Court Records

Foreign or High-Sea Births and Deaths,
Certificates of Citizenship

Birth Records of Persons Born in Foreign Countries who are U.S. Citizens at Birth

Births of U. S. citizens in foreign countries should be reported to the nearest American consular office as soon after the birth as possible on the Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240). This report should be prepared and filed by one of the parents. However, the physician or midwife attending the birth or any other person having knowledge of the facts may prepare the report.

Documentary evidence is required to establish citizenship. Consular offices provide complete information on what evidence is needed. The Consular Report of Birth is a sworn statement of facts of birth. When approved, it establishes in documentary form the child's acquisition of U. S. citizenship. It has the same value as proof of citizenship as the Certificate of Citizenship issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A $13.00 fee is charged for reporting the birth. The original document is filed in Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, U. S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20524. The parents are given a certified copy of the Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240) and a short form, Certification of Birth (Form DS-1350 or Form FS-545).

To obtain a copy of a report of the birth in a foreign country of a U. S. citizen, write to Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, U. S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20524. State the full name of the child at birth, date of birth, place of birth, and names of parents. Also include any information about the U. S. passport on which the child's name was first included. Sign the request and state the relationship to the person whose record is being requested and the reason for the request.

The fee for each copy is $4.00. Enclose a check or money order made payable to the U. S. Department of State. Fee may be subject to change.

The Department of State issues two types of copies from the Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240):

  1. A full copy of Form FS-240 as it was filed.
  2. A short form, Certification of Birth (Form DS-1350), which shows only the name and sex of child, the date and place of birth, and date of recording.

The information on both forms is valid. The Certification of Birth may be obtained in a name subsequently acquired by adoption or legitimation after proof is submitted to establish that such an action legally took place.

Birth Records of Alien Children Adopted by U. S. Citizens

Birth certifications for alien children adopted by U. S. citizens and lawfully admitted to the United States may be obtained from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) if the birth information is on file.

Certification may be issued for children under 21 years of age who were born in a foreign country. Requests must be submitted on INS Form G-641, which can be obtained from any INS office. (Address can be found in a telephone directory.) For Certification of Birth Data (INS Form G-350), a $15.00 search fee, paid by check or money order, should accompany INS Form G-641.

Certification can be issued in the new name of an adopted or legitimated child after proof of an adoption or legitimation is submitted to INS. Because it may be issued for a child who has not yet become a U. S. citizen, this certification (Form G-350) is not proof of U. S. nationality.

Certificate of Citizenship

U. S. citizens who were born abroad and later naturalized or who were born in a foreign country to a U. S. citizen (parent or parents) may apply for a certificate of citizenship pursuant to the provisions of Section 341 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Application can be made for this document in the United States at the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS will issue a certification of citizenship for the person if proof of citizenship is submitted and the person is within the United States. The decision whether to apply for a certificate of citizenship is optional; its possession is not mandatory because a valid U. S. passport or a Form FS-240 has the same evidentiary status.

Death Records of U. S. Citizens Who Die in Foreign Countries

The death of a U. S. citizen in a foreign country is normally reported to the nearest U. S. consular office. The consul prepares the official "Report of the Death of an American Citizen Abroad" (Form OF-180), and a copy of the Report of Death is filed permanently in the U. S. Department of State (see exceptions below).

To obtain a copy of a report, write to Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, U. S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20524. The fee for a copy is $4.00. Fee may be subject to change.

Reports of Deaths of Members of the Armed Forces
of the United States are made only to the branch of the service to which the person was attached at the time of death- Army, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard. In these cases, requests for copies of records should be directed as follows.

For members of the Army:
Commander USTAPA
Attention: TAPC-PED
Alexandria, VA 22331-0482
For members of the Navy (Active Duty and Civilian Employees):
Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Code 3134
23rd and E Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20372
For members of the Air Force:
Tyndall AFB, FL 32403-6001
For members of the Marine Corps:
HQ Marine Corps
Line 3 MSPA-1
Washington, DC 20380
For members of the Coast Guard:
Commandant GPE
U. S. Coast Guard Headquarters
2100 2nd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593
For Civilian Employees of DOD (Except for Navy):
National Personnel Records Center
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO 63118

Record of Birth and Death Occurring on Vessels or Aircraft on the High Seas

When a birth or death occurs on the high seas, whether in an aircraft or on a vessel, the determination of where the record is filed is decided by the direction in which the vessel or aircraft was headed at the time the event occurred.

  1. If the vessel or aircraft was outbound or docked or landed at a foreign port, requests for copies of the record should be made to the U. S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520.
  2. If the vessel or aircraft was inbound and the first port of entry was in the United States, write to the registration authority in the city where the vessel or aircraft docked or landed in the United States.
  3. If the vessel was of U. S. registry, contact the U. S. Coast Guard facility at the port of entry.

Records Maintained by Foreign Countries

Most, but not all, foreign countries record births and deaths. It is not feasible to list in this publication all foreign vital records offices, the charges they make for copies of records, or the information they may require to locate a record. However, most foreign countries will provide certifications of births and deaths occurring within their boundaries.

U. S. citizens who need a copy of a foreign birth or death record may obtain assistance
by writing to:

The Office of Overseas Citizens Services
U. S. Department of State
Washington 20520.

Aliens residing in the United States who seek records of these events should contact their nearest consular office.