The annual membership is much cheaper than any other cost related to your child's chess activities, even less than registration fee of one tournament, or tuition of one chess lesson. Therefore there is no reason to not sign up a membership is your child wants to play serious games in tournaments.
At most clubs, you can sign up membership on the spot. They have signup form and will collect the membership fee for USCF. But it's also easy to do it by yourself in 5 minutes. You may want to sign up online by yourself, because we will use the website uschess.org
which you will use a lot in future years, for searching for tournaments and checking your child's rating.
Load the uschess.org page:
- on the upper-right corner, find "Join/Renew"
- use the third option "If you have problems or if you you want to skip the questions and go straight to the membership webstore, click here.", which is much easier to navigate
- you will see a table with the list of membership type
- select the one you want and
- fill in other information
Your child will become a member right away. S/he will receive a membership card in a few week.