How to find your Birth time U.S. Citizens Born in Foreign Countries

NOTE: Information below is current as of January 19, 2017. For the most current information, visit the CDC page for vital records.

Birth records of persons born in foreign countries who are U.S. citizens

The birth of a child abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) should be reported to the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy as soon after the birth as possible. A $100.00 fee is charged for reporting the birth at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. See Department of State link for more information.

The application must be supported by evidence to establish the child's U.S. citizenship. Usually, the following documents are needed:

  1. The child's birth certificate;
  2. Evidence of the U.S. citizenship of the parent(s) such as a certified copy of a birth certificate, U.S. passport, or Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship;
  3. Evidence of the parents' marriage, if applicable; and
  4. Affidavit(s) of the physical presence of the parent(s) in the United States.

Each document should be certified as a true copy of the original by the registrar of the office that issued the document. Other documents may be needed in some cases. Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for details on what evidence is needed.

When the application is approved, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (Form FS-240) is given to the applicant. This document, known as the Consular Report of Birth, has the same value as proof of citizenship as the Certificate of Citizenship issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A Consular Report of Birth can be prepared only at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, and only if the person who is the subject of the report is under 18 years of age when the application is made. A person residing abroad who is now 18 years of age or over, and whose claim to U.S. citizenship has never been documented, should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance in registering as a U.S. citizen.

The Department began issuing a new consular Report of Birth on January 3, 2011. You may request multiple copies of this document at any time. As of December 31, 2010 the Certificate of Report of Birth Abroad (DS-1350) is no longer issued. All previously issued FS-240 and DS-1350 documents are still valid for proof of identity, citizenship and other legal purposes.

The Consular Report of Birth documents are issued only to the subject of the Consular Report of Birth, the subject's parents (if subject is under age 18) or legal guardian. Effective September 1, 2003 all requests must be notarized and include a copy of the requester's valid photo identification.

To request a replacement FS-240, write to:

Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Please include the following items:

  1. The full name of the child at birth (and any adoptive name);
  2. The date and place of birth;
  3. The names of the parents;
  4. The serial number of the FS-240 (if the FS-240 was issued after November 1, 1990);
  5. Any available passport information;
  6. The signature of the requestor and the requestor's relationship to the subject. If subject is 18 years or older, they must provide a written statement authorizing a third party to act on their behalf.
  7. A check or money order for $50.00 for the FS-240 made payable to the U.S. Department of State. Do Not Send Cash; and
  8. To obtain a Consular Report of Birth in a new name, send a written request and fees as noted above, the original (or replacement) Consular Report of Birth, or if not available, a notarized affidavit about its whereabouts. Also, send a certified copy of the court order or final adoption decree which identifies the child and shows the change of name with the request. If the name has been changed informally, submit public records and affidavits that show the change of name.

To obtain an amended Consular Report of Birth in a new name, send a written request and fees as noted above, the original (or replacement) Consular Report of Birth, or if not available, a notarized affidavit about its whereabouts. Also, send a certified copy of the court order or final adoption decree which identifies the child and shows the change of name with the request. If the name has been changed informally, submit public records and affidavits that show the change of name.

Please click here for more information regarding the above mentioned.

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. (Address can be found in a telephone directory.) To obtain the birth data, it is necessary to provide the Immigration Office with proof of adoption or legitimation.

Records 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 record is usually filed at the next port of call.

  1. If the vessel or aircraft docked or landed at a foreign port, requests for copies of the record may be made to the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20036.
  2. If 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 local authorities at the port of entry and/or search the vessel logs at the U.S. Coast Guard Facility at the vessel's final port of call for that voyage.

Records maintained by foreign countries

Most, but not all, foreign countries record births and deaths. It is not possible 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.

Persons who need a copy of a foreign birth or death record should contact the Embassy or the nearest Consulate in the U.S. of the country in which the death occurred. Addresses and telephone numbers for these offices are listed in the U.S. Department of State Publication 7846, Foreign Consular Offices in the United States, which is available in many local libraries. Copies of this publication may also be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.

If the Embassy or Consulate is unable to provide assistance, U.S. citizens may obtain assistance by writing to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818. Aliens residing in the United States may be able to obtain assistance through the Embassy or Consulate of their country of nationality.

Records of birth, death, and marriage in the Panama Canal Zone for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals

From 1904 until 1979, the Canal Zone Government registered all civil acts of birth, death, and marriage in the Canal Zone for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Since 1979, the Panama Canal Commission has issued certified copies of these documents in response to requests from the public. On December 31, 1999, the Panama Canal Commission ceased to exist . On December 1, 1999, those records were transferred to Passport Services in the U.S. Department of State, which will provide the certification service just as it does for similar records issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.

To request copies of Canal Zone Birth and Death Records, write to:

Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

To request copies of Canal Zone Marriage Records, write to:

Civilian Records (NWCTC)
Textual Archives Services Division
8601 Adelphi Road
National Archives
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Please include the following items for birth, death, or marriage:

  1. The full name of subject at the time of event;
  2. Month, day and year of event;
  3. Place of event (city and country);
  4. Parents' names, date and place of birth, and nationality for birth record;
  5. Any available U.S. passport information;
  6. Signature of the requestor, parent or guardian, or legal representative;
  7. Requestor address and telephone number;
  8. A check or money order for $50.00 for each copy made payable to U.S. Department of State. Remittance must be payable in U.S. dollars through a U.S. bank. Do not send cash.