Kansas Woman Told Birth Certificate Not Enough To Prove Citizenship

Kansas woman denied passport over birth certificate

A woman who was born and raised in Kansas had a big problem when she went to re-apply for a U.S. passport after she was told her birth certificate wasn't good enough to prove her citizenship. 

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

According to the station, Barbara had previously held a passport before and when she went to re-apply, she took it to her local passport agency where they accepted her documentation. 

But a few days later, she received a letter from the U.S. Passport Agency saying that her application had been denied and that they would require further documentation of her citizenship.

The letter stated that because Barbara had been born in a farmhouse in the 1970s in Leavenworth County and her birth certificate hadn't been issued at a hospital or institution, it was not considered proof enough of her citizenship. 

Barbara says days after she was born, her father went to the local courthouse to obtain the birth certificate, raised seal and all. 

The letter went on to ask her for any number of the additional documents that would prove her citizenship for the agency. 

“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?” Barbara said.

After going back and forth with the passport agency and doing her best to find anything else that might qualify for the agency, Barbara eventually contacted one of her senators, Sen. Jerry Moran, for help. After the senator's office launched an investigation, Barbara says she received her passport in the mail a few days later. 

According to the rules on the federal government's website, birth certificates may be accepted as proof of citizenship if:

  • Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
  • Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
  • Lists parent(s)’ full names
  • Has the signature of the city, county, or state registrar
  • Has the date filed with registrar's office (must be within one year of birth)
  • Has the seal of issuing authority

The requirements do not mention hospitals or institutions must issue the certificate. 

The story comes after an investigative report by the Washington Post revealed that many Americans who live along border regions were being denied passports

Photo: Getty Images

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