U.S. citizens are generally not required to always carry with them a proof of their citizenship. However, they may be asked for proof of citizenship when dealing with certain or almost all levels of the U.S. government. For example, they may be required to provide a proof of citizenship while applying for Social Security benefits or for a driver’s license. Proof of citizenship also may be required by certain U.S. employers.
A U.S. passport is one of the best proofs of citizenship. Those born within the U.S. borders can use their state-issued birth certificates and naturalized citizens can use their naturalization certificates, to prove that that are U.S. citizens.
Following are documents that serve as evidence of U.S. citizenship.
- Birth Certificate: U.S. birth certificates are issued to those born on U.S. soil by the city, county or state of birth. This document shows that the holder is a natural-born U.S. citizen.
- Naturalization Certificate: This document is issued to green card holders who gained citizenship in the country through the naturalization process.
- Certificate of Citizenship: Citizenship certificates are issued to people born outside the U.S. and who claim citizenship based on U.S. citizen parentage.
- U.S. Passport: U.S. passports that also serve as travel documents are issued to natural-born U.S. citizens, naturalized citizens and to those who hold citizenship certificates. Passports show that the holder is a citizen.
While natural born U.S. citizens can use their birth certificates or their passports to prove citizenship, immigrants who gained citizenship have two documents, their naturalization certificates and passports, to show that they are U.S. citizens. It is important to keep these documents safe as one may find it difficult to find a job in the U.S., travel abroad or obtain Social Security benefits in the U.S., if they are unable to establish their citizenship status.
If a naturalization certificate or a citizenship certificate is lost, they can be replaced by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. Likewise, lost passports can be replaced by getting in touch with the U.S. Department of State.
In certain cases, U.S. citizens may be allowed to use early public records like baptismal certificates, hospital birth certificates, census records, early school records, family bible records, doctor’s record of post-natal care, delayed birth certificates that were filed more than one year after their birth or notarized birth affidavits, as secondary evidence of citizenship.
Watch the video on How To Provide Proof of Citizenship?