Proof of Citizenship for Passport

Providing proof of citizenship for passport is a key component of the application process. U.S. passport applications submitted without evidence of U.S. citizenship will not be processed. If you already have a passport, it’s easy. Your current passport serves as both proof of U.S. citizenship and a valid form of identification. However, if you’ve never had a passport before or your passport was lost, stolen or damaged, you will be required to provide additional documentation to verify that you are a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. government has outlined the documents that are acceptable as evidence of citizenship. It is very important that you submit only acceptable documents. If the documents you submit as proof of citizenship for passport are not adequate, your application will not be processed, delaying the issuance of your passport and potentially your travel plans. There are two types of citizenship documents you can submit—primary and secondary. Whenever possible, you should submit a primary document. If you don’t have a primary document, a secondary form of U.S. citizenship is acceptable. Your citizenship documents will be returned to you either with your passport or in a separate mailing.

Primary Forms of U.S. Citizenship

In addition to a valid U.S. passport, you can submit a certified birth certificate, consular report of birth abroad, certification of birth, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship as proof of citizenship for passport. It is important to note that if you are submitting a birth certificate to show you are a U.S. citizen, it must have a registrar’s seal, the registrar’s signature and the filing date. The certificate must have been filed before your first birthday. In addition, both of your parents’ full names must be on your birth certificate if you want to use it as evidence of U.S. citizenship when you apply for a passport.

Secondary Forms of U.S. Citizenship

If you don’t have a primary form of U.S. citizenship, you can present a secondary form when you apply for your passport. There are five types of documents you can submit as secondary proof of citizenship for passport. They include early public records, a delayed birth certificate, a letter of no record, a birth affidavit or foreign birth documents with evidence that your parents are U.S. citizens.

When using early public records to show you are a U.S. citizen, it is best if you present records that were created before you turned five. The records should include your name, birthdate, and where you were born. Examples of acceptable early public records include baptismal certificates, census records and early school records. When submitting early public records as evidence of U.S. citizenship, you must also include a birth record or letter of no record. Early public records alone are not acceptable evidence of U.S. citizenship.

If you do not have a certified birth certificate filed within one year of your birth, you can submit a delayed birth certificate as proof of citizenship for passport if it lists the documents used to create it and is signed by the birth attendant or includes an affidavit signed by your parents. If it doesn’t, you must submit it with early public records to be accepted as evidence of U.S. citizenship.

If you don’t have a certified birth certificate to show you are a U.S. citizen, you can obtain a letter of no record and present it with early public records as evidence of U.S. citizenship. The letter should include your name, birthdate, when the search for your birth record was conducted and acknowledgement that it couldn’t be found.

If you were born in the United States, you can verify that are you are U.S. citizen by submitting form DS-10 birth affidavit. In order for form DS-10 to be accepted as proof of citizenship for passport, it must be notarized and completed by someone who has knowledge of your birth. If possible it should be completed by a blood relative. In addition, you must submit form DS-10 in person with form DS-11 and early public records.

If you were born outside of the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens and cannot submit primary evidence of U.S. citizenship, you must submit all of the following documents to establish citizenship:

  • An English translation of your foreign birth certificate
  • Proof that your parents are U.S. citizens (e.g. your parent’s certified birth certificates)
  • Your parents’ marriage certificate
  • A statement from your parents that includes a timeline of where they lived and when before you were born
  • Establishing proof of citizenship for passport is an important part of the application process. Make sure the documents you submit meet the government’s guidelines, so your application can be processed


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