Will Being Adopted as a Child Affect My Passport?

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Being an adopted child does not necessarily mean you will have passport difficulties later in life.

Adoption is a life-changing experience for families; adding a new child to a family is a big step. The adoption process is lengthy, arduous and often difficult for families. Many aspects of adoption affect children later in life, including issues with your passport if you don't have the necessary documents.

  1. Citizenship

    • Anyone that applies for a United States passport must be a United States citizen. Children adopted from other countries are not United States citizens until the United States recognizes the adoption of a child. When this occurs, an adoption decree is presented to your adopted parents and you are granted citizenship by the country. You must provide a certified copy of your adoption decree when you apply for a passport to prove your citizenship.

    Birth Certificates

    • Another requirement when applying for a passport is your birth certificate. Once your parents finalize your adoption and you are legally their child, they must request an amended birth certificate from the state in which you live. An amended birth certificate shows your adoptive parents as though they are your biological parents. It will also show your new last name, assuming you are given your newly adopted family's surname.

    Name Change

    • One issue you might encounter when applying for a passport as an adult and as an adopted child is proving your name. If your adopted parents did not give you their last name, which is highly unusual, or you were married or divorced and changed your name at any point, you must be able to prove that your name changed. To do this, you must provide a certified copy of a divorce decree, adoption decree and/or marriage certificate.

    Social Security Card

    • All United States citizens should have a Social Security number. Without this number you cannot apply for a mortgage, loans or even a job. Once your parents finalize your adoption, they need to apply for a Social Security card in your name by filing a form SS-5 with any Social Security Administration office and providing your name, address, date of birth and a copy of your adoption decree. You cannot apply for a passport without a Social Security number. If your adoptive parents failed to obtain a Social Security card on your behalf you must go to your nearest Social Security office to apply for one immediately.

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