Getting a US Passport is serious business and you must be sure you can prove you are an American. These days anyone from anywhere can be or claim to be an American. At one time just your presence in the country was nearly proof enough. Today you MUST have your papers in order because without them you could be deported. Even if you were born and have lived in America all your life without the proper papers deportation is possible.
In this article we will discuss and list what papers you need and papers that are worthless which many people believe is their birth certificate but in fact is not. You will see an example of a “short abstract birth certificate” an example of “acceptable birth certificate for a US Passport”.
Now to answer the question. Is your birth certificate enough? The answer is yes, in most cases. Your birth certificate should have the following elements in order to get your US Passport. If your birth certificate is missing any one of these elements you could have real problems. I will list all the elements in the order of importance.
- Birth certificate should show a doctor’s signature, a midwife’s signature, the parent’s signature or the signature of a witness who was present at your birth.
- The name of the hospital you were born at or taken to after your birth at home, in the car or where ever you happened to be born but later seen by a doctor at a hospital.
- A raised registrar’s embossed, impressed or multicolored seal. Some older birth certificates may not have all of these elements on certificates from the 1970’s or earlier.
- The paper itself should have a print pattern or emboss style that is sometimes raised again on some older certificates this may not be present.
- Birth certificate should have been issued within one year of your birth.
The birth certificate below is an example of a birth certificate with major problems. The missing information is that there is no doctor’s signature or any signature of any witness nor is there the name of a hospital. You could have problems getting a US Passport with this birth certificate. This is an example of what the State Department referrers to as a “ short abstract version of a birth certificate .” This is a re-issued birth certificate which is not a problem because people lose their birth certificates all the time but this one is missing vital information.
To be truthful people get US Passports everyday with short abstract version’s of their birth certificates that are missing a reference to their original birth “source documents” but the State Department can and does ask for source documents when there are questions or suspicions. You really can’t prove your citizenship without the signature of a witness and a written hospital report of your birth. Obama will not have to provide source documents of his birth but odds are you will be required to produce them if asked.
Why take a chance on this when anyone’s birth certificate can easily have this information placed on your birth certificate with a simple request. This data is required to be kept on file by every hospital in the United States. There is no reason for it not to be on every birth certificate.
Look at the pictures of these birth certificates closely and avoid the problems this certificate would bring you. If yours is missing these elements get it corrected and re-issued to avoid a major hassle.
Click images for close up view.
The next pictures are of a valid birth certificate that has all of the necessary elements of a birth certificate that will not cause you any problems. It too is a Hawaiian birth certificate issued during the same time period.