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  • Passport for Baby

    How to Apply for a Passport When your Baby Does Not Have a Social Security Number

    A social security number isn’t something that your baby is automatically given when he or she is born. It’s possible to opt out of a social security number. Some websites will tell you that this is a great idea to protect your baby’s privacy. Those sites are dumb.

    Not to be too judgy, but your baby needs a social security number to be a functioning part of society. Without one, they’ll have trouble getting a job, getting insurance, opening a bank account, getting a credit card… all the basic things that adults need.

    That said, if you haven’t opted out, you might still find yourself without a social security number for your baby for a number of reasons. Perhaps, for example, you didn’t have your baby in a hospital, so you need to go to a social security office to apply. Or maybe you adopted a child from outside of the US, and they don’t have a social security card just yet.

    Whatever your situation may be, your baby does not need a social security number to get a passport (and neither do you, for that matter). However, if your baby (or whomever the applicant is) has a social security number, US Government regulations 22 U.S.C. 2714a and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f) requires you to provide your Social Security number, if you have one, when you apply for a U.S. passport or renewal of a U.S. passport. If you fail to provide the information, you will encounter a delay in processing and/or denial of your passport application. You will also be subject to a $500 penalty enforced by the IRS pursuant to Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6039E). All questions on this this penalty should be directed to your nearest IRS office.

    If you would like to apply for a U.S. passport, and your child (or whomever the applicant is) doesn’t have a Social Security number, you will need to submit a statement, signed and dated, which includes the phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: I have never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.” 

    On passport application form DS-11, box #5 asks for the social security number. If you have one, you must put it here. If you or the baby you’re filling the application out for don’t have a social security number, simply put zeros in each of the nine spaces. This won’t stop you from getting your passports unless you the applicant actually has a Social Security Number.

    If we’ve convinced you that your baby should have a social security number, you can download the application here and mail it in to the Social Security Administration. The process takes up to twelve weeks because your baby’s birth record will need to be verified.

    Seriously, get your child a social security number. Yes, it puts them “on the grid,” but unless you plan on living out your days in a shack in the woods, they’re going to be on the grid in a lot of other ways (like if you get a passport for baby). Plus, without a social security number they won’t be able to get a job or rent an apartment. It’s pretty much essential to adult life in the US, and it’s much harder to get a social security number as an adult. So, fill out the application today. Your baby will thank you later!

    27 thoughts on “How to Apply for a Passport When your Baby Does Not Have a Social Security Number”

    1. Hey hey! I’m not seeing a time stamp, so I’m not sure how recent this post is. Hopefully you see my comment!

      My husband and I are expecting a baby next month, and are trying to sort out the process for the CRBA and the passport. As soon as I thought I had it figured out and could breathe, I realized that we needed to also apply for his SSN, which I would likely need his passport for… Which I – upon reading the form – saw that I would need his SSN. You can see the dilemma, and I’m really thankful for having found this blog after MUCH searching!

      My question is, is this information still accurate, and can I wait until we are in the US to file for his SSN? (We plan on heading to the US a short 6 months after he’s born.)
      The information on the consulate website seems to assume that you will be filing the applications for the CRBA and passport simultaneously (the paperwork is filed together), and that filing for the SSN will be happening around the same time… Though the SSN seems unnecessary for travel, and I’m hoping we can wait until we are in the States to do it. To do it while living where we currently live, We would have to mail all of our sensitive, original documents to Dublin, Ireland, and I’ve heard the process can take 3-6 months!

      Anyway, hopefully this comment reaches you without problem, and you’re able to help! Thanks for the help already 😀


      1. Thanks you for contacting Swift Passport! Congratulations on your new baby!

        On passport application form DS-11, box #5 asks for the social security number, simply put zeros in each of the eight spaces. This won’t stop the baby from getting a passport.

        Also, according to U.S. law, a CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport. You will be able to apply for the SSN when you return to the US.

    2. Hi Rob. Thanks for the information. We applied for our newborn’s passport yesterday, and as we still didn’t have his SSN at that time, left that blank. We received his SSN today. Do we have to submit that information to the State Department? If yes, how can we do that? Thanks!

    3. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to read this information, my wife and I have been dealing with a beurocractic nightmare since being back in nyc after our daughters birth abroad in peru.

      We got her an emergency passport issued in peru from the embassy no problem to come home. Then applying for her s.s.n. here in Brooklyn, Nobody at the social security office could tell us anything useful just an indignant federal employee repeating that no matter the situation, our daughter needed a regular passport to apply for a ssn.

      Fine, no problem- sent in the passport with a form like the clueless passport specialist told us to at our local post office, 3 months later after a government shutdown and I get a letter addressing my infant daughter like an adult, explaining that she needs to resubmit the application with her s.s.n.

      Finally I get through to someone on the phone at the passport office that issued the letter, he sounds like a 90 year old foghorn leghorn, he is perplexed by this beurocractic conundrum, his only advice is to resubmit the application with a letter explaining our situation..

      At no point in time could any of these goddamned window licking mouth breathers, who we are all employing with our tax dollars, simply inform us to “put some zeros here”, or” sign and date this official statement”.

