A lot of people born in India and are seeking to migrate to the U.S. face problems with their immigration petitions because of their birth certificates. This is because, in India, the registry of births and registration of birth certificates have not been formalized countrywide and instead vary from one district to another.

As such, Indian birth certificates are often unavailable. But with this document a major requirement for U.S. immigration, it’s important that Indian applicants know what they need to do to get the right documents and are aware of their alternative options if their birth certificates are not available.

How to Determine if You Have the Right Document

The State Department website offers an online feature that can be used to find information about Indian birth certificates. In the Reciprocity Table for India, scroll down to the “Birth, Death, and Burial Certificates” section.

Here, it is indicated that the birth certificates of those born before 1970 are unavailable. Birth certificates are available for those born in 1970 and later.

Birth Certificate Requirement For Immigration

One of the requirements for U.S. immigration is an actual birth certificate. Other documents such as hospital birth certificates or an alternative document from the Indian Embassy in the U.S. are not valid.

An applicant must retrieve an actual birth certificate from the location where they were born. Applicants who are currently residing in the U.S. can ask their family members or lawyers to get their birth certificates from India.

What if a Birth Certificate is Not Available?

If a birth certificate is truly not available, there are other alternatives. An applicant can ask the registrar in charge to issue a certificate that says that their birth certificate is not available. But they would need to submit secondary evidence to prove to immigration. These can be any other formal document that shows their birthplace, legal name, and the identities of their parents.

A lawyer can be of great assistance in these situations. They can help applicants through the process of determining if they have the right documents, retrieving actual birth certificates, and navigating the alternative solutions should a birth certificate not be available.