Birth Certificate / Passport Requirement

I recently became a student pilot again after 8 years. I have flown a few flights with an instructor in the past couple of months, but I have been talking to another instructor I intended to train with starting in the next few days. The new instructor mentioned I will need to provide a copy of my birth certificate or a passport. He said that he had to make an endorsement in my logbook stating that I had presented one of the two and that he had to retain a copy. The instructor I had been flying with had not mentioned this. I don’t mean to question the instructor, but I have a few questions about the regulation and was hoping someone on here could point me in the correct direction.

I was aware of a similar requirement for foreign pilots since 9/11, but was not aware of this requirement for U.S. citizens. I have tried searching the FARs, but have not been able to locate a regulation that addresses this requirement.

I don’t have a passport and have been unable to locate my birth certificate. Specifically I need to know if any other types of documentation would be acceptable, such as a drivers license, or a social security card. I was actually able to find a Birth Record Verification for me that had been obtained from a local health department, but it is not an official Birth Certificate (at least I don’t think), so I am wondering how the language of the regulation reads. I am sure I can order a copy from the state, but that would probably take awhile to get. I am also curious as to when the regulations say this has to be presented, before beginning training, prior to solo, or prior to applying for a pilot certificate.

Am I overlooking this in the FARs? Is this some sort of TSA rule or something? If any one can provide a link to the regulation I would be grateful.


As always, AOPA to the rescue!

  1. Documentation Requirements for U.S. Citizens
    Flight schools or instructors have two options for recording their documentation of U.S. citizens to whom they have provided flight training. Note: These also apply to U.S. citizens who are receiving training outside the United States for a U.S. airman certificate:

Keep for five years a copy of the documents that are used to prove citizenship. Evidence of U.S. citizenship must be shown by one of the following:

Valid, unexpired U.S. passport.
Original birth certificate of the United States, American Samoa, or Swains Island and government-issued picture ID.
Original certification of birth abroad with raised seal (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) and government-issued picture ID.
Original certificate of U.S. citizenship with raised seal (Form N-560 or N-561), or a Certificate of Repatriation (Form N-581), and government-issued picture ID.
Original U.S. Naturalization Certificate with raised seal (Form N-550 or N-570) and a government-issued picture ID.


Make an endorsement in both the instructor’s logbook, or other record used by the instructor to record flight student endorsements, and the student’s logbook with the following:

“I certify that [insert student’s name] has presented me a [insert type of document presented, such as a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, and the relevant control or sequential number on the document, if any] establishing that [he or she] is a U.S. citizen or national in accordance with 49 CFR 1552.3(h). [Insert date and instructor’s signature and CFI number.]”

More info, including the requirements for aliens (giggity) can be found here:

Thank you cfijames that was exactly what I was looking for. I guess I am going to have to dig deeper and find my Birth Certificate or order one.

A “Birth Record Verification” is a birth certificate if it has a raised imprint showing the agency that issued it.

Most states (none AFAIK) don’t issue birth certificates, they’re issued by the municipality in which you were born and the birth recorded.

This has lead to birth certificates being called different things in different areas of the country and sometimes even within the same state.

The above is not correct having dealt with gub benefits for 20 plus years.

Birth records / Birth certificates are issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics or Dept of Health depending on the state you were born.

Birth record verifications are issued by hospitals (some even have "raised seals or are embossed) where the child is born if the parent wants it which IS NOT proof of birth for government issued benefits or ID purposes.

See for getting the proper proof of age and other goodies for each state

Not likely when referred to the above website.


Allen, I will bow to your apparent greater knowledge, but I will share with you that contacting a state agency has not proven fruitful in my experience in NY, NJ, PA or MD.

My original birth certificate, as well as several certified copies, was issued by the city of Hoboken, NJ.

My wife’s original certificate was issued by the city of Oceanside, NY.

James’s original birth certificate was issued by the Township of Turnersville, NJ.

His sisters’ original birth certificates were issued by the cities of New York and Baltimore respectively.

In every instance where we have needed a copy of a birth certificate for a wedding, passport application, etc., we have been referred by the state to the original issuing agency to obtain it.



sigh Why should I be surprised someone didn’t want to do their job… clearly shows you should have been able to get “same day” service at Bureau of Vital Statistics in Trenton when in person or via postal mail if Trenton wasn’t convienant.

Quite clear from the above website you did have a choice, just that the person serving you wasn’t serving you too well by telling you.

I only pick on NJ, but I am sure the same would be for NY and MD. I had to get a copy of my birth certificate and had to contact Vital Statistics in MD. Naturally, states don’t issue other state birth certificates, so you do have to contact the particular state.


Ennui? Inertia? :wink:

Probably because the option of getting your docs from the local registrar is listed first on their website:

*"You may now submit your completed application and supporting documentation in any of the following ways:

* visit or write the Local Registrar in the municipality where the vital record event occurred. Same day service is available. Fees vary by municipality; please contact the Local Registrar for details."*

they assume that’s the preferred methodology.

Thanks for everyone’s response. I guess I got lucky in that my state (KY) made it pretty easy to order a copy of an official Birth Certificate. The process is handled by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and they post detailed ordering information and about about a half dozen methods for doing so on their website. They even offered an option to order online, which is what I went with.

A company called Vital Chek handles the ordering, and according their website they do for most other states as well. Their website is if anyone wants to check it out.

I thought Kentucky was a commonwealth. :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t know they kept records in Kentucky!

…ya know, birth records, marriage records…cuz it’s kentucky…get it? :unamused:

He’s adopted…

It took a while for them to transfer all the important information off the outhouse walls onto paper. They tried to get the info from the paper to the computer, but they couldn’t write small enough to get it all on the screen. (I’m allowed to knock it, as my mother was born there. Some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet.)

Anyhow, my birth certificate was issued by the “State of Ohio Division of Vital Statistics,” but I believe that I would have to go to the Franklin County Health Dept. if I needed a certified copy. Now you’ve got me curious. :confused:

It is, at least if you pledge allegiance to it: “I pledge allegiance to the Kentucky flag, and to the Sovereign State for which it stands, one Commonwealth, blessed with diversity, natural wealth, beauty, and grace from on High.”

I understand that a passport is required for U.S. citizens to fly out of the country now, but I recently heard a rumor that a passport will be required next year to fly all domestic flights as well. Was that indeed a rumor?

Four states in the United States officially designate themselves “commonwealths”: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

I think every state except NY offers birth certificates. This may be in addition to ones offered by more local offices. There is some strange thing with the Burroughs and the State of NY where this is different.

Yes, the Boroughs of NYC maintain their own records.

Probably has much to do with the fact that NYC has always been loathe to allow the State to receive income that the City could get instead.

My wife and I were married in Nassau County out on Long Island but, because we both resided in NYC at the time, we were required to obtain a NYC issued marriage license.

I’m not aware of anywhere else where your residence establishes who issues a marriage license rather than the municipality where the marriage is performed.