How To Prove Citizenship And Identity For A U.S. Passport


If you’re applying for a United States passport, you will need to bring documentation with you to prove that you are a U.S. citizen as well as identifying documents to prove who you are. Be sure to bring original or certified copies of documents, as photocopies or even simply notarized copies will not be accepted.

What Can Be Used To Prove Citizenship?

  1. Fully valid, undamaged U.S. passport (can be expired)
  2. Certificate of Naturalization
  3. Certificate of Citizenship
  4. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
  5. U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
    • Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
    • Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
    • Lists parent(s)’ full names
    • Has the signature of the city, county, or state registrar
    • Has the date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
    • Has the seal of issuing authority

NOTE: A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within one year of your birth.

What Can Be Used To Prove Identity?

You can present any of the following documents as primary evidence of identification. That means that you need only one of these items and do not require you to present multiple documents. That is not the case with secondary evidence. If possible, presenting this type of proof makes the application process much easier.

  1. In-state, valid driver’s license (not temporary or learner’s permit)
  2. Fully valid, undamaged U.S. passport book or passport card (with recognizable photo, can be expired)
  3. Certificate of Naturalization (with recognizable photo)
  4. Certificate of Citizenship (with recognizable photo)
  5. Government employee ID (city, county, state, or federal)
  6. U.S. military or military dependent ID
  7. Current (valid) foreign passport
  8. Matricula Consular (Mexican Consular ID), commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant
  9. Permanent resident card (Green Card), commonly used by a parent of a U.S. citizen child applicant

If you don’t have any of the items listed above, you can submit a combination of secondary identification documents from the list below. Each application is handled on a case-by-case basis.

  1. State-issued non-driver ID
  2. Out-of-state driver’s license
  3. Social Security card
  4. Learner’s or temporary driver’s permit
  5. Voter registration card
  6. Employee ID
  7. Student ID
  8. Selective Service (draft) card
  9. Medicare or another health card
  10. Expired driver’s license
  11. Membership card in a local social organization or club
  12. Rental contracts
  13. Mortgage documents
  14. Auto registrations
  15. Traffic tickets & violations
  16. An Identifying Witness (someone who can swear to your identity) that is present at the time of your application. He or she must:
    • Have known you for at least two years
    • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
    • Have valid ID
    • Fill out Form DS-71: Affidavit of Identifying Witness in the presence of a Passport Agent