How to Obtain Citizenship ID Cards


There are many different documents that prove citizenship. A certified birth certificate with a raised seal issued inside the United States is proof of citizenship. So is a naturalization certificate and citizenship certificates issued for persons born abroad to American parents or foreign-born children adopted by American families. A passport is irrefutable evidence of citizenship, and now there is a passport card available. The passport card, applied for in the same manner as a passport booklet, is the only proof of citizenship that comes in card form.

First Time Applicants

  • Visit the website of the U.S. Department of State (See Resources). Search for Form DS-11, passport application for first time applicants.

  • Fill out form DS-11. You may use the e-form and print out a finished application, or print out the application and fill it out with a pen. Check the box that makes the form an application for a passport card.

  • Use the U.S. Department of State's Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page (see Resources) to locate the nearest passport acceptance facility. Click to check the box entitled "Photo On-Site" on the bottom of the search portal before performing a search.

  • Go to the facility with the application, government issued photo I.D. and proof of U.S. citizenship. Proof of U.S. citizenship can be a U.S. birth certificate with a raised seal, citizenship certificate, consular registry of birth abroad, or naturalization certificate.

  • Get a passport photo taken on site. Provide identification and proof of citizenship to lodge your application. Let the attendant photocopy your proof of citizenship and I.D.

  • Pay the $55 application and execution fee. Wait for your passport card in the mail. Generally, the process takes four-to-eight weeks.

Passport Card through Renewal of Passport

  • Find your existing passport booklet. You may apply for a passport card through the mail with a passport renewal application. Search the U.S. Department of State's website, find form DS-82 and print out the form.

  • Fill the form out with a pen. Check a box that makes the form an application for a Passport card.

  • Get a passport-style photograph taken. Find a business in your community that takes passport photos. You might get these photos at your local pharmacy, post office or photo shop.

  • Fill the form out completely in blue or black ink. Mail the application to the appropriate facility listed on the application along with your current passport, passport photograph and a payment of $55 in the form of a U.S. Postal money order.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is a good idea to apply for a passport booklet or renew your passport booklet when applying for a passport card.
  • A passport card will only allow you to travel to and from Mexico and Canada. You will need a passport booklet to get on international flights overseas.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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