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I need to renew my US passport card in-person. I applied to renew my passport book and card by mail, but I had lost my previous passport card (many years ago) and had forgotten that I had one. The State Department rejected my application, sending me a letter saying I need to take the letter to a passport acceptance facility within 90 days to complete the application. However, the State Department kept my passport book. Therefore, the only proof of citizenship I have in my possession is my NEXUS card; I do not have my birth certificate. (I was born in the US.)

Is a NEXUS card that says “Citizenship: USA” proof of citizenship for purposes of applying for a new passport?

It of course is valid as proof of identity and citizenship for international travel (with limitations not relevant here), and lists the issuing country as USA and my citizenship as USA. It is not listed as one of the documents on the state department web site or the form DS-11 instructions, but I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to do since they didn't return my passport book. (I also have separate documents that can establish identity but not citizenship which have passport-quality photos instead of the webcam photo that is weirdly used on the NEXUS card.)

(Having a passport card is not crucial for me, since I normally use the NEXUS card and also will have the new passport book, but I like having the extra wallet-sized border crossing document and proof of citizenship.)

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  • I have a NEXUS card. I'm Canadian. So no, it's not proof of US citizenship. Mar 23 at 1:36
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    It's the fact that it's a NEXUS card that says "Citizenship: USA" that makes me think it ought to be proof of US citizenship. Obviously a NEXUS card that says "Citizenship: Canada" would not be proof of US citizenship.
    – Alex Hill
    Mar 23 at 5:44

2 Answers 2

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Answering my own question in a limited fashion based on experience:

I went to the US post office to complete my DS-11 application for a replacement passport card. I asked the postal clerk if the NEXUS card is acceptable proof of identity and citizenship for this purpose. She said, without hesitation, yes.

However, I did not truly test this, as I had in the interim found my birth certificate. I was not willing to mail my NEXUS card to the State Department, as it's the only border crossing ID in my possession and I will be crossing multiple times in the next few weeks, so I can't verify that the State Department itself would have agreed with the postal clerk's interpretation. Instead, I mailed the birth certificate.

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Is the NEXUS card proof of citizenship for purposes of applying for a new passport?

No. Foreign citizens can get a NEXUS card as well. See here:

Eligibility

U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals

You have to provide proof of citizenship to the Department's satisfaction (see the instructions to the form DS-11). The department will not be satisfied with the Nexus card since it is not on the list of the documents that would satisfy it, as you've noted.

Why can't you get your birth certificate? AFAIK you can get a certified copy from the county where you were born any time.

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  • I couldn't reliably get a new birth certificate (California, in my case) and then drive to the US to a passport acceptance facility (post office) within the 90 day timeframe the State Department gave me; I certainly couldn't do that and get my new passport back in time for my next passport-requiring trip given 8-11 week current processing time (mailed passport in 2 months ago already). However, fortunately, this became moot for me since I finally found my birth certificate. But still appreciate having the answer!
    – Alex Hill
    Mar 23 at 5:49
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    (Not clear to me why the fact that foreign citizens can get a NEXUS card means one that says "Citizenship: USA" is not proof of US citizenship, since the ID requirements to get one that says "Citizenship: USA" were the same as getting a passport.)
    – Alex Hill
    Mar 23 at 5:51
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    @phoog I don’t live in the US. My options are a five hour drive (each way, so a full day with likely an overnight given very limited appointment availability) to the nearest consulate or a three hour drive across the border to the nearest US post office. The nearby county (Okanogan County, WA) is larger than Rhode Island and has one post office that does passports, so definitely not a few minute drive for most in that county. It was six weeks from when they received my application to processing and rejecting it.
    – Alex Hill
    Mar 23 at 15:39
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    True, for a renewal. However, it took quite a bit of digging to get this in order to apply for the passport in the first place.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 29 at 18:20
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    Note that a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (presumably that's what you have, @FreeMan) is on the list of approved documents (like a US birth certificate). But same difference: if you don't have it, it's not trivial for everyone to find a new one, and the fact that a NEXUS card that says "Citizenship: USA" is even slightly questionable as proof of citizenship is just weird.
    – Alex Hill
    Mar 30 at 21:25

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