A falsely attributed passport belongs to Barack Obama's father, not the former president

By: Christian Haag
April 18 2023

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A falsely attributed passport belongs to Barack Obama's father, not the former president


The Verdict False

Former President Barack Obama's half-brother confirmed the passport was his fathers. The document was issued before Obama was born.

Claim ID fa21b88d


New claims have been made on social media that former U.S. President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not the U.S., after pictures of an old passport belonging to “Mr. Barack Hussein Obama” were uploaded by the former president’s half-brother, Malik Obama. The claim and photos were subsequently shared by conspiracist Stew Peters, citing it as proof that Obama was born in Naibori, Kenya, making his presidency illegitimate. However, the claim is false. 

In Fact

Barack Hussein Obama II, more commonly known as Barack Obama, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. The purported passport in question includes a stamp from April 29, 1959, two years before the former U.S. president was born, meaning it is not his passport. Malik Obama has confirmed to Associated Press and Reuters that the passport belonged to their father, and these news outlets have also fact-checked such claims. 

Barack Obama's parents, Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham, met during a class in Russian Language at the University of Hawaii. Barack Obama Sr. is a Kenyan native who came to study in the U.S. on a scholarship. The couple met in 1960, married, and then divorced in 1964. 

Claims about Obama's birthplace have been a regular discussion point for his detractors, most notably former president Donald J. Trump, who regularly made the so-called “Birthism” conspiracy theory a talking point. Such claims have been refuted on several occasions; Snopes fact-checked a forged document in 2009 claiming that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya, as claimed by Israeli-American conspiracy theorist Orly Taitz. The document was dated February 17, 1964, and issued by the “Republic of Kenya.” However, the country was not known by that name until December 12, 1964. It also listed an incorrect age for Obama's father. 

Obama’s brother, Malik, has made similar claims before. In 2020, he uploaded a forged birth certificate to prove that Obama was born in Kenya. There were several errors on the forged birth certificate, including a seal reading “South Australia,” as a copy of a birth certificate of Australian David Jeffrey Bomford, issued in 1959, had been used. Furthermore, as with previous false claims, the certificate states Kenya was a republic in 1961, but it was not declared so until 1964. 

The Verdict

Considering that the documents have a stamp that predates Obama's birth and that Malik Obama admitted that the passport belonged to their father, we have marked this claim as false.

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