In order to obtain a Social Security number for your adopted child, your adoption must be finalized and the court must sign a final order of adoption or adoption decree. If the adoption is finalized in California, the final order is called an Adoption Order.
The Social Security office requires you to bring proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship and your parent-child relationship.
- Proof of Parent-Child Relationship: The best evidence of the parent-child relationship is the amended birth certificate listing the child’s adoptive name and your names as the legal parents. However, in some states, for example California, budget cuts have caused significant delays in the processing of the amended birth certificate (up to 12 months after the finalization hearing). Therefore, we have been informed by clients that some Social Security offices accept the final order of adoption/adoption decree as proof of the parent-child relationship in lieu of the amended birth certificate. For California adoption finalizations, you also should bring a signed Adoption Agreement (ADOPT-210).
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship: You can bring the child’s amended birth certificate or, if the adoption is finalized but you are waiting for the amended birth certificate, you can bring a certified copy of the child’s original birth certificate listing his/her birth name and the birth mother’s name.
- Your identification information, i.e., driver’s license or passport.
- Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).
While the adoption is pending before finalization, we recommend adopting parents obtain a temporary Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number. The application is IRS form W-7A and can be found on the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov).