How to get a US Passport for an Adopted Child


Many situations require documents establishing the citizenship and identity of adopted children. A U.S. passport is unquestionable proof. Whether you used a public or private agency in the United States or overseas, a lawyer specializing in adoptions or worked directly with the birth parents, you must fulfill regulations administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly called the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, to get a U.S. passport issued in your adopted child’s name.

Things You'll Need

  • Child’s certified birth certificate
  • Naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship or child’s foreign passport with U.S. permanent resident card stamp if child is foreign-born
  • Proof of parents’ identity and U.S. citizenship
  • Certified copy of final adoption decree
  • Translation of adoption decree if not in English
  • Form D-11
  • Black-ink pen
  • Digital camera with 3 megapixel or greater resolution
  • Photo-quality print paper
  • Color printer
  • Make photocopies of the parents’ identification and citizenship documents on 8 1/2-by 11-inch white paper. Enlarge the documents if necessary to make them clearly legible. Use the adoption decree to establish the legal relationship of child and parents. (See References 2)

  • Take a photo of the adopted child, full face, frontal view, eyes open, against a plain white background with the digital camera no more than 30 days before filing the passport application. Print two copies in color, with finished size of 2 inches by 2 inches. Make sure the child’s head measures 1 to 1 3/8 inches in the photo.

  • Complete Form D-11 in black ink, except for the signatures. Determine the type of document you want to obtain: minor passport book, minor passport card or both. Use that information to determine the required application and execution fees.

  • Locate a Department of State Field Service Office or Acceptance Facility, such as a U.S. Postal Facility that accepts passport applications, where you and the adopted child will submit the application for the child’s passport in person.

  • Appear in person — both parents and minor child must appear — at the acceptance facility you have selected. Submit completed Form D-11, all required documentation, the two photos and the applicable fee in an acceptable form of payment to the Acceptance Agent.

  • Have your adopted child sign Form D-11 in the Acceptance Agent’s presence when so instructed and provide your parental consent for the issuance of a passport to the child.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fill out Form D-11 online and print it out on a laser printer instead of doing it by hand, especially if the child’s handwriting or yours is not easily legible.
  • Obtain the adopted child’s Social Security number before applying for a passport. Children born overseas use their adoption record and immigration documents issued by USCIS to get a Social Security number. Update the child’s SSA record once you receive his passport proving U.S. citizenship.


  • Photo Credit milla 7 image by Allisija from
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