Contact Information: 
Ernest C. Cerino, Jr.
Office of the Mercer County Clerk

Today, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello advised local residents that beginning April 1, 2011 the U.S. Department of State will require the full names of a passport applicant’s parents to be listed on all certified birth certificates to be considered as primary evidence of U.S. citizenship. The new requirements will apply to all U.S. passport applicants, regardless of their age. Under the new Federal mandate, certified birth certificates missing parental information will not be accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. This new requirement will not effect passport applications that are already in-process with the U.S. State Department.

All United States birth certificates must meet the following criteria to apply for a U.S. Passport:
  • Show the full name of the parent(s);
  • Be issued by the office of vital statistics of the state, county, or city where the birth occurred;
  • Show the full name of child at birth;
  • Indicate the date and place of birth;
  • Bear the embossed, impressed, multi-colored, or raised seal and signature of the issuing authority;
  • Indicate a registration or file date that is within one year of the birth; and
  • Be an original and certified document (notarized copies and photocopies are not accepted)
The County Clerk and other passport application facilities will not turn away applicants submitting birth certificates that do not meet these new requirements, for Passport Day in the USA on April 2 in Hamilton at the County Connection. Passport agents were given permission by the federal government to accept any birth certificates that applicants submit and to advise applicants that the documents they are submitting do not meet the newest criteria, however the U. S. State Department will later contact them to provide updated documents.

For further information on US Passport requirements, processing hours, and what personal documents are needed to obtain a passport, residents should visit and click on County Clerk, General Info, or call 609-989-6473.