Do You Need Original Birth Certificate for Passport? Applications 2024

January 2, 2024

3 min. read


do you need your original birth certificate to apply for a passport in the us?

There are two ways to get a new passport in the United States at the moment. One way is to apply for US passport renewal. Here, all you need is to submit your most recent passport as proof of your citizenship with your application.

The other way is to lodge your paperwork for a brand-new passport. Then, you must submit primary evidence of US citizenship. It usually appears to be an original birth certificate for your passport.

The question arises: Do you need an original birth certificate for your passport in all cases? What if it’s not in place? Can you substitute it with other proof of citizenship?

Let’s process the dilemma step by step.


Do you need original birth certificate for your passport to apply for in the US?

Whenever you apply for a passport or its renewal, you are to prove to the US Department of State that you are a US citizen.

If you apply for your first passport, you need to attach primary evidence of US citizenship to Form DS-11, which is an original birth certificate for your passport. The birth certificate requirements are observed if the document indicates:

  • the city, state, or county of birth,
  • the date and place of birth,
  • the holder’s and the parents’ names,
  • the signature of the county, city, or state registrar,
  • the seal of the issuing authority,
  • and it should be in the registrar’s record within a year of birth.

If for any reason you can’t submit your primary citizenship evidence, you can present secondary evidence of citizenship to the State Department. We’ll talk about it in detail in a second.

Can you use a birth abstract when you need a birth certificate for passport?

The US Department of State will accept birth abstracts for your passport application. It should contain crucial information the way a birth certificate does. If some information is missing, the passport office will require you to add a long-form birth certificate with a copy of your original birth record.

Do you need an original birth certificate for passport renewal?

Whether you apply for your passport to go on a cruise or travel on business, passport renewal is pretty straightforward with the most recent passport at hand.

If you meet the requirements for passport renewal, you don’t need to include an original birth certificate for your passport application as you’ve got your previous passport as evidence of citizenship.

The following rules must be observed in order to renew your passport without a birth certificate:


  1. Your most recent passport is undamaged.
  2. It’s in your possession with acceptable tear and wear.
  3. You got your passport at the age of 16 or older.
  4. The issuance date of your recent passport goes back to less than 15 years.

To get hold of a new passport, you also need to fill out Form DS-82 and take compliant passport photos for your application. You can get a CVS passport photo quickly without leaving home. Attach the photo to your paperwork, then apply by mail or in person at a local acceptance facility for passport processing.

Citizenship evidence in place of the original birth certificate for your passport

On the official website, the US Department of State explains that an applicant must prove their citizenship when applying for a new passport. The authority doesn’t specify an original birth certificate as a mere document for citizenship proof, even though it’s considered to be the most common travel document for passport application processing. If you don’t have a birth certificate, you can use secondary evidence to prove your citizenship.

How to get a passport without a birth certificate?

Of course, if you have an original copy of a birth certificate or your child’s birth certificate, it makes it much faster to put all the documents together for your application.

Still, it’s possible to get your passport without it. Have a look at the list of acceptable documents to present to the acceptance facility instead of a birth certificate.

1. Request a file search

For an additional fee of $150 payable to the US Department of State, you can request a file search for your missed birth certificate. You can do it instead of submitting evidence of US citizenship. It’s legitimate if you have been issued a US passport or consular report of birth abroad in the past, and you’re not able to attach it to your application.

You can complete a request following the link

2. Delayed birth certificate

Do you need an original birth certificate for the passport if you submit a delayed birth certificate? Not, really. You can submit either document. To submit a delayed birth certificate of citizenship, the document should have the description of documents that were used for its creation and the signature of a birth attendant or an affidavit signed by the parent(s).

3. Letter of no record

If you choose to hand in a letter of no record, you need to attach 2 early public records or 1 early public document and 1 early private document with Form-10. You can find the form here:

If not on file in the state of your birth, a US birth certificate will be substituted for a letter of no record in your name issued by the registrar. It must have your name, issuing state, and a specified number of years for which a birth record was searched for. There also must be a statement that no birth certificate was found on file.

4. Early public records

Early public records are documentation that was established in the early years of an applicant’s lifetime, usually in the first 5 years. They may include baptism certificates, hospital birth certificates, US census records, school records, family bible records, and doctor’s records of post-natal care.

5. Birth affidavit

To give evidence of your proof of citizenship, you can also submit a birth affidavit with Form DS-10. It should suffice the following: your birth in the US as a record of more than one year late, completed by an older relative, attending physician, person with personal knowledge of your birth, or an affiant who knows you were born in the US.

6. Certificate of citizenship or naturalization certificate

If you were born outside the US and acquired US citizenship through the naturalization of your parent(s), you can provide one of the following documents: your permanent residence, foreign birth certificate, evidence of your parents’ US citizenship, marriage certificate, documentation of legal custody when you entered the US, or evidence of legitimation for children born to unmarried parents.

7. US citizenship through adoption

Adopted children born outside the US must provide documents in line with the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. For more information, please visit:

8. Consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth

A сonsular report of birth abroad or certification of birth is helpful for those applicants who were born abroad. Otherwise, you can submit your parents’ marriage certificate or their evidence of US citizenship, or foreign birth certificate in English.

Unacceptable documents to apply for passport without a US birth certificate

If you plan to use one of the following documents instead of an original birth certificate for your passport, like a voter registration card, army discharge paper, or social security card, you need to find other citizenship documents as they are not legitimate evidence.

More tips for original birth certificate for passport

For your passport application, you need to visit the passport office in person and adhere to the following recommendations:


  • Hand in original evidence of US citizenship or a certified copy of your citizenship evidence and,
  • A legible photocopy of the front and back, if there is information in printing, in a single-sided format.
  • Copies must be on white paper 8.5” x 11” in size, black and white printing.
  • Electronic or mobile birth certificates are unacceptable.
  • You can’t use just a photocopy of a birth certificate, you need to submit an original or a certified copy too.

Feel free to get more information on the official website of the US Department of State: or visit your local passport office, if you still have unclear spots regarding the query: Do you need original birth certificate for the passport book.