Important Documents: Passports for Baby and More

May 25, 2022 | 3 minutes Read

Once your beloved newborn has arrived, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all (not to mention the day-to-day grind of adjusting to each other!). You won’t want to leave important baby documents on the backburner for too long, however. Documents such as passports, social security cards and birth certificates need to be taken care of as soon as possible. 

How to get your baby’s birth certificate

A birth certificate is one of the most important documents your child will need. While you’re in the hospital, you’ll fill out a form that will be used to create your baby’s birth record with information like mother’s maiden name, home address and more. (One of the reasons they ask you to bring your driver’s license!)

Some states will mail the birth certificate directly to you after getting back the requested forms. In others, you’ll need to call your county’s Department of Vital Records to get actual copies of the birth certificate sent to you for a small fee. Give them about a month to process the form before you call. You can put a calendar notification reminder in so you don’t forget.

How to get a passport for a baby

Obtaining a passport for kids isn’t required, but it is nice to have if you want to travel internationally with them. The first step is to check the State Department’s website for forms you’ll need. Print them and fill them out in advance.

Next, you’ll need to have your child’s birth certificate handy—you’ll need it as their proof of identification, as well as proof you are related to them. Adoptive parents will also need related paperwork. Parents will also need to have their own passports or driver’s licenses as well. Your child will need a passport photo.

Both parents will need to apply for the passport in person, together, except in cases of sole legal authority. Check the State Department’s website for more information, and call your location’s designated office to find out if you need an appointment to obtain a passport for your child. Each facility is different. It should take about 6 to 8 weeks to get your baby a passport, so take that into consideration if you have upcoming travel that requires one.

How to get your baby’s social security card

It’s actually voluntary to get your child a social security card, but it's an important number for a variety of reasons. The easiest way to get a social security card is to provide the information asked for during your hospital stay. If you go this route, the card will be mailed directly to you.

If you wait to obtain one at the Social Security office, there will be additional forms and paperwork such as a passport or birth certificate needed in order to process the request.

How to get your baby’s immunization records

It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your child’s immunization records somewhere handy. You might need to show paperwork for daycare, for example. Your pediatrician’s office will have access to the records and can make a copy at your request. Most states have websites where you can access immunization records as a matter of public health as well.

How to get a health insurance card for your baby

You’ll need to notify your insurance provider as soon as you give birth so that they can make a record of your child as being insured (that is, if they are being insured under your health insurance). Most human resource departments take care of this for you if you email your child’s name and date of birth. You might have to contact the insurance provider directly in some cases to get your child set up on your insurance. You’ll want it ready to go for your first set of pediatrician’s appointments!

The paperwork of having a baby is not fun, but it’s all worth it in the end to set your family up for success. Keeping lists and putting deadlines in your diary or calendar are helpful tips to make sure you don’t forget these dry but crucial steps.

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