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I Don’t Have a Birth Certificate—Can I Still Apply for a Green Card?

If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, you are probably interested in getting a green card. Obtaining a green card is one of the most common ways that people can become United States citizens, as it is one of the more straightforward options available. In this article, we will be discussing the documents you need to get a green card, including whether or not you need a birth certificate.

What Documentation is Required to Get a Green Card?

Even though the process of applying for a green card is relatively straightforward, you still need to make sure you fill out this form appropriately. Even the smallest error or lack of evidence can severely delay your application or get it rejected entirely.

One of the most important factors to consider when filling out the green card application is to ensure you include all of the necessary documentation. This documentation will be used to prove that you are who you say you are.

Here is a breakdown of the evidence you need to include:

  • Two passport-style photos
  • A government-issued identity document with a photograph
  • Documentation of the immigrant category
  • Inspection and admission or inspection and parole documentation
  • A copy of your birth certificate

Keep in mind that this is the requirement for immediate relatives and does not include other forms you may need to fill out depending on your individual circumstances. An immigration lawyer can help you understand the evidence you need to include to avoid running into any issues later on.

Is a Birth Certificate Necessary When Applying For a Green Card?

It is common knowledge that you are usually required to provide a birth certificate when applying for a green card. The good news is that there are options available if you do not have a birth certificate you can provide. Certain types of evidence can be used in place of a birth certificate if you cannot get a copy or if your country does not have birth certificates.

There are many instances where you may not have a birth certificate you can provide as evidence. For example, some countries do not issue birth certificates, and the hospital or midwife who assisted in your birth may not have provided them. There are also instances where your birth certificate may have been lost or stolen.

What Makes a Birth Certificate Valid?

Even if you have a birth certificate, there are some instances where it may not be valid when you are filling out the green card application. For instance, the birth certificate requirements to get a green card include:

  • It must be an authentic legal document that was issued by an appropriate government authority in the country of your birth.
  • It has to include your full name.
  • It must include your parents’ names.
  • The birth certificate needs to state the date of your birth.
  • Your birthplace state, city, county, and country need to be included.

The USCIS will not accept any birth certificates that you have gotten from your local embassy or consulate. One way to ensure your birth certificate was issued by the appropriate government authority is if it has official seals, signatures, and additional security features.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Birth Certificate

As we mentioned above, in most situations, a birth certificate is a required piece of documentation to get a green card. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to not have a birth certificate or not have access to it. Because of this, there are other options you have available that can help you get your green card even without a birth certificate.

Something to keep in mind is that it is incredibly beneficial to have an immigration lawyer assist you with this process. They can help you evaluate your options to find the best course of action if you need to locate your birth certificate or do not have one at all.

Get a Certificate of Non-Availability

Depending on your country of birth, getting a birth certificate may not be possible. For instance, civil unrest, war, and natural disasters can all interfere with birth certificates, making them impossible to access. Some countries do not issue birth certificates at all.

If any of these instances apply to your situation, you will need to get a certificate of non-availability that you can include with your green card application. A certificate of non-availability needs to include a written statement from a civil authority on an official government letterhead. It should also establish the non-existence or the unavailability of a birth certificate, explain the reason why it is unavailable, and include if there are similar records that can be used instead.

Keep in mind that a certificate of non-availability is not enough on its own when you are applying for a green card. You will also need to provide secondary evidence that can provide evidence that would usually be available with a birth certificate.

Provide Secondary Evidence

If it is impossible to provide a birth certificate, the USCIS allows for specific birth certificate secondary evidence options that you can include. One of these options includes affidavits from individuals who have firsthand knowledge regarding your birth or family relationships. Examples of these individuals could be family friends, religious individuals, or a midwife.

Other types of evidence you could use include church records, school records, or any other kind of official document that has your birth information. Medical records can also be useful as they may include details about your birthplace or birth date.

When you are using secondary evidence, it is a good idea to include as many identification documents as you can find. The more documentation you provide, the more substantial the evidence will be for the USCIS.

Hire an Immigration Attorney Today

Are you ready to start the process of becoming a legal U.S. citizen by obtaining a green card? Contact us today at U.S. Immigration Law Counsel by filling out our online form or contacting us directly at 800-666-4996. Our immigration lawyers deal with the government, so you don’t have to!

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