What Counts as Proof Of Citizenship in the US?
Published March 11, 2021
There are plenty of reasons why you need proof for your United States Citizenship. There may be documents that you will use soon that require proof of your citizenship before you can proceed with the application.
You will need proof of your US citizenship if you want to apply for a United States passport. You also need these documents for all legal matters and citizenship benefits. Here’s what counts as proof for US citizenship.
What Counts as Proof of Citizenship?
There are plenty of documents that can help you prove you are a United States citizen. Proof of citizenship is a piece of paper that certifies you are a citizen of a given country.
There are two types of circumstances for a person’s birth: born inside or outside the United States. These circumstances help narrow down the documents that you need as proof of citizenship.
If You Are Born Inside the United States
If you were born inside the United States, these are the documents you will need as proof of citizenship. The primary forms you can use are the US Birth Certificate and the US Passport.
1. United States Birth Certificate
The United States Birth Certificate is issued to you by county, city, or state if you were born in the US. It should show your full name, along with both of your parents’ names, and must have a sign and seal to be valid.
2. United States Passport
You can obtain your passport by applying for one. You can consider your US passport as proof of citizenship.
Legal authorities accept both your valid and expired United States passports. However, it would be for the best if it were the latest passport.
Meanwhile, the secondary forms you can use are your Delayed Birth Certificate, Early Public Records, or Letter of No Record. If you, for some reason, cannot procure the primary documents, then these secondary forms are accepted.
3. Delayed Birth Certificate
A delayed birth certificate is a birth certificate not filed within the year of your birth date. Legal authorities can consider this file as proof of citizenship.
4. Early Public Records
Early public records are baptism certificates, school records, census records, medical records, or a Form DS-10 Birth Affidavit. Legal authorities will accept these as proof of citizenship.
4. Letter of No Record
If your birth certificate wasn’t issued to you, you need to obtain a Letter of No Record from the registrar. You must get this from the state you were born in and must contain:
- Your full name
- Date of birth.
- The number of years they searched for your birth certificate
- An official statement that they did not find any birth certificate.
If You Are Born Outside the United States
If you were born outside the United States, these are the primary documents that you will need to have as proof of citizenship. You can also apply for a certificate of citizenship.
1. US Passport
If you were born abroad, then a United States passport can prove your citizenship. The only way you can only have a US passport when you’re born outside is if your parents applied for you to have one with your Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
2. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth
Parents could obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad if they registered their child for one. They must report the child’s birth in the US consulate within the foreign country.
Please take note that parents can only apply for this within five years of the child’s birth. After five years, the child will no longer be allowed to register for this certificate.
3. Certificate of Naturalization
You could apply for citizenship if your parents became citizens through naturalization. Your parents’ certificate will be your proof of citizenship.
If you were born outside of the US and your American parents adopted you, all you need to show as proof of citizenship are your adoption forms.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is the lead writer for the Instant Vital Records blog and several other renowned publications. She is committed to delivering accurate facts by cross checking reputable sources for all of her articles.