Depending on the circumstances surrounding the adoption, you may need to provide a few more pieces of evidence if you have an adopted child. This page discusses both getting a passport for a foster child and information on how to get one for an adopted child.
A passport application for an adopted or foster child may involve several steps. The adoptive or foster parents frequently lack the necessary paperwork, so before applying for the passport, they must visit a number of organizations to get certified copies of the originals or, in some cases, acceptable forms of secondary proof. It is advised that parents or legal guardians of these kids start the passport application procedure as soon as they know they will be leaving the country because this could take quite some time.
Applying for an adopted child's passport
Identifying the child’s citizenship in the United States is the first stage in the passport application process. Typically, all that is needed to demonstrate citizenship is a birth certificate. However, for parents who have adopted children, especially from abroad, or who are caring for foster children, a birth certificate might not be readily available and alternative documents must be given. The steps for getting passports for non-biological children in each situation are described below.
Passports for Adopted Children Abroad
Children who meet the following requirements automatically receive U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act, which entered into effect on February 27, 2001:
- One parent is an American citizen through birth or naturalization.
- The child and the aforementioned parent are both residents of the United States.
- A legal permanent resident (LPR) status is granted to the child.
- The child is under the age of 18 at this time.
- The adoption is complete.
Before applying for an adult U.S. passport, children who were adopted overseas and have turned 18 must go through the naturalization procedure to become citizens.
The following documentation is required in order to apply for a U.S. passport on behalf of the adopted kid who qualifies for one under the Child Citizenship Act:
- A duplicate of the final adoption decree. This needs to be an authenticated copy that has been translated into English.
- Original birth certificate bearing an I-551 stamp or green card of the kid
- Identity documentation for the adoptive parents
Although a Certificate of Citizenship is not necessary for passport applications for children covered by the Child Citizenship Act, getting one for the child within a year after the adoption is highly advised to avoid future issues. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will issue this certificate if the adoptive parents submit an N-600 form. You may get this form at www.uscis.gov/n-600.
Passports for Adopted Children in the United States
When requesting their child’s passport, adoptive parents of an American-born minor under the age of 18 must provide the following documentation:
- An official birth record – Birth certificates can only be used as identification and citizenship proof as of April 2011, and they must include the child’s name, date of birth, place of birth, and both parents’ full names. Although adoptive parents are eligible to ask for an altered birth certificate, there is frequently a lengthy waiting period before they can get one.
- In the absence of a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, further citizenship documentation must be shown. A baptismal certificate, early school record, hospital birth certificate, medical record of care, or a certified adoption decree are examples of early public records that can be used. Any other supporting documentation must be accompanied by a Letter of No Record, which can be received from the Office of Vital Statistics of the child’s state of birth.
- The approved adoption decree serves as additional evidence of the child’s parentage. Adoptive parents are required to present photo identification.
Passports for Children in Foster Care
The same criteria as stated above are applicable when a kid in a state’s foster care system requests a passport. When requesting a passport, foster parents are urged to speak with the caseworker assigned to them by the Child Protective Service. Any necessary documents that aren’t already in their possession will be easier for them to obtain this way. Also required is a judge’s letter approving the child’s departure from the nation. If the kid’s biological parents are reachable, they must also give permission in writing for the foster parents to take the child on a trip.
When requesting a passport, all adopted and foster children must also provide the following paperwork:
- A completed DS-11 application form. This can be downloaded here.
- Two 2×2 passport photos
- Fees: a processing fee of $25 and an application cost of $80.00. Payment options for the fees include cash, precise change, checks, money orders, and credit cards. No change will be provided.
The child must submit a passport application in person with the adoptive or foster parents.
It is advised that these parents go directly to a Passport Acceptance Facility rather than a post office site due to any potential issues that may develop, as the staff there has more experience with more intricate applications. One of the following papers must be sent with the application if one or both parents are unable to attend:
- A notarized copy of the parent’s signature on item #3 of the DS-3053 Statement of Consent form. Additionally, a photocopy of the front and back of the identity given to the notary public is required.
- Form DS-5525, Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances, must be filled out if the parent who is not applying is totally unavailable.
It should be mentioned that minor children between the ages of 16 and 17 who have the required documentation and identification can apply for a passport on their own.