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Applying for a US birth certificate

Rebecca Mordechay
Rebecca Mordechay

Anyone American-born who seeks to immigrate to Israel or any other country is required to present a US birth certificate proving their place of birth in order to obtain the desired service.

Our legal offices specialize in, among other services, apostille stamps and notarized translations of documents from abroad for clients who are going through immigration procedures, as well as other clients. In this article we will explain how to obtain a birth certificate from the US and the conditions for obtaining it from the state where the applicant was born.

US birth certificate

What is an American birth certificate?

An American birth certificate shows that the bearer was born within the borders of the United States. This is proof of eligibility for American citizenship (if for some reason the person did not receive citizenship automatically), of the connection to the person’s parents, and of his or her identity.

Unlike issuing an Israeli passport, which involves a simple application to the Population Registry in the Interior Ministry, applying for an American birth certificate is a relatively complicated process, since each American state holds these certificates for residents born within that state.

In fact, there is no federal authority that holds these certificates from all the various states, so it is not possible to issue a birth certificate at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Who needs an original copy of an American birth certificate?

An American birth certificate serves many functions:

US citizens need an original American birth certificate when renewing an American passport, if they do not possess the old passport, or when issuing an SSN (a number for the US national insurance system) or when obtaining American citizenship if they do not have an American passport. Note that in all these processes, you must have an original birth certificate issued in the state of birth.

Every immigration process for US citizens (whether in the present or the past, even if they renounced their American citizenship), including the aliya process, requires presenting an original birth certificate, including an apostille, and its translation if the destination country does not accept documents in English.

How do you apply for an American birth certificate?

To apply for a birth certificate, you must have the details of the newborn and the parents as they were recorded at the time of the birth in the hospital, the date of birth, the name of the hospital and the district in which it is located. It is advisable to copy the details from an old birth certificate in your possession or, if you do not have such a certificate, you should be careful to record the details precisely as they appear in the American registry. An error in one letter is likely to lead to rejection of the application.

The applicant should enter the federal website of the American National Center for Health Statistics at this link and select the state where he or she was born on the interactive map that appears.

Next, the applicant must click the choice among four possibilities: marriage license, divorce certificate, death certificate or birth certificate. For each one of these options the amount of the fee will appear, as well as an explanation on how to submit the application, with each state having different requirements of the applicant.

After submitting the application, the applicant must undergo an identity verification process. Identity verification is done in one of two ways, according to the decision of the target state:

Option 1 – Self-verification of identity: the applicant must sign a document affirming his or her details, together with a form of identification such a passport or some American identity card.

Option 2 – Verification via a notary public: a document signed by a notary public in which the applicant’s identifying details appear.

Using the certificate in Israel and abroad

For the document you have issued to be recognized as an official document, it must bear an apostille stamp which constitutes certification that the presented document was an original issued from the relevant authority. In our case, the authority is the United States and the apostille stamp indicates that it is a certified copy of a document originally issued in the U.S.

Often there is a need to translate the certificate from English to the language of the country where the birth certificate is to be presented, whether it is Hebrew or any other language. We’ll be happy to help you with this.

Our offices handle the application process with the U.S. authorities, as well as the apostille stamp that must be presented to the relevant authority.

Contact our experts:

If you want to apply for an American birth certificate or you need apostille services, contact our legal offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to get assistance and legal information.

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