS-11 Application for a US Passport, from the USCIS website.
- The passport applicant (in this case, the infant) has to apply in person. This implies that the parents or legal guardian must bring the baby when submitting the application in person.
- Complete Form DS-11 with the baby’s full legal name, social security number, and other personal information. More information about Form DS-11 can be found here.
- Provide any supporting documents as required in the application.
- Do not sign the application unless instructed to do so.
STEP 2: Provide Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
Any one of the following can be submitted as evidence of US Citizenship:
- Certified birth certificate issued by city, county, or state
- Consular report of American birth abroad
- Previously issued US passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Certificate of Citizenship
- If you have nonimmigrant status in the US (H1/H4 visa, L1/L2 visa, etc.), you should bring a certified birth certificate issued by 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 a Social Security Number and birth certificate immediately after the 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, signature, and the date on which the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. Apply for a birth certificate as soon as the baby is born or within one year of birth. Keep in mind any immediate travel plans along with the newborn and plan accordingly.
Protect your child with travel medical insurance on your next trip.
STEP 3: Give Evidence of Relationship with the Child
You will have to prove that you are related to your newborn baby as parents. All original documents must be submitted. Any of the following documents can serve as evidence:
- Ideally, a Certified Birth Certificate with both parents’ names.
- 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 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 such as a copy of marriage certificate must be submitted if the name of a parent/guardian has changed since the original documents were issued. If only one parent can go in person with the child, then attach Form DS-3053 “Statement of Consent” to the application.
- If only one parent is in the picture, either show proof of sole custody of child or get a court order to get the other parent to sign the Form DS-3053 to explain the ‘special circumstances’ section.
- Previous US passports are not accepted as evidence of relationship.
STEP 4.1: Identification Documents for 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 proof of identification listed above, you can present the following secondary proof of identification to verify your personal identity. Please note that you have to present ALL of these documents. They are not considered valid if presented alone.
- Social Security Card
- Credit Card
- Employee ID
- Library Card
(B) Identifying witness
You can also bring along 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, or current military or government ID).
- Be present at the time of application.
- Have known you for at least 2 years.
- Fill and submit a 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. This implies individual applications for each child with its corresponding documents.
- 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 photocopies of all secondary identification, if any, with your application. An assistant to a disabled 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: Absence of One or Both Parents
Both parents of a newborn baby must appear in person and sign the DS-11 in the presence of the Acceptance Agent. However, there are some exceptions.
For one parent
If only one parent is taking part in the application process, they 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, they will have to submit:
- A notarized written statement or affidavit from both 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, they must do the following.
NoteIf 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 newborn baby with one of the following:
- If a written letter from the non-accompanying parent is provided, the letter should be less than 3 months old.
- 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, they 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 and Pay Fees
- Provide two color photos of the newborn baby.
- The photos must be identical and 2 x 2 inches in size.
- The photos must be recent, since appearances change frequently.
- The photo must have the baby’s full face, front view with a plain white or off-white background.
- No one else should be present in the photograph.
- If the baby is unable to sit upright, the picture may be taken with the baby laid down on a white surface.
Fees for applying for a newborn passport are represented in USD
|Type of Application
|Minor/Newborn Passport Book & Card
|Minor/Newborn Passport Book
|Minor Passport Card
The entire processing time for applying for a passport for a newborn or child takes 6 to 9 weeks. However, expedited processing is available for an additional fee. Expedited service takes 3 to 5 weeks for processing or within 14 calendar days if expedited at agency. The expedited service fee is currently $60 USD.
Here are some additional tips to help with the application process.
Photographing Newborn Babies
The best way to take a passport photograph of your baby is to lay the baby down on its back on a white sheet, making sure there are no shadows on the baby’s face. Another way is to cover the baby’s car seat with a white sheet then place the baby in the car seat. Both of these ways make sure the baby’s head is supported for the photo.
- Sometimes it is best to go to the nearby USPS post office and apply for the newborn baby’s passport. You can get a photo taken 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 at the Passport Agency near you.
- Check the Department of State website and vital records for your state to make sure that you are on the right track.
- Carry proof of identification with you during your visit to the Passport Agency.
For more information about services for newborns in the US, the following links may be useful.