If we ask for proof of your age, you must show us a birth certificate or religious record showing your age that was made before you were age 5 if one was established. This is our preferred proof of age.

If a public or religious record was not made before you were age 5, you must show us at least two other documents you may have that prove your age, such as a:

Please show us the oldest of these documents.

We must see the original document(s) or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. We will return all your documents to you unless you specifically tell us otherwise. If you have the documents we need, you should submit them as soon as possible. If you don't have all the documents, you should submit any documents you do have. We will help you get the other documents.

Note: If you mail any documents to us, we must have your Social Security Number so we can match them with your application. Please write your Social Security Number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with your documents.

Do not write anything on your original documents. If you do not want to mail your documents, you may bring them to the Social Security office where we will examine and return them to you. Or, if a later office visit becomes necessary, you may bring them with you at that time.

Caution: Do not mail foreign birth records or any Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents to us - especially those you are required to keep with you at all times. These documents are extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive to replace if lost. Some cannot be replaced. Instead, bring them to the Social Security office where we will examine and return them to you.

Note: DHS was formerly the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS).