Between the sleepless nights, the spit-up, and the constant diaper changes, life with a newborn baby can be stressful enough! At PassportInfo.com, we want to help where we can, by making it simple to get a US passport for your baby. In this second part of our guide to passports for newborns, we’ll provide expert advice on how to obtain all the key documents you’ll need to get your baby’s passport fast.
The most important item needed for your baby’s passport application is the birth certificate, which proves your relationship to your baby and (if baby was born in the US) is proof of US citizenship. We covered birth certificates in part 1 of our guide, so today we’ll discuss the other essential documents you will need for your baby to get a US passport.
Social Security Number
Although you will not need to submit or show your child’s Social Security card, the passport application asks for the Social Security Number. When your child is born, a request for a Social Security card is submitted at the same time as the birth certificate paperwork; your hospital or midwife will assist with this. You’ll get your child’s Social Security card in the mail within a few weeks; processing times vary from state to state, with most states issuing Social Security cards within 2-4 weeks.
If you need to apply for your baby’s US passport before you have received the Social Security card, you can fill in “000-00-0000” on the question on the passport application.
You will need to submit one passport photo with your baby’s passport application. This photo must have a plain white background, and there must be nothing in the photo with the baby – no parent’s hands, toys, or furniture. The baby must be looking right at the camera, ideally with eyes fully open. Your baby’s head must be bare, with no hats, hoods, headbands, bows or blankets on the head.
Usually, we recommend that travelers have their photos taken by a professional service, such as those found at camera shops, office supply stores and drug stores, but for newborn babies, it often is easier for parents to take their own passport photo of the baby. You’ll need a digital camera or a cell phone with a good quality camera function. Here’s how to take your baby’s passport photo:
- Set up the “backdrop” by placing a plain white sheet or blanket on a flat surface in a well-lit area.
- Lay your baby on the blanket, and take the photo from above, making sure not to cast any shadows on your baby.
- An alternate method is to cover a car seat, infant swing, or bouncer chair with a white sheet and have the baby sit in it.
- Take lots of photos to choose from!
- Upload your photos to your computer and use a passport photo formatting site to prep your photo for printing. The US State Department has their own photo cropping tool on their website or you can use a site like PassportPhoto4you.
- Print your baby’s passport photo in color on photo paper. If you don’t have a color printer or photo paper, many chain drug stores allow you to upload a photo to their website and pick up the printed photo at a store near you.
- Cut the printed photo to size (2”x2”). You will only need one photo for the passport application.
You will use Form DS-11, Application for a New Passport, to apply for your baby’s US passport. This form has space to be signed by two parents, which leads us to the issue of…
Ideally, both parents will be able to go with the baby to the Passport Acceptance Agent. There, you will both swear an oath and sign your baby’s DS-11 passport application. By doing this, you both demonstrate your consent to have a passport issued to your child.
However, if both parents who are listed on the birth certificate are not able to accompany the baby to the Passport Acceptance Facility, the parent who will not attend will need to complete Form DS-3053. This “Statement of Consent” must be notarized.
If there is a situation in which it is impossible to get the other parent to sign and notarize Form DS-3053, there is another government form, the Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances (Form DS-5525) which can be submitted to explain why it’s not possible for the other parent to provide consent.
Please contact us if you have any questions. We love helping everyone get US passports, but especially the tiniest and cutest travelers!