What Exact Documents Do I Need for my Immigration Application?

When preparing the supporting documents for your immigration application, you may find yourself wondering if the official documents you have are the exact ones that USCIS or the NVC is looking for. Immigration officials can be strict about official documents – they want to ensure that they are reviewing your official, genuine birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other important records in order to approve your application.

Many countries have two or more versions of a birth certificate or birth registration. Some countries have a marriagecertificatethat is different from a marriagelicense. Or, you might not be sure what exactly the NVC means when they say they need a “police certificate” from your home country. These technicalities can become very confusing, and a general Google search may not come up with clear results, since each country has its own complications when it comes to official documents. Luckily, though, there is one central resource you should always turn to for clear instructions on what exactly you need.

The U.S. Department of State’s website has a section called “Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country.” In this section, you can select your country, and view detailed descriptions of what the official documents from that country will look like. You can then review your documents closely to ensure that you have the exact document they are asking for. Sometimes, they may list various “alternate documents,” meaning the U.S. immigration officials will accept various different versions of the document. Other times, it is clear that only one version of the document is accepted.

These details are generally available for the following types of documents:

  • Birth certificates
  • Death/burial certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Adoption certificates
  • Identity cards
  • Police certificates
  • Court and prison records
  • Military records
  • Passports and other travel documents

This section also usually includes instructions for how to request documents that you don’t have a copy of, oftentimes including direct links to the websites where you can make such requests. Or, if a document is generally unavailable for all citizens of your country, this website will usually confirm that to be true and offer alternative evidence to provide.

On this webpage, you can find other country-specific information that may be useful to you as you are navigating the immigration process, especially if you are going through consular processing as part of your application process. We hope you find this information useful, and if you need further guidance on the evidence required for your application, we encourage you to contact us for assistance.


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