One of the first requirements you need to obtain to get a US passport is proof of USA citizenship. There is a very short list of documents that prove you are a US citizen. These documents are called “primary evidence of US citizenship.”
- Fully-valid, undamaged US passport. It is OK if it is expired, but we do need an original and not a copy of an old passport
- Original or certified (not notarized, but certified) long form United States birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
- Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
- Lists your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
- Lists your parent(s)’ full names
- Has the date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
- Has the registrar’s signature
- Has the seal of the issuing authority
- Consular Birth Abroad Certificate
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Information on how to obtain a new birth certificate.
Information on how to replace your Consular Birth Abroad Certificate.
Information on how to replace your Naturalization Certificate or Citizen Document
We have seen a myriad of reasons that our clients are unable to provide primary evidence of US citizenship. Some of our older clients have no childhood records, or the town where they were born no longer exists. Some clients were born at home, and their birth was never reported or recorded. There are a lot of reasons, and there are ways to get around providing primary evidence of US citizenship, it just isn’t always easy. When you cannot provide one of the items from the list above, you will need to provide several items that fall into the category of secondary evidence of US citizenship.
If you were born in the United States, you may submit a variety of early public records in place of the items listed above. Early public records must be submitted with a Letter of No Record from vital records where you were born. Early public records should show your name, date of birth, place of birth, and be from the first five years of your life. Remember, the more you have, the better chance you have of the passport being issued, submitting just 1 of these items will not suffice. 3-5 is ideal!
- Baptismal certificate
- Hospital birth certificate
- Census record
- Early school record
- Family bible record
- Doctor’s record of post-natal care
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.