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Do passports serve as legal proof of citizenship even when kids grow up?

by William & Liz

Question: It is very expensive to get U.S. certificates of citizenship. Therefore, although my wife and I have US citizenship/naturalization certificates, our teenagers only have US passports.

Since you have a couple of related passport questions, they will be answered in the order you gave them.

Question: Can passports serve as proofs of citizenship for teenagers and also when they grow up?

Answer: A previously issued United States passport can serve as evidence of U.S. citizenship as long as it is not damaged.

Question: We, parents, have severe allergies and have to commute to work therefore chances to die because of illness and traffic accidents are big. If parents die before teenagers' passports are renewed, may teenagers renew their own passports and be granted new passports?

Answer: Parental consent must be provided in written form for minors age 15 and under who wish to apply for a passport. Minors age 16 and 17 only need to provide written consent from parents when the consent is not implied on the passport application form.

If you were to die while your children were still minors then someone would be granted legal guardianship of your children. Legal guardians can also provide the consent needed for a minor to get a passport.

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Naturalization Certs and Adoptive Children
by: R. Larson

Question: My children are adopted from Asia. As the above person mentioned, it is terribly expensive to obtain Naturalization Certificates although adoption professional high recommend it. I do not want to do my children a disservice. Is a passport truly all that is really required to prove citizenship?

Answer: A U.S. passport is undenable proof of United States citizenship.

However, all passport applicants must prove both U.S. citizenship and identity to be issued a U.S. passport. For applicants claiming acquisition of U.S. citizenship pursuant to INA Section 320, the following evidence is required:

A Certificate of Citizenship issued by USCIS.

If the child has not been issued a Certificate of Citizenship by USCIS, the passport application must include the following proof of acquisition of citizenship under the INA Section 320:

1. Proof of the child's relationship to the U.S. citizen parent. For an adopted child, it is a certified copy of the final adoption decree (and translation if not in English);

2. Proof that the child is residing or has resided in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent(s) pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence. The I-551 stamp endorsed in the child's foreign passport or the child's permanent resident or "green" card will establish lawful admission for permanent residence, but not the fact that the child is residing in or has resided in the United States as required by INA 320(a)(3). Separate evidence establishing that the child has resided in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent(s) may be requested;

3. Proof that the child is or was under the age of 18 when all conditions are met.

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