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Proof of Citizenship

There are many different requirements when applying for a US passport. One of the most important conditions is that you provide proof that you are indeed a US citizen eligible for receiving a US passport.

What is proof of citizenship?

Proof of citizenship occurs when you provide a passport official with acceptable proof of citizenship documents to verify your status. There are a couple of ways you can do this, highlighted below.

Primary Proof of Citizenship

Figuring out how to show proof of citizenship when applying for a passport is as simple as collecting your proof of citizenship documents and presenting them to passport officials. However, which proof of citizenship documents you need depends on your individual situation. Regardless of which documents you use, all proof of citizenship evidence will be returned to you along with your passport.

So what is considered proof of citizenship?

Primary proof can consist of one of the following proof of citizenship documents:

One or more of these proof of citizenship documents must be submitted along with proof of citizenship Form DS-11 at the time of your passport application.

However, if you do not have one of these documents, there are secondary proof of citizenship options available.

Secondary Proof of Citizenship

If for whatever reason you cannot provide primary proof of citizenship documents during your passport application, there options for secondary proof of citizenship.

If you were born in the United States but cannot provide any primary proof of citizenship documents, you can submit a combination of your early public records as proof. Acceptable early public record documents for proof of citizenship include:

All early public record documents must be presented during the passport application process with a Letter of No Record. They should also have been created within the first five years of your life, and show your name, date of birth and place of birth. An early public record document will not be accepted as proof of citizenship by itself.

If early public records aren’t an option, you may also submit a delayed birth certificate. Delayed birth certificates are certificates that were followed over a year after you were born. A delayed birth certificate is an acceptable proof of citizenship as long as it:

If your delayed birth certificate does not meet these requirements, you can still submit it as long as it is accompanied by early public records.

A Letter of No Record is also required when submitting early public records. Letters of No Record must be state-issued and include your name, date of birth, the years that were searched for a birth record, and acknowledgment that no birth certificate was found. Letters of No Record must be submitted along with early public records to be an acceptable proof of citizenship document.

Another option is to submit a proof of citizenship Form DS-10, or birth affidavit. Birth affidavits must be:

  1. Submitted in person along with Form DS-11.
  2. Submitted together with early public records.
  3. Completed by an affiant with personal knowledge of births in the US.
  4. State briefly how the affiant’s knowledge was acquired, and.
  5. Completed by an older blood relative (or, if no blood relative is alive, an attending physician or any individual with personal knowledge of your birth).

A last option applies to individuals seeking proof of citizenship, but born outside of the US to parents who are US citizens. If this is the case, and you cannot submit a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or a Certification of Birth, you may submit the following as your proof of citizenship documents:

Unacceptable Proof of Citizenship Documents

The following documents are not acceptable as proof of citizenship: