What is a Certified Birth Certificate?

Will I need a Certified Birth Certificate?

In order to obtain a US Passport, you must have in your possession either a certified birth certificate, a US Naturalization Certificate, or an old adult passport still in your possession.

What is a certified birth certificate?

Certified birth certificates are generally issued by the county clerk’s office in the county where you were born.  A certified birth certificate usually has a 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 1 year of your birth. Please note that certain birth certificates issued in Texas or California are called “abstract” birth certificates – these abstract birth certificates are not accepted by the federal government.

What do you mean by “long-form” birth certificate?

Long Form Birth Certificates generally have all of the following information: 1) Mother’s name and age at time of birth 2) Father’s name and age at time of birth 3) Filing date and number 4) Hospital of birth (perhaps). If any of this information is missing, you probably do not have a valid birth certificate.

Are photocopies of my birth certificate or naturalization certificate accepted?

Photocopies are never accepted for these documents.

Will my birth certificate be returned to me with my completed passport?

Yes, the government always returns your birth certificate along with your completed passport

What about hospital-issued birth certificates?

These hospital issued birth certificates are nothing more than keepsakes, they have absolutely no legal value and are not acceptable for passport purposes.