A passport ranks as one of the most vital documents a U.S. citizen can possess. This essential document provides more than the ability to travel to a foreign country. It also serves as proof of a person’s U.S. citizenship. Also, a passport serves as a government-issued photo I.D., and it could prove helpful if a driver’s license or state-issued I.D. gets lost. Logically, applicants in Louisiana must provide proof of U.S. citizenship when applying for a passport.

Primary evidence of U.S. citizenship establishes proof. An expired passport would suffice as would a certified birth certificate. Some applicants may make a mistake when submitting a birth certificate, though. They submit a “birth abstract,” instead, which is unacceptable. This abbreviated document does not include as much identifying information as the full, certified document.

Persons lacking an expired passport or a certified birth certificate may submit secondary evidence. Someone born in the United States must submit either a delayed birth certificate or a “Letter of No Record” accompanied by additional early public records. “Early” refers to documents created earlier in the applicant’s lifespan. Documents created during the applicant’s first five years of age may be preferable. Such documents include school records, doctor’s records, U.S. Census information, a baptismal certificate and more.

Passport applications submitted with secondary evidence may take longer to process. The passport office reviews these documents for authenticity. Secondary evidence is not as concrete as an expired passport.

U.S. citizens born abroad, persons acquiring citizenship through a naturalized parent or individuals who become citizens through adoption have specific documentary evidence to submit. Also, someone who lost an expired passport can request a file search. Performing a file search is an option when a record of a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad” exists.

Applicants who are confused about filling out a passport application could speak with an immigration attorney. A lawyer could also assist with procuring secondary evidence records. If a problem comes up with the application, an attorney may help address the issue.