Proof of Identity for Obtaining a Passport

If you are applying for a passport, you will need to provide proof of identity in order to obtain one. Failure to do so will delay the processing of your application. The last thing you want when you’re preparing for a trip abroad is to experience a delay of any kind, especially if you can prevent it.

When it comes to obtaining a passport, you can help prevent delays by providing all of the information that is required to issue your passport. One of the items you will be required to provide is an identification document. The government will only accept certain forms of identification with your passport application. Below you will find some information about what identification documents you can and can’t submit when you apply for a passport.

Primary Forms of Identification

Whenever possible, you should present a primary form of identification as your proof of identity when you apply for a passport.

The government will accept the following documents as a primary form of identification:

  • An undamaged U.S. Passport. If your passport has been damaged in any way beyond normal wear and tear, you cannot submit it as a form of identification
  • Naturalization Certificate. If you became a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process, you can use a Naturalization Certificate issued by the U.S. government to verify your identity
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current City, State or Federal Government ID
  • Current Military ID
  • If your primary ID was issued in another state, you will be required to provide an additional form of identification when you apply at a passport acceptance facility. For example, if you are applying at a facility in Connecticut, using a New York state government ID as proof of identity, you must provide another form of identification as well.

    Secondary Forms of Identification

    If you do not have a primary form of identification, you may use a combination of secondary forms of identification to establish your identity. You must provide as many secondary forms of identification as possible when you apply for your passport. A single secondary form of identification will not be accepted as a way to verify your identity.

    The following items are examples of acceptable secondary forms of identification:

  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Card
  • Employee ID
  • Library Card
  • Identifying Witness. To use an identifying witness to establish your identity, you must have known the witness for a minimum of two years. In addition, the witness must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident with a valid ID. To serve as proof of identity, the witness must go with you when you apply for your passport, and he/she will be required to complete an affidavit confirming your identity (Form DS-71).

    Guidelines for Photocopying Your Identification

    In addition to presenting either a primary or secondary form(s) of identification when you apply for a passport, you will also be required to submit a photocopy of the front and back of each form of identification you submit. Identifying witnesses are also required to submit a copy of the front and back of their ID.

    All copies must be on plain white, 8 ½ x 11” paper. Images should appear on only one side of the paper. Do not make copies on the front and back of the paper. Increasing the size of the photocopied image so it is easier to read is acceptable. However, you cannot make the image smaller. There should be nothing else on the paper other than the photocopied images of your identification.

    NOTE: If you submit a credit card as proof of identity, you will not be required to provide a photocopy of it.

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