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rover1234

Birth Certificate issue

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My parents paid fees and submitted civil documents to NVC. We got an email from NVC attorney who sent us a letter of informing a missing or incorrect document. They told us that they could not accept my mother's BC because it was not a correct document and requested us to send a photocopy of the correct BC issued by the appropriate authority. They also guided us to a website to check out the Reciprocity page of a specific country.

 

Here is a little background of my mother. She is Vietnamese, but she was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At that time, she got an extract of the birth register in 1958 (I think this is why NVC delays us here since this is "extract" and the document may not be correct according to the guideline on Reciprocity page) and still keeps it. It is clear to us that we need somehow get the original BC from where she was born, so we plan to go to the Cambodia Consulate in Vietnam to talk about this. However, I am afraid that they may not issue her an original one since it was a long time ago and they may not have her record anymore.

 

Is there anyone here having experience with this? What should we do to help her clear this situation? In advance, we strongly appreciate your input.

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Yeah, this is a bad situation. Since the Khmer Rouge wiped out the records, there's not a lot of choices for you. My VN wife says if you don't get anything from the Cambodian consulate, perhaps try going to your province in Vietnam. It may take some coffee money (bribes), but it can be done. The Americans know of this issue - it's not uncommon. Try to find as many family records (on your mom's side) that you can, especially if they are Vietnamese records. Get as much as you can and then ask the American consulate in Saigon about the matter. My wife's BC was pretty bad, but it was accepted. This is life in SE Asia - the Americans know it. Keep trying - you'll get there.

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Can you get a document that certifies the lack of birth certificate?  If the birth certificate is not available, then you can provide a certificate stating something to this effect.  This is common for places where birth records are not available.  Affidavits from relatives may help as well.  

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@WandY : Thank you for the suggestion. We will keep it in mind. We actually found an original BC of my mother (looks crappy and torn since the paper is very old and low-quality, but at least we have it). However, according to the Reciprocity page from Cambodia,  old document is invalid and is required to be converted to a new format. We again came to the Cambodian Consulate to talk about that and they told us better go to Cambodia to solve the problem. Luckily, I have a friend in Phnom Penh who knows some people working in his district local authority. He came there to ask if they could convert my mother's BC to a new format and they agreed to do it (of course with tea money to expedite the process). However, the place issued my mother's original BC was in a different district, so I don't know if the place issuing BC should be the same district or not. Therefore, to avoid any possible problem (like RFE), he will come to that district authority to ask about that. If they don't help, we may go with his district. In the worst case, if BC won't work out, I may try your suggestion., and we will try to find as much record as we can. Please give my thank to your wife, too. Her advice and experience are really great for us.

My father's BC was pretty bad as well since it was a long time ago, but NVC had no problem with it. Vietnam BC may not need to follow a specific format as long as the content may not be suspicious and is sealed by the right authority officer. It seems to be easier than Cambodia.

 

@pm5k : I asked NVC about that and they also told me to do like what you said either. Of course, if everything else like what I said above doesn't work out, we will try to get the non-availability certificate of birth from the authority at least. However, it may be hard for my mother since she doesn't have much secondary evidence. For example, the affidavits from relatives may not help much since my grandparents passed away a few years ago, and my mother is the oldest in the family so my aunts and uncles may not help much. Some of her records were also lost. We are also trying to gather as much as secondary evidence in case we will need it when BC won't work out (hope not). Anyway, thank you for your suggestion.

Edited by rover1234

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