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U.S. Born Citizen Told Her Birth Certificate Wasn't Enough For A Passport

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Gwyneth Barbara is a United States citizen and has been since her birth in Kansas.  She was born inside a farmhouse within Leavenworth County in the 1970s.  She had a registered birth certificate.

A few days after her birth, Barbara’s father went to the courthouse and certified her birth.  Her original birth certificate has all the attributes of an official document, even a raised seal.

Upon going to re-issue her passport, she was told that her birth certificate—which she had used before to obtain a passport, was not enough to prove that she was a United States citizen.

Barbara said, “It’s like they’re retroactively declaring that I was never a citizen.”

Barbara went to the local passport agency to re-issue her passport.  The agency found her documentation to be enough for her application, but a few days later a letter came from the federal division of the U.S. Passport Agency in Houston, TX.

The letter informed Barbara that her application was denied and needed further documentation.

“I have a birth certificate,” Barbara said, “It was accepted before, why wouldn’t it be accepted again?”

According to the letter, Barbara’s birth certificate was not enough to be considered proof of her United States citizenship because her birth certificate was not issued at an institution or hospital.

The letter asked her to submit additional documentation and listed a few ‘options.’  Barbara explained, “Border crossing card or green card for your parents issued prior to your birth?  My parents were born in the United States…Early religious records?  We don’t have any.  Family Bible?  They won’t accept a birth certificate but they will accept a family Bible?”

“I was absolutely furious,” Barbara continued, “I went to sleep yelling at the passport agency in my head.  I woke up yelling at them in my head.”

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