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How Can I Apply for a Passport if I Don't Have a U.S. Birth Certificate?

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Question: How Can I Apply for a Passport if I Don't Have a U.S. Birth Certificate?
Answer: The U.S. government prefers to issue American passports only to U.S. citizens. You need to prove your citizenship during the passport application process, normally with a U.S. birth certificate. Getting an American passport without a U.S. birth certificate is not impossible, though. The following information comes directly from the U.S. Department of State.

What You Will Need if You do Not Have a Certified Birth Certificate

1. Letter of No Record

  • Issued by the State including your name, date of birth, which years were searched for a birth record and (the fact) that there is no birth certificate on file for you.

      Call the government of the state in which you were born - an online search of that state's website will give you the telephone number for the Department of Vital Records.

2. 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

These documents must be early public records showing the date and place of your birth, preferably created within the first five years of your life.

  • You may also submit an Affidavit of Birth form DS-10 from an older blood relative, i.e.: a parent, aunt, uncle or sibling who has "personal knowledge" of your birth. It must be notarized or show the seal and signature of the acceptance agent.

    Born Abroad to US Parents

    If you were born abroad and do not have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth on file, the Department of State has these instructions:

      1. If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to one U.S. citizen parent, you will need:

      • 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 two U.S. citizen parents, you will need:

      • 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 showing all periods and places of residence of physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth

    What is *Not* Proof of Citizenship?

    • Voter registration cards
    • Army discharge papers

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