If you were born in the United States you are already a U.S. citizen and your birth certificate can be used as proof of your citizenship status. However, if you were born outside the U.S. or you immigrated to the U.S and became a citizen then your citizenship certificate or naturalization certificate can be used as proof of U.S. citizenship.
Why and where would you need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship?
When dealing with the government, while you apply for Social Security benefits and while you apply for a U.S. passport, you will be required to submit an identification document that was issued by the government, to demonstrate that you are a citizen of the United States of America.
Similarly, few American states require the applicants who apply for enhanced driver’s licenses to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. There are also other scenarios where you are required to provide proof of your status. Hence, it is important to know about the documents that you can use to prove your citizenship status.
Documents used as Proof of U.S. Citizenship
Birth certificates, U.S. passports, naturalization certificates, and citizenship certificates are the documents that serve as primary proof of U.S. citizenship.
You may provide one of these documents when you are required to submit a document to prove your citizenship status. Individuals born in the United States may submit their certified birth certificates, issued by the American states in which they were born, as evidence of citizenship.
However, this does not apply to U.S. citizens who were born on foreign soil. If you were born abroad and if your parents are U.S. citizens you can apply for and obtain a U.S. citizenship certificate by filing Form N-600 with the USCIS, which can be used to prove your status.
If you already received your citizenship certificate by filing Form N-600 but you lost the certificate then you might be eligible to apply for a replacement citizenship certificate.
People born on foreign soil to foreign nationals cannot obtain U.S. citizenship certificates and they will have to go through the legal naturalization process to become U.S. citizens.
If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, you may use the naturalization certificate that was issued to you to demonstrate that you are a citizen of America. Similar to losing a citizenship certificate if you lost your naturalization certificate you might be eligible to apply for a replacement naturalization certificate.
All U.S. citizens can apply for and obtain U.S. passports and you may submit a copy of your U.S. passport, when you are required to prove your status in the United States, that is because U.S. citizens alone will be issued U.S. passports.
People born on foreign soil to native or naturalized Americans may submit their Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth, as evidence of U.S. citizenship.
If you do not have the above-mentioned documents, you may provide Early Public Records such as your baptismal certificate, hospital birth certificate, early school or family bible records and doctor’s record of the post-natal care and these documents can be presented as secondary evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Similarly, a delayed birth certificate, Form DS-10: birth affidavit, or a foreign birth document submitted along with a parent’s citizenship evidence, may also be accepted as proof, in certain cases.