How to Get Birth Certificate that Meeting USCIS Requirements?

Updated on 10/17/2023

There are many USCIS applications or petitions that requiring a copy of birth certificate.  For example, if you wish to apply for green card (U.S. lawful permanent residence) for your child, parents, or sibling, you must submit a copy of birth certificate to prove the existence of eligible relative relationship. Actually, any foreign national who applies for green card is obligated to provide a copy of birth certificate in different application stage. For U.S. citizens born in the United States who would like to petition green card for their beloved, a copy of birth certificate alone is sufficient evidence to prove their U.S. citizenship.

Yet many people do not have an original or certified copy of their birth certificate in their possession. Some people even have never been issued a birth certificate at all. After all, how to get birth certificate that meeting USCIS requirements? Actually, the answer depends on where you were born.

At, we may help you prepare many types of applications, like I-485 adjustment of status to apply for green card, I-130 immigrant petition for spouse, parent, child, or sibling, I-129F petition/K-1 visa for fiancé(e), and more. All you need to do is just answer a few simple questions online and upload supporting documents to our platform. Then we take care of the rest.

1. How to get birth certificate if you were born in the U.S.?

Generally, persons who were born in an American hospital received their U.S. birth certificate when their mother completed the paperwork while recovering from childbirth at the medical facility. Those whose parents chose homebirth likely completed certificate of live birth forms. This paperwork was likely sent to their state’s department of vital statistics or other  certificate of birth issuing authority after being certified by a doctor or other medical professional.

If you lost your original certificate of birth, you may get a certified copy of your certificate of birth. Because a certificate of birth is one of vital records, what you need to do is just contact the office of vital records in the state where you were born. You may locate each office through the website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), older Americans may have more difficulty obtaining a certified copy of their birth certificate. This is because it was not until 1946 that the national responsibility for maintaining birth records moved from the U.S. Census Bureau to what is now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2. How to get certificate of birth for Americans who were born abroad?

A United States citizen who was born in a foreign country may not have a U.S. certificate of birth . Instead they might have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), which is also called an FS-240. When babies are born outside the United States to U.S. citizens, their parents are urged to report the birth to the nearest American embassy or consulate, so that the infant is awarded U.S. citizenship or nationality at birth.

If an American who was born abroad later needs a certified copy or replacement of their CRBA/FS-240 to prove their citizenship to USCIS, they can contact the U.S. Department of State.

3. How to get birth certificate for foreigners?

There are more than 195 countries and regions in the world. Each country or region has its own civil registration rules which could be completely different from the ones in the United States. You might well be confused what format of birth certificate for certain country or region meets the requirements of USCIS.

Fortunately, the Department of State has collected and organized all the civil documents information by each country and region. You may click the country or region name in the left column of the U.S. Department of State’s Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country page. It clearly tells people the document format, issuing authority, fees, and other information for each type of civil document in such country or region, including birth certificate. As long as you have an original or certified copy of birth certificate (even if it is not called as “birth certificate” in certain country or region) according to this page, such document should be considered as sufficient evidence as a birth certificate in any USCIS application or petition.

If the certificate of birth is not in English, you must submit its original language copy and its certified English translation. A certification by translator shall be attached to the translation.

4. What if birth certificate is not available?

If a copy of birth certificate is not available to you upon exhausted efforts, USCIS allows you to submit 1) a notarized personal affidavit (written explanation) in which you fully describe the facts of your birth and the reason you’re unable to get a certified copy of the document; and 2) at least one of secondary evidence. Such secondary evidence including:

If your certificate of birth was issued abroad, make sure to also check the appropriate country’s guidelines through the U.S. Department of State’s Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country page for specific types of acceptable secondary evidence.

When none of the above forms of secondary evidence is available, you must submit a notarized personal affidavit from either parent who is living or a close relative who is older than you. In the affidavit, they must attest to having personal knowledge of your birth in detail.

If you are still not sure what documents to adequately substitute a birth certificate, you’d better consult an immigration attorney to help you out.

5. How can assist you?

At, you can always free check eligibility without providing any personal information to make sure you are eligible to file an USCIS application or petition.

Moreover, whether you are still in the process of gathering your documents, or are ready to complete your forms, is available to offer assistance and answers to your questions.

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