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.