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What Documentation Can I Use if a Birth Certificate is Not Available?

When applying to immigrate to the United States, one of the most vital documents you’ll need is your birth certificate. However, you may not always have access to this document. This is especially true for individuals from countries that lack solid documentation practices; birth certificates simply go missing!

What, in this case, is an immigrant to do? Luckily, even when missing such an important piece of documentation, there are solutions.

USCIS Guidelines For Missing Birth Certificates

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) understands that not all immigrants have access to their birth certificate, and have guidelines in place when this occurs. These guidelines require immigrants to jump through some extra hoops, so read them carefully!  A potential immigrant missing his or her birth certificate must provide all of the following:

  1. Available secondary evidence of birth.
    • Examples include school or even church records.
  2. A notarized letter explaining the efforts they undertook to obtain the above records. Also, they must explain how much effort was placed in finding their birth certificate.
  3. (if possible) A letter from the appropriate government authority confirming the birth certificate does not exist or is unavailable.
  4. Two notarized affidavits from parents or other close relatives explaining their relationship to the immigrant. Any other information is useful, like date and place of birth and names of parents. These letters should also repeat the reason why the birth certificate was not provided.

Fulfilling these requirements successfully means the applicant shouldn’t have to worry about their missing birth certificate.