April 10, 2008

Question from a reader- Do you need a Social Security number for a U.S. passport?

Today I received an email from one reader who mentioned that perhaps you do not need a social security number to get a U.S. childs passport. This question has come up before and the answer is not black and white. I looked on the U.S. State Departments website and although it is not that clear, it does mention 2 items on the general information page- the first is "Your Social Security Number does NOT prove your identity" but then at the bottom of the page, at the very end, it reads: "8. Provide a Social Security Number If you do not provide your Social Security Number, the Internal Revenue Service may impose a $500 penalty. If you have any questions please call your nearest IRS office." But what is not clear is whether that is the parents social security number or the childs. So further investigation is needed.

The strange thing is that you can use the child's passport as proof of identity to get the social security number- so does that mean you don't need the social security number? Is this a chicken and egg thing? I kept looking- the US Embassy for New Zealand lists the social security number as something you must provide to apply for a minors passport. But the U.S. embassy in Japan does not. So next I called a friend here in Spain who just applied for her son's U.S. passport and asked her the question- and she said she applied for them together and they came together. So maybe that is the answer. I looked online at the actual passport application http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html and it does show the social security number clearly needed, right at the beginning. But perhaps if you apply for them both at the same time then they take care of it?

Crazy and confusing so I am looking for other's input. Thanks for the question, anonymous poster and stay tuned....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I applied for my daughters US passport in February when she was only a few weeks old. I was confused as well and made a few calls as I needed that passport asap and I learned her social security number wouldn't come to us for another few months. But it turned out you do not need a social security number for your baby just fill in zero's. We applied for it in person in San Francisco and got it without any problems the same day. Not sure where you will apply for it, but at the moment I am in the process of getting her an Dutch passport as well. It turns out that 'the rules' are not the same of where you apply. Either in the country it self or at a consulate in another country. It even differs per consulate the paperwork and proof you need. Make contact with the place you are going to go to get the passport to make sure you got the right papers with you when you go in. Hope this helps.