How to Meet Green Card Birth Certificate Evidentiary Requirements
What if my Indian birth certificate is missing or issued many years after my date of birth?
When your birth certificate is missing, USCIS requests both of the following:
- Two separate affidavits from two different people who can attest they have firsthand knowledge of the birth
- Certificate of unavailability from the local recordkeeping body in the locality where the person was born.
In India, the recordkeeping body is the registrar or panchayat. Previously the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. would also issue the certificate of unavailability, but only pursuant to a Request for Evidence from USCIS.
The Department of State mentions on the reciprocity web page that the following is acceptable:
- A notarized affidavit executed by either a parent, if living, or another close relative older than the applicant. This affidavit should clearly state the relationship between the deponent and the applicant, how well the deponent knows the applicant, the date and place of the applicant’s birth, the names of both parents, and any other related facts. If the applicant has no living relatives that witnessed their birth, a self-attested affidavit detailing their knowledge of the facts of their birth may be accepted.
As noted by the Department of State, the self-attested affidavit may be accepted, but should also be supported by the additional evidence listed as acceptable for the country.
What if my Indian birth certificate has an error?
When there is an error on the birth certificate, the error can be explained as described above: with two affidavits from two separate individuals who can attest to firsthand knowledge of the birth and additional secondary evidence, such as school-leaving certificates and documents described in the next section below.
|Affidavit of Birth||Non-Availability Certificate|
General Guidelines for All Other Countries
Birth certificate availability varies by country and locality. You can check the reciprocity agreement for your country with the Department of State. Each Reciprocity Page will provide detailed information about how to obtain these civil documents from the country you have selected, as well as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you can apply for your visa. For more information about civil document requirements for immigrant visa cases, see civil documents.
If you are unable to obtain a certificate, you may need to include secondary evidence. Secondary evidence may include:
- School records, school-leaving certificate, matriculation certificates, or graduation certificates (document provided to students when they cease attending a particular school, be it public or private),
- Certificate of Recognized Boards/Exams from the school last attended by the applicant
- Insurance records
- Employment records
- Financial records (tax returns, money orders)
- Government records (passports, identification documents) or census or tribal records
- Baptismal or other certificate from a church or religious institution
- Hospital or medical (immunization) records
- A notarized affidavit executed by either a parent, if living, or another close relative older than the applicant.
- This affidavit should clearly state the relationship between the deponent and the applicant, how well the deponent knows the applicant, the date and place of the applicant’s birth, the names of both parents, and any other related facts. If the applicant has no living relatives that witnessed their birth, a self-attested affidavit detailing their knowledge of the facts of their birth may be accepted.
Certificate of Non-Availability
You may also be required to obtain a Certificate of Non-Availability. The regulations state:
Where a record does not exist, the applicant or petitioner must submit an original written statement on government letterhead establishing this from the relevant government or other authority. The statement must indicate the reason the record does not exist, and indicate whether similar records for the time and place are available.
DOCUMENT TIP: Always check with your attorneys to determine what secondary evidence is appropriate for your country. Although the Department of State guidelines may suggest multiple documents are permissible, adjudicative trends may indicate differently. An experienced attorney can advise on the strongest evidence for your case.
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