A Birth Certificate is one of the most vital documents in a person’s life. You need it to get a Driver License or a Passport, just to name a few important roles, apart from Social Security and other matters. However, a Birth Certificate may also play a major role in one’s international affairs as well. For instance, a duly authenticated Birth Certificate with Apostille or Legalized by a Foreign Consulate may be requested when getting married overseas, applying for a foreign visa, or immigration, employment and investment just to name a few. Which brings us to one of the commonly asked questions: How do you apostille or legalize a Birth Certificate?
First and most import part of the process is to make sure that your document can be apostilled. Most, not all, but the predominant majority of states in the US have implemented a requirement that all Birth Certificates in order to be eligible for apostille or authenticate for foreign use must be recently issued certified copies. Colorado is one of the exceptions, and will apostille even documents issued over fifty years ago as long as they were signed by a state registrar of vital statistics. There are several other states with similar procedure; however, the prevailing practice for the Birth Certificates across the United States is for the Birth Certificates to be issued within past six (6) to twelve (12) months.
What is a Certified Copy of the Birth Certificate?
A certified copy of the birth certificate is a special procedure which is set by each state separately. In some states the vital records, i.e. birth certificates, must be issued on the state level and must contain the signature of the acting registrar of the vital statistics of that state, while other states do this on a county level. As always, there are several exceptions to the general practice. For example, in New York, birth certificates for the individuals born outside the five boroughs of Manhattan may be obtained on a local level as the certified copies, while the New York City birth Certificates must be issued by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and must be accompanies by a letter of exemplification. Additional information on NYC Birth Certificates is available in our previous post here.
Some states may go as far as requiring all certified copies of birth certificates to bear the life or “pen-in-hand” signature of the official as well as the embossed seal of the agency which issued the document.
How do I know if the copy of my Birth Certificate is a certified one?
You may other compare your document to the specific requirements set by your state when it comes to getting birth certificates apostilled, as they usually provide information about certified copies. Alternatively, you may scan and e-mail the copy of your document to Apostille Team and our specialist will let you know if the document is acceptable. Apostille e-mail address may be found here.
Also, you may always have someone else obtain the certified copy of your birth certificate. Although it is a private record, with proper applications and authorizations, third parties are allowed to obtain certified copies of birth certificates from many US States. If this is an option that you might want to consider you may find more information and assistance with getting a birth certificate here.
Now that I have the Certified Copy of the Birth Certificate how to I get it apostilled?
It depends on several factors, including your desire to do it yourself or hire a service agency. To get an apostille yourself you will have to contact your state government and comply to their requirements for the aforesaid procedure. We also have a separate post dedicated to getting documents apostille here, which may be useful.
If you would like a professional services agency to obtain an apostille for you may do so here.