Proof of citizenship is required when you deal with any government agency, like applying for your U.S passport, social security benefits or when you apply for a job. Though you are not required to always carry around the proof on your person, you must have the documentation in case you are required to produce it. Even the Enhanced Driver’s Licenses require that you produce a proof of citizenship by the Federal Real ID Act.
Primary documents that serve as evidence of U.S citizenship
Birth Certificate: Issued by the U.S state, county, city where you were born.
U.S passport: Issued by the Department of State. Both valid and expired passports are taken as proof.
Certificate of Citizenship/Consular record of birth abroad: Issued to a person who is born outside the United States and has acquired or derived citizenship from a U.S citizen parent.
Naturalization Certificate: Issued to a person who becomes a citizen through the process of Naturalization.
If you are born in the U.S but do not have any of the above documents, you can also provide the documents listed below as secondary evidence of your U.S citizenship. They are accepted as secondary proof of U.S citizenship depending on the appropriate situation for which you are applying.
Documents that can be used as secondary evidence
Letter of No Record and early public records: A letter of No record is issued by the State, containing your name and date of birth, which certifies that the records were searched and no birth certificate was found for you. Early public records are documents that show your name, date of birth, place of birth and should be preferably created within the first five years of your life. Early public record documents include:
Hospital issued birth certificate
Early school record
Doctor’s record of pediatric care
Family Bible record or any other religious records.
Any Early Public Record that you submit as secondary proof must be submitted along with a Letter of No Record.
Delayed Birth Certificate: If you are born outside the U.S and your U.S birth Certificate was not filed within a year of birth, you can submit a Delayed Birth Certificate. This document is accepted as secondary proof if
It lists the documents used to create it - early public records.
It should be signed by the birth attendant/medical professional who attended your birth or an affidavit signed by your parents.
Form DS-10 - Birth Affidavit: You have to complete this form and get it notarized by an older blood relative, the attending physician present during your birth.
You must submit this document in person
Must be submitted with early public records
Must be completed by someone who has personal knowledge of your birth in the U.S
A brief statement about how the person knows about your birth.
The document must be notarized.
Foreign Birth Documents: If you are born abroad to U.S citizen parents, but not able to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or your Birth Certificate, you can submit the following documents
Foreign Birth Certificate with an English translated copy.
Proof of citizenship of your U.S parent(s)
Parents’ marriage certificate
A statement from your citizen parents specifying their residential addresses in the U.S and abroad before and after your birth.
Documents like your Voter Registration Card, Army discharge document and your Social Security Card are not considered as secondary evidence for citizenship.