Normally obtaining a social security card for a child is an easy, straight-forward affair. But, when that child is not born in the United States, it becomes a little trickier to obtain a social security card.
The first thing you would want to do is document the child’s birth with a birth certificate from the country the child is born in. Secondly, it must be determined if the child is a US citizen at all.
For children born abroad after November 14, 1986, the US Department of State has developed a list of criteria for whether or not a child born abroad would be a US citizen.
1. If both parents are US citizens.
2. If one of the parents are US citizens, and were married at the time of birth and the US citizen parent was in the United States for at least five years before the birth, with at least two of these years being after they were 14 years old.
3. The child is the biological son or daughter of an unmarried US citizen man who was in the United States for at least five years before the birth, with at least two of these years being after they were 14 years old and must acknowledge their paternity and agree to support the child until he or she is over 18 years old.
4. The child is the biological son or daughter of an unmarried US citizen woman who can prove they were in the United States for an uninterrupted 365 days at any time before the birth.
Once it has been determined that the child should be a US citizen, the next step would be to contact the closest US embassy or consulate and obtain a form called a US Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
While this application must be submitted before the child’s 18th birthday, it is widely accepted that the parents should submit this form at the same time they apply for the child’s passport and the social security card for the child. All three items can be submitted at the same time at the embassy or consulate.
Each of the three items has different requirements, listed below:
US Consular Report of Birth Abroad
The child must be present at the consulate or embassy for this type of interview. While only one parent must be present as well, it is better for both parents to be present for this interview, otherwise the embassy or consulate may withhold their determination as to the citizenship status of the child until both are present. If only one parent can attend, below is also a list of documents that the embassy or consulate will accept in place of a second parent in the passport section.
They must also bring:
1. Two copies of a document proving the US citizenship of the parents, or other proof of residency for specific time periods.
2. Completed Form DS-2029 (this form should be submitted with the passport application as well.
3. The child’s original birth certificate from the country he or she was born in.
4. The original, and a copy of, the parent’s US government ID (passport).
5. Two copies of their marriage certificate.
6. Two copies of a divorce decree, if applicable.
7. Two copies of previous Consular Report of Birth Abroad, if applicable for another child in the family.
8. A Self-addressed, pre-paid envelope so they may receive their original documents back in the mail.
9. $100, or its equivalent in the country you are in, payable at the time of interview.
Apply for US Passport
Both parents must be present at the passport interview. If only one parent then attend the passport interview, then:
If you are the sole legal guardian of the child, then you must submit evidence of this. Examples include:
1. Court order granting you sole custody of the child, like a divorce decree or other custody order.
2. A court order specifically permitting you to apply for the child’s passport.
3. A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the sole parent.
4. A certified copy of an adoption decree listing you as the sole parent.
5. Certified copy of the judicial declaration of incompetence stating the other parent may not appear.
6. A certified copy of the death certificate of the parent that cannot appear.
If one parent is unable to appear at the interview, the other parent can give permission by filling out a DS-3053, a Statement of Consent. The parent that has to complete this form must:
1. Complete the DS-3053 in front of a Notary Public.
2. Submit a copy of the front and back of the ID they presented to the Notary.
3. In some countries, the DS-3053 must be notarized at an embassy or consulate.
If the other parent is unable to be located, a form, DS-5525, Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances will need to be completed with as much detail as possible.
Once that is settled, these are the other documents that are required for the newborn child to be issued a passport
1. A completed Form DS-11, do not sign it until you arrive at the embassy or consulate and are told to sign it.
2. An original and a copy of both parents US government IDs.
3. An original and a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
4. A 2×2 inch color passport photo.
5. A pre-paid return envelope for the return of your items.
6. $115 or its equivalent.
It can take two weeks to process.
Apply for a US Social Security Card
Compared to the US Consular Report and Passport, obtaining a Social Security card for a child born abroad is simple. the following three items are all that is needed to apply for a Social Security card at a consulate or embassy:
1. A completed Social Security Form SS-5.
2. A copy of the child’s birth certificate.
3. A copy of the parent or parents’ passport.
Even if child holds dual nationality, the child must enter and exit the United States using a US passport.