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International Travel Records

  I'm traveling outside of the country and my travel agent tells me I need a birth certificate with a raised seal? Top of Page

Some workers in the travel industry mistakenly believe a certified birth record must have a "raised seal." Certified copies of records issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records are now embossed with the state and department seals in the lower right and left hand corners. The texture of the embossed seals can be felt when running your fingers over them. All types of certified birth records issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records are legally acceptable. Of these types, the certified copy or "long form" is the most readily recognizable birth record. Click here for information on obtaining a certified birth record.

  What type of birth record do I need to get a passport? Top of Page

As part of the passport application process, you must present proof of citizenship. One item accepted as proof of citizenship is a certified birth record issued by the local registrar, county or state, if the record was filed within one year of your birth. All types of certified birth records issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records are acceptable as proof of citizenship. Of these types, the certified copy or "long form" is the most readily recognizable birth record. NOTE: If the record is to be used for passport purposes, the passport office requires all birth certificates submitted to contain the parent information, the $15 certified copy.

According to the U.S. State Department, a delayed birth certificate filed more than one year after your birth may be acceptable if it:

  • Lists the documentation used to create it; and
  • Is signed by the attending physician or midwife, or lists an affidavit signed by the parents, or shows early public records.

For more information on where and how to apply for a passport, you can go to the Passport Services and Information page on the State Department Web site.

  I need a passport in a hurry. How can I get the required birth record quickly? Top of Page

Expedited processing of a birth record is available; click here for information on expedited processing.

  Can I use a birth certificate instead of a passport when I go on a cruise? Top of Page

No. To ensure a hassle free trip, you should contact your travel agent or cruise line to verify what documentation you will need to bring.

  You tell me that I do not have a birth record on file.
Should I apply for a delayed record in order to get my passport?
Top of Page

A newly created delayed record would not be accepted by the U.S. State Department for passport purposes. The State Department does accept other forms of evidence of your birth. For more information on what evidence the State Department requires, you may want to visit its Web site.

Part of the information you must present to the U.S. State Department is a "letter of no record" from the county clerk in the county where the birth occurred or from IDPH, Division of Vital Records. You probably already received this letter when you learned that no record existed after requesting a copy of your birth certificate. If not and you had requested your record through IDPH, Division of Vital Records, you may contact this office at dph.vitalrec@illinois.gov and request the letter of no record.

  Are there other Web sites of interest in preparing for out-of-country travel? Top of Page

As you prepare, you may want to check out health information on the region to which you plan to travel on the National Center for Infectious Diseases Traveler's Health page on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site. The U.S. State Department also has a very helpful Travel page on its Web site.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

LINKS

Travel page, U.S. State Department
Passport Services and Information, U.S. State Department
Foreign Entry Requirements Publication, U.S. State Department
Travel Publications, U.S. State Department
National Center for Infectious Diseases Traveler's Health Page, CDC

 
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