Kansas Woman Told Her Birth Certificate Is Not Enough To Prove Citizenship For Passport

Gwyneth Barbara was born and raised in a farmhouse in Leavenworth County, Kansas, in the 1970’s. As such, getting a U.S. passport should never have been a problem for her.

After having previously held a U.S. passport, she never expected to be told that she would not be able to get another passport, as authorities didn’t believe she was a citizen, per KCTV.

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

Just days after her birth, Barbara’s father had gone to the courthouse where he had registered her birth. As a result, Barbara has a birth certificate, with the raised seal and everything. When she went to get a new passport, the local agency accepted her paperwork for the application.

Just a few days later, she received a letter from the federal division of the U.S. Passport Agency out of Houston, TX, informing her that her “application was denied and required further documentation.” According to the letter, because the birth certificate was not issued at an institution or a hospital, it was not proof enough of her citizenship.

“I have a birth certificate it was accepted before, why wouldn’t it be accepted again?” Barbara questioned of the strange anomaly.

The letter stated that she could instead attach a number of acceptable documents instead, leaving Barbara absolutely flummoxed by their request.


“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… I went to sleep yelling at the passport agency in my head. I woke up yelling at them in my head.”

Barbara did the best she could to dig up the documents being requested and continued to call the agency repeatedly, with them either not taking her calls or not answering her questions. Eventually, desperate for anyone who might be able to help her, she contacted U.S. Senator Jerry Moran’s office.

The senator’s office told her they were launching an inquiry, then another, and a few days later, Barbara received her passport in the mail, with no explanation.

Per the federal website, a birth certificate is not even required to be from a hospital or another official institution. The passport agency responded to questions saying that decisions on birth certificates for home births were “made on a case by case basis.”