When obtaining a passport, you must provide proof of US citizenship. Assuming you were born in the US and don’t have an expired passport to submit with your application, you would do that by submitting a copy of your birth certificate.
However, before you submit your application, you should examine your birth certificate closely to make sure it will pass muster with the US Department of State. Here’s what to look for:
The State Department only accepts certified US birth certificates. To make sure yours is certified before obtaining a passport, look for the following:
- A raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal.
- Registrar’s signature
- If you live in California or Texas, make sure you have the long form of your birth certificate, which measures 8 1/2″ by 11.”
If you don’t have a certified copy of your birth certificate, you can order one from the Department of Vital Records for the state where you were born.
Next, check the date that your birth certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. This date must be within 1 year of your birth. If there was a delay of more than a year between when you were born and when the birth certificate was filed, the State Department will not accept it on its own. Instead, you will need to submit secondary documentation, which can include:
- Early public records that include your name, date of birth and place of birth, such as baptismal records, hospital birth certificates, census records, early school records, a family bible, or a doctor’s record of post-natal care for you.
- A signed, notarized birth affidavit, completed by an older blood relative, or, if an older relative is not available, the attending physician or another individual who had “personal knowledge” of your birth.
By submitting the right documents, you greatly increase the chances of obtaining a passport in a timely fashion. Using a private passport expediting service like RushMyPassport.com can also help, as you’ll work with a professional passport specialist and be provided with clear, easy-to-follow instructions to help you get all of your paperwork in order.