    4. Social security is a different agency and therefore your social security number is no where to be found on your passport. It is a separate form of ID, legitimized through a different agency. This is why they count as separate forms of ID. Your driver’s license is a third form of ID and your University ID can sometimes be used in certain circumstances as an additional form of ID. But if you ever lose one, you can use the other one to recover the lost/stolen ID. Hope this helps!

    5. Mariela Castellanos

      Great thread! I went to The Social Security office today to get my newborn a Social Security number. Filled out the application and they sent it in. However due to an emergency we need to get a passport for the baby ASAP. I will not have the Social Security card for another two weeks though at a minimum . Can I still apply for a passport? Would I still add the letter but say that we requested one we just don’t have it yet?

      1. You can still apply for a passport. Did you receive a letter when you applied that has the SSN on it? You do not need the actual card, just the number

    6. My newborn’s social security card is yet to arrive, and I need to travel soon with him. Can I apply for his passport, and leave the SSN spot blank? Will I have to go and submit it later if it arrives? Thanks

      1. If you applied for baby’s SSN, they should have given you the number. You do not need the card to apply, just the number. If you mark 0’s and there is a SSN issued, the application will be put on hold until you provide the number. Hope this helps!

    7. Can I apply for baby’s passport if SSN is yet to arrive? Will I have to send it to the passport agency if it later arrives?

    8. Thanks for the swift response. I had the baby in the hospital, so we didn’t go to apply in person. He is two weeks old now, and we have still not received it. So I don’t know the SSN. Can we apply for the passport by filling zeros in the SSN spot, or we just have to wait? Thanks

      1. You can put the 9 zeros there, however if there is a SSN issued, the Passport Agency could hold the application until that can be provided. Hope this helps..

    9. Hello, I have a bit of a unique situation. We recently adopted our son out of foster care and need to get him a passport for an upcoming trip. No one knows if his birth mother ever applied for a SSN for him or not. So, we either need to get him a SSN or get him a new SSN. We changed his name when we adopted him. Can I apply for a passport with his new name (putting in 0s for SSN) not knowing if he has a SSN assigned to his given name at birth? I have an updated birth certificate reflecting his new name and my husband and and I as the parents. Thanks for your help!

      1. Hi Leslie,
        Great question… it would be easiest to go to Social Security office to check and see if there was a SSN issued. If not, you can apply for one and receive the number right there on the spot, which you could use on the application. If you mark 9 zeros and there is a SSN number for the applicant, the application process would be held up until the proper SSN was provided. So, we’d recommend getting this resolved before applying for the passport.

    10. I have not provided my SSN number(as its optional field) while applying SSN for my new born baby through hospital.Later came to know that SSN will be delayed without any of the parents SSN numbers as SSN officials might take long time to verify our details.

      In this case is there a way I can apply for my baby USA passport?
      Also, is there a way I can get my child’s SSN process expedited by providing my SSN details anywhere at SSN office or online

      1. Greetings… you can write a statement stating “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: I have never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.” 
        The Passport Agency will most likely issue a passport for the baby, however the passport may be limited in validity, like 1 year or less.

    11. I need to get my baby a passport. She has a birth certificate and no social security number. Am I able to get a passport via mail or do I have to go in person?

    12. If i want to renew my Son Passport, but he don’t have Social Socurity Number!
      Can i renew my son(5 Years old) Passport without Social socurity Number?

    13. Hi! I am a US citizen, though I am a permanent resident now of Canada (for the past 5 years). I had my baby here. I’m wondering if I should get a SSN for my baby if we reside permanently in Canada. I am considering getting her a SSN because I could then add her as a dependent on my taxes. However, I am not sure if having a SSN will cause her to have to pay taxes in the US later on in her life. It may be better for her to stay off the US grid…

      1. Hi Nicole… great question. Our experience is that you can apply without the number and the Passport Agency will require that you and the other parent on the birth certificate sign some sort of letter that you WILL apply for the social security number. Later down the line if you were to renew that passport, they could require the SSN then. Hope this helps!

    14. Hi Rob, applied baby’s SSN thru hospital. we have travel plans early Aug so need to get US passport soon but considering the current situation not sure how long we have to wait for SSN. Understand the passport will also be delayed.. but what will be better judgment considering this. Should we apply passport without SSN?

      1. Greetings… if the passport agency resumes operations and you are able to apply for baby without SSN, I would recommend that, if the opportunity comes available.

    15. Hi! Somehow this question hasn’t been asked exactly but I want to make sure….
      Because of the pandemic we can’t apply for SSN in person (adopted, so hospital wasn’t an option), but we want to get the passport application in so that it’s in the queue once things open again. USCIS will get our application and written statement that we don’t have a SSN, *but* it’s possible the Social Security office will open before they get to our passport application, and then we’d get an SSN. Then will we be penalized / delayed once they get to our passport application?

      1. Great question… we would recommend, based on the US Passport Agency’s website, to hold off on sending in an application. They are stating there is a delay of several months if an application is submitted now. Unfortunately, there is not currently enough information or prior cases available to provide a more detailed answer to your question.

    16. Hi , my baby was born in March 2020, we were issued SSN but it never arrived. Currently we have a family emergency and need to leave the country ASAP. We have all documents ready (travel itinerary, hospital signed papers). Will we be able to get life-or-death emergency expedited passport without my baby’s SSN??

      Also we already sent out an application in March, so do we need to make another application for our life-or-death emergency appointment or they will be retrieving our old application ??

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