Proof of Citizenship for U.S. Passport Application

As Proof of Citizenship, the State Department will accept any of the following:

  • Original Birth Certificate (if born in the United States).
  • Old U.S. passport (undamaged).
  • Original Certificate of Citizenship or FS-240, DS-1350 ( if born outside the United States ).
  • Original Certificate of Naturalization issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Office.

NOTEA certified birth certificate has a raised, embossed, impressed and/or multicolored seal, the registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birthdate.

Delayed Birth Certificate filed more than 1 year after your birth may be acceptable if it:

  • Lists the documentation used to create it.


  • Has a signature by the attending physician or midwife, OR, lists an affidavit signed by the parents, or shows early public records.

If you changed your legal name by way of marriage or (otherwise), you must provide evidence of the name change. Acceptable proof includes a certified copy of either your:

  • Marriage certificate.


  • A name change court decree.

No Previous U.S. Passport or Certified Birth Certificate?

If you do not have a previous U.S. passport or a certified birth certificate, you need: 

  • Letter of “No Record” issued by the State with your name, date of birth, which years were searched for a birth record and that there is no birth certificate on file for you.


  • As many of the following as possible:
    • Baptismal certificate.
    • Hospital birth certificate.
    • Census record.
    • Early school record.
    • Family bible record.
    • Doctor’s record of post-natal care.

NOTE: Importantly, these documents must be early public records — showing the date and place of birth — within the first 5 years of your life. Moreover, you may also submit a notarized Birth Affidavit (Form DS-10) from an older blood relative (e.g., parent, aunt/uncle, sibling, etc.) who has intimate knowledge of your birth. Otherwise, it must have the seal and signature of the acceptance agent.

Born Abroad?

If you were born abroad and do not have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth on file, you will need:

  1. If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to 1 U.S. citizen parent:
    • Issued by the State with your name, date of birth, a list of years for which a birth record was searched, plus a note stating there is no birth certificate on file for you.
    • Foreign birth certificate.
    • Proof of citizenship of your U.S. citizen parent.
    • An affidavit of your U.S. citizen parent showing all periods and places of residence or physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.
  2. If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to both U.S. citizen parents:
    • Your foreign birth certificate.
    • Parent’s marriage certificate.
    • Proof of Citizenship of your U.S. parents AND an affidavit of your U.S. citizen parents that shows all periods and places of residence of physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.

Adopted Children

Requirements for a Proof of Citizenship for adopted children:

  1. At least 1 parent of the child is a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization.
  2. The child is under 18 years old and residing in the United States.
  3. The child must be residing in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent after having been lawfully admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence.
  4. In the case of an adopted child, the adoption must be final.
proof of citizenship

As a U.S. citizen, you must show proof of citizenship to obtain your passport, as you will not be able to travel the globe without it.

Additional Information

The most common document that acts as primary proof of United States citizenship is a certified, long-form birth certificate with:

  • A county, state or state seal that is raised, multicolored or embossed.
  • Full name of at least 1 parent.
  • Registrar’s signature.
  • The date that he or she registered the certificate (within one year of birth).

You can also request an expedited long-form birth certificate here.

Delayed certificates will only be accepted if there is a list of documents that were used to complete it. In addition,  the doctor or midwife who attended the birth must be sign it or show an affidavit signed by both parents. A person with a delayed birth certificate can submit it along with 2 or more early public records, such as a:

  • Baptismal certificate.
  • Hospital birth certificate.
  • Census records.
    • For those seeking Census records, the Census Bureau will accept an application for search of census records and perform a name and address search. There is a small fee.
  • School records.
  • Records of health care received shortly after birth.
  • Family Bible records.

A minor under 14 years old must submit a birth certificate that lists both of his or her parents.


  • NOTE: As of 2010, the U.S. Department of State requires all U.S. birth certificates to list both parents.
  • A social security card is NOT considered adequate proof of citizenship.
  • If you cannot locate your birth certificate, you can download the file search form and pay the U.S. Department of State a fee of $150 in lieu of submitting your birth certificate. Or, you can order your birth certificate from Vital Check and it takes 3-5 business days.
  • IMPORTANT: The Department of State will reject mutilated, altered or damaged documents. You may need to write a damage statement.

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