birth certificate for passport

Which form of Birth Certificate to use for Passport Application?

In November 13, 2017

When applying for your passport, there are some very important factors to take into consideration while gathering your vital records and documents for the application process. From legal name change documents to passport photos to the correct birth certificate format for passport applications, we’ll make sure you’re set up for success when attempting to obtain your new passport. Whether you are looking to get a passport for ID purposes or for travel-related reasons, be advised that the application process can be lengthy. We suggest you get a jump on obtaining the correct birth certificate for passport processing before taking any other step.

What format of birth certificate for passport applications?

While the term “long form birth certificate” is a bit outdated, the difference between this format and a short form birth certificate is simple. Short form certificates tend to be less detailed; they don’t contain parental information and may not have some signatures. Long form birth certificates are typically referred to as the official version of a birth certificate, and should have all pertinent information surrounding an individual’s place of birth, parents, time, and signatures of officials. Birth certificate issuance varies from state to state, so if you plan to travel or have a child who needs a passport, be sure to examine the birth certificate you have on file. It is likely you’ll need to obtain an official copy that holds the relevant information in order to complete your passport application.


When it comes to passport application requirements, be sure that the official copy of your birth certificate you submit has your name and the name of your parents on it. An official copy of your birth certificate is one of the most common, and highly held forms of ID in the United States. It is the best proof of citizenship a person born in the U.S. can hold. Official copies of birth certificates used for passport applications must meet the following requirements:

  • Issued by the City, County, or State of birth ( is the only authorized agent working with hundreds of official government offices to help you quickly obtain certified copies of vital records.)
  • Lists bearer’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
  • Lists single parent or both parent’s full names
  • Has date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
  • Has registrar’s signature
  • Has embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal of registrar


Regardless of whether you’re looking to obtain a passport for yourself or one of your children, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time before your trip for the passport application process. While there are options to pay additional fees for expedited processing, having your documents in order will help a great deal and could cut down on the application time. We hope you have your passport in hand in no time, and enjoy your adventures abroad!


  1. When you say that the “place of birth” is required to be on the certified copy of the birth certificate, is that a city? County? State? Name of Hospital/Birthing Facility? I have heard horror stories about people having difficulty obtaining a U.S. Passport because it did not include the name of the hospital they were born in, even though the state and city were listed.

    1. Hello Jennifer. Thanks for reaching out with your question. According to the U.S. State Department website, a birth certificate being provided for evidence of citizenship during the passport application process must meet the following requirements:
      U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
      1. Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
      2. Lists your full name, date of birth, and place of birth
      3. Lists your parent(s)’ full names
      4. Has the date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
      5. Has the registrar’s signature
      6. Has the seal of the issuing authority

  2. will my long birth certificate meet all of the requirements to obtain a passport? Like the signature and seal?

    1. Hello Mackenzie. Here is some information that may help you determine if your long form birth certificate meets the requirements for obtaining a passport. In 2011, the US State Department changed the requirements for birth certificates to be used as proof of citizenship for passport applications. All certified birth certificates submitted as proof of citizenship must now include the full names of your parent(s), the full name of the passport applicant, his or her date and place of birth, the signature of the registrar, the date the birth certificate was issued and a multicolored, embossed, raised or impressed seal from the birth certificate’s issuing authority.

  3. I have been issued my passport but my original birth certificate hasn’t been returned…how do I get it back?

    1. Hello Deborah. Often times your documents will be returned separately from your passport. So, if you just received your passport, we suggest you give it a bit more time for your birth certificate to be returned.

  4. Can I have. Copy of my bc with the stamp on it?

    1. Hello. If you order a certified copy of your birth certificate, it will have a multicolored, embossed, raised or impressed seal from the birth certificate’s issuing authority on it.

  5. I ordered a long birth certificate so that I could get a passport. Why was I sent a short form? There is no where on your website that I can contact a customer service representative for assistance.

    1. Hello Noreen. Thanks for reaching out with your questions. Some states have moved away from having a long form or short form birth certificate. That being said we would be happy to look into this for you. You can contact with your order number at 800-255-2414, or by private message at

  6. I have a birth certificate that meets all of these requirements. But the Houston Passport Agency still rejected it. They said since my birth “took place in a non-institutional setting” my birth certificate is NOT proof of citizenship. I believe this is illegal based on a 2009 ruling that says they can not reject birth certificates solely because a person “was born at home”. I know this was happening to lots of people in Texas especially those delivered by midwives. But I was born and live in Kansas. And I was delivered by my own father not a midwife. It seems to me that they have expanded, not stopped, their policy to rejecting ANYONE not born in a hospital. Who do I contact about this?

    1. Hello Gwyneth. We are sorry to hear about the issue you are having your birth certificate. You can try contacting a different passport office to see if they will apply the same restriction as the Houston Office. If they concur, you may consider seeking legal advice. We wish you the best in getting this issue resolved.

      1. I was given no choice of agency and can’t change without paying a second application fee. There should be some way to ask for another agent to look at an application without paying extra fees. But there isn’t (the Help Line is useless).
        I do now have a passport. But only because I sent in my parents’ birth certificates, yearbooks, immunization records and a birth affidavit (all difficult to get because I was born over 40 years ago). And I had my Senator call them. Three times.
        I am certain I would not have gotten my passport if I had not contacted my Senator.

        1. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you experienced obtaining your passport but glad to hear you received assistance from your senator and eventually received your passport.

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