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How to Obtain Birth Certificates From Another Country

by Mary Evett

Birth certificates are necessary to prove citizenship and age at various times throughout one's life. For U.S. citizens who were born abroad, requesting a copy of a foreign birth certificate can be done relatively easily if all necessary information is included in the request. For non-U.S. citizens who were born in another country and are now living in the U.S., requesting a copy of their birth certificate may be more time-consuming, since determining where the birth certificate is located can be more difficult.

U.S. Citizens Born Abroad

Request a copy of the Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350). This document is available in multiple copies and is valid for all legal purposes, according to the U.S. Department of State. Include in the written request the full name of the child at birth, the birth date and place of birth and the full names of the child's parents.

Have the written request notarized. Sign it in front of a notary, who will then stamp and sign the document, after verifying your identity with a valid picture identification.

Include a photocopy of a valid picture identification card. Acceptable forms of identification include a state-issued driver's license or identification card, or a military ID.

Include payment before mailing all documents. A check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State in the amount of $30 must be included with the notarized written request and photocopied picture identification.

Mail the payment and all information to: Vital Records Section Passport Services 1111 19th St., NW, Suite 510 Washington, D.C. 20522-1705

Non-U.S. Citizen

Contact the U.S. embassy in the country of birth to find out where such records are located (see References). The embassy will refer you to the appropriate office to submit your request for a birth certificate. Procedures, fees and processing times may vary slightly, depending on what country has the document.

Include all vital information in a written request. Information should include the full name of the person at birth, date of birth, place of birth and the name of both parents. For the fastest turnaround time, have the document translated into the language native to the country where you are sending your request.

Include payment for the administrative fee, if applicable. Some countries may waive the fee for foreign applicants, but may require prepayment of return postage. International postal reply coupons, which are available through the U.S. Postal Service, may be included with the request.

Mail the request, payment and return postage coupons to the appropriate address.

Items you will need
  • Check or money order
  • International postal reply coupons

Tips

  • Only the person named on the birth certificate, parents or legal guardian of the person named on the document may request a birth certificate.
  • Additional copies of the DS-1350 are available for a fee of $20 each
  • Turnaround time for the DS-1350 is typically four to eight weeks.

About the Author

A mother of three and graduate of the University of Texas, Mary Evett is the online pregnancy expert who contributes to AXS.com and CBS Local. Her passion for DIY projects is showcased monthly on the craft blog, My Crafty Spot. She is the author of the blog, Just Mom Matters.

Photo Credits

  • birth marriage and death image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com