Required Documentation Civil Documents
Civil Documents also called Civil Records or Vital Records, are documents like a Birth Certificate, a Marriage Certificate, a Death Certificate, a Divorce Decree, a Certificate of Annulment, a Custody Agreement, an Adoption Certificate.
An original Civil Document must be issued by the proper authority. It must bear an original signature and the stamp and/or seal of the issuing officer or registrar.
Most original Civil Documents/Vital Records are in fact Certified Copies. The Original Record remains in the place where the notice was given regarding birth, marriage, divorce, death, and the event was officially recorded.
Your name or the name of your spouse/your child on a Civil Document must be exactly the same as it appears in your/your spouse’s/the child’s passport.
If you or your spouse/your child has a name now that is different from the name on a Civil Document you must include the Legal Record that caused the Name Change. Reason for a name change can be adoption, marriage, or an official change of name e.g. by deed poll.
Check that a Date of Birth is given correctly and matches the date on the Birth Certificate – or other permitted Proof of Birth – and also matches the date as it appears in the Passport.
You proof your marriage by submitting a Marriage Certificate or a certified copy of this document. In some countries couples first need to obtain a Marriage License to be able to marry. This license can NOT be used as substitute for the certificate.
If you immigrate as a couple or a family, bring for each spouse a copy of the Marriage Certificate or of the certified copy of this document. Do not ‘share’ documents.
If you are unable to obtain a Civil Document check the web pages of the Embassy or Consulate for information regarding possible substitutes. Otherwise contact the KCC.
For instructions to request a Civil Document or Vital Record:
- go to travel.state.gov and enter Reciprocity in the search field at the top of the page.
- on the next page click the link Reciprocity by Country.
- on the next page use the box with the Go button.
Enter the name of the country or area you need the document from.
(Do not worry about the ‘reciprocity fees’ mentioned as these do not apply to you.)
- on the next page you will be given buttons with a selection of choices.
(Do NOT use the option ‘Select a Classification’).
The reciprocity information given can be incorrect or incomplete. In that case contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Clicking on the Visa Issuing Posts button will give the address information.
If you were married more than once you must submit the final divorce decree and/or certificate of annulment and/or death certificate of prior spouse for EACH marriage.
Do not underestimate the time it can take to obtain these documents especially if they must be ordered in another part of your country or from another country.
You can order a Civil Document or Vital Record through a company that specializes in providing these documents. The company should be government authorized. Check beforehand how much the company charges for its services on top of the costs for the document(s).
If a civil document is unavailable by the rules of the country where the event happened you do not need to submit it. If you cannot obtain it for another reason you must submit a written explanation. Sign and date this letter.