I have four children, 3 born at home with a CPM. Two of my children were born in New Hampshire and issued birth certificates there. The oldest was born in a hospital and the youngest was born at home in NC.
I recently applied for passports for all of my children. We received two passports in the mail today, one for my oldest (hospital birth) and one for my youngest (NC home birth). For the two middle children we received a thick envelope with a multi-page questionnaire and request for supporting documents including prenatal records, baptismal records, school records, mortgage or rent receipts, etc.
All because their NH birth certificates say the birth location was "at home"!
Apparently an official birth certificate issued by a state is not sufficient proof of citizenship anymore!? My son's birth certificate from NC doesn't mention home birth, it just says the city of birth for location. So his application was processed without issue.
We are upset and frustrated. Not only is this aggravating but it is scary that the US government can decide when to accept a certified state document as valid or not.
I was curious if anyone else has had problems obtaining passports for their children born at home.
Any advice or information appreciated.
I had heard about this, although just in a general 'this is going to be how it is in the future' kind of way rather than first hand experience like you are having. It's interesting to me that what mattered was whether the birth certificate itself said 'at home' - I don't think any of the Pennsylvania (me) or Maryland (my 3 kids) bcs say that although we were all born at home. I believe the 'justification' is that they want documentation that the child really was born in this country and fear that there might be border midwives saying babies were born here when really they were born in Mexico. I will self-censor what I would like to say in response to that 'justification'. I do think it's pretty ridiculous, though, especially if you have a state-issued birth certificate (from New Hampshire of all places, obviously a hotbed of 'illegal' immigration!) and/or if you yourself or your partner are US Citizens (which would automatically qualify your children no matter WHERE they were born.)
I think if it were me I would do two things: 1) I would send the d*mn documentation just to get it done with and 2) after I got the passports, I'd send a letter, maybe a letter with a lawyer's name on it (maybe from a big, powerful anti-discrimination organization if I could get them interested) pointing out the injustice of the request for more documentation.
Here as mama to W (2/04), R (5/06), D (7/09), and J (12/9/12!), co-parenting with my DH
I WOH part-time, am a doula & childbirth educator, home/unschool, and hope we are nearing the center of chaos
We are in the process of getting a passport for our home birthed infant and have been denied, "since you were a non-instituational birth". In other words, a birth certificate stating our child was born in California, and the baby's SS#, aren't good enough for the State Department. We didn't see this coming because those are two were the only forms of ID requested, and we provided them.
Other than marvelling at the irony that it is Obama's administration blocking homebirthers from receiving passports- changing the rules the very month he releases his birth certificate to end the birther madness- we're just stressed our non refundable overseas vacation next month isn't going to happen now.
The State Department won't tell us how many other documents we need to submit; apparently we're supposed to guess how many a "combination" is. We are submittting both "medical records created in the first year of your birth", as well as insurance records. We have my full prenatal records with my midwives, as well. Should we include those? They don't specify what type of medical records they are looking for, and calls to the SD are unsatisfactory. They ask me to read them back full letters received from them,-seriously- but can't tell me what they meant, exactly.
I would love any feedback from other homebirth mamas if they encountered this and how they resolved this, so I don't need to play guessing games with the State Department. We're travelling in 5 weeks. We started this process 2 weeks after the birth, in June. Any chance we can resolve this by then?
That's not universally true. There are laws for birthright citizenship, but it requires that the family meets other criteria (which is why they're requesting documentation about rent or mortgage payments). The obvious issue here is that they are trying to make sure that the child was born in the U.S., so the rules for a child born to U.S. citizens while abroad apply. OP, if you and your partner are married, you're in better shape, but if you're not, then it gets more complicated.
a couple of links for more info:
from the State Department: http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_5199.html
from LegalZoom (not official, obviously, but more straightforward): http://www.legalzoom.com/marriage-divorce-family-law/family-law-basics/is-your-child-us
Oh, and these regulations aren't new. In fact, they've been posted about here for years. They've been this way since shortly after 9/11, so it's not about Obama. Really, it's not.
I just found this thread and your post after getting a letter in the mail about my baby's Passport Application. I just went through the silly motions of reading the letter aloud to them on the phone as well. It felt so shaming! Yikes!
I'm curious about what "combination" of documents worked for you - assuming that it did work for you! Thank you!
Becklist, it’s a different office and a different subject matter, so I don’t know if it will be helpful to you or not, but in seeing some of the previous posts on here about the difficulty of receiving passports, I was reminded of the difficulty of receiving my daughter’s SS card. She was born at a free-standing birth center, not even a home birth, but we received all sorts of trouble. Apparently our state had recently changed the birth certificate and application (as part of the trouble was that our local SS office did not even immediately recognize my daughter’s BC as a state-issued BC, even though we were applying for her SS almost a year after her birth – we didn’t realize until we started our taxes that she had not been issued a SS number with her BC). Then they made demands to see her medical records, and we bent over backward obtaining anything we thought might apply. We contacted the birth center to get prenatal/delivery records in case they wouldn't accept records from a doc who hadn't seen her until several months after her birth, and also got records from the family doctor (we started using him after our daughter’s birth and I had seen only the midwife during labor/delivery, so there were no records from anyone other than my midwife regarding my pregnancy/delivery). The local SS office rejected the MD’s records because he used an electronic signature, and they rejected the midwife’s records because they weren’t “on an official letterhead” and she wasn’t a “medical professional.” I ended up taking the MD’s records back to his office and had to explain twice that I needed him to actually sign the papers with an ink pen, but that was what was finally accepted. Best of luck, but prepare for them to be very anal about what records they want.
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