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Baby’s First Passport: Here’s How To Get A U.S. Child Passport + My Review Of The Process

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By Candida

I’m a Canadian citizen, and I actually met my American husband in Canada while we were both working in the motorcycle industry. We’ve lived and worked together all over North America during our courtship and throughout our marriage.

Our baby was born in the U.S. — which makes him an American Citizen, but he is also eligible for dual citizenship. Of course nothing is official until we gather all of the necessary documents and fill out the proper applications.

We have plans to travel internationally as a family, and any flight beyond a domestic one is going to require our baby to have a passport.

The U.S. infant passport is the easiest to apply for because he was born in the U.S.

The Canadian infant passport will require a few more steps — which I may cover in future articles, once we start the other necessary applications.

Everything You Need To Get A U.S. Child Passport

Following are all of the documents you will need to apply for before you can get a U.S. Child Passport:

  1. Hospital Record Of Birth

Once you deliver your baby, you will receive a Hospital Record of Birth / Certificate of Live Birth.

This form is a record of an actual human entering into the world.

It includes information such as:

  • Name of baby
  • Names of parents
  • Name of doctor
  • Name of person completing the record
  • Hospital
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Date of birth

You will need this certificate to apply for your baby’s Birth Certificate.

  1. Birth Certificate

You can apply for and request a (long form) copy of the Birth Certificate from the Vital Records office for your state.

I ordered 2 copies — because I knew that I could be dealing with multiple applications at the same time, each requiring a certified copy of our baby’s Birth Certificate.

The certified copy has the registrar’s signature and — depending on the state — will have an embossed, impressed, raised, or multi-colored seal.

You need an official Birth Certificate to move forward with the U.S. Child Passport application.

  1. Social Security Number

Your baby is not required to have a Social Security Number at the time that you’re applying for a U.S. Child Passport — however you must provide the SSN if your baby already has one.

I applied for our baby’s Social Security Number as soon as I got the Birth Certificate.

Here is the form to apply for your baby’s Social Security Number.

  1. Baby Passport Photo

You can get baby passport photos taken at any place which offers them: Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, etc.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try to take them yourself!

There are several DIY videos available on how to take infant passport photos.

I didn’t want any delays, so I had my baby’s passport photo taken at Walmart.

baby passport photo tips

My baby can sit on his own — so I was able to hold him on the photo stool by his waist and remain completely out of the picture!

Here are some suggestions if your baby cannot hold their head on their own:

  • Lay the baby down on a white sheet and take the photo from above — just make sure there are no shadows on baby’s face, and the skin tone needs to be accurate.
  • Cover baby’s car seat with a white sheet, place baby in it, and then take the photo.

If you do take the photos yourself, be sure to follow these U.S. passport photo guidelines.

Where To Submit The Child Passport Application

First, find out if you need to make an appointment at your local passport application acceptance facility (like a post office) or a regional U.S. passport agency — or if you can just show up.

Then, have this checklist complete when you make your way to submit your baby’s passport application:

  • Completed and unsigned Form DS-11 “Application For A U.S. Passport”
  • Certified birth certificate (which identifies your baby’s citizenship)
  • Each parent’s government issued ID (like a passport or valid driver’s license)
  • A copy of each of the documents mentioned above
  • 2 child passport photos
  • Payment for the passport fees (Remember to bring a check — because the passport application is accepted at the facility, but they send it away for processing, along with your check.)
Applying for a U.S. Child Passport

Both parents need to appear in person with the baby (child under 16). If one parent is unable to attend, you have to submit a notarized Form DS-3053.

Be prepared to swear an oath to which the information is correct and you are both, indeed, the child’s parents.

NOTE: A U.S. Child Passport is good for travel and valid for 5 years. When it comes time to renew your baby’s passport, just remember that the standard issuing time is generally 4 to 6 weeks — and the child must attend in person again with the parents. Once the child turns 16, you can renew your child’s passport by mail.

The Bottom Line…

I thought the process of applying for a U.S. Child Passport was super easy!

It’s a bit time-consuming for sure — with all the processing times required for each application:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Passport

That’s why I wanted to get started as soon as possible!

U.S. Child Passport tips

My baby is 8 months old. At the very least, we will be ready for international travel in as little as 4 to 6 weeks.

We will face lengthy processing times when we start the dual citizenship process. (We are currently waiting on the U.S. Child Passport as an additional form of government-issued ID.)

TIP: For the U.S. Child Passport, we ordered both the Passport Book and the Passport Card. The most important difference between the 2 is the book is required for international air travel and the card is only acceptable for land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.