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Travel Advisory

Obtaining Vital Records from the U.S.

The Consulate keeps no permanent files of the different documents we issue, such as a Consular Report of Birth, or documents dealing with the death of an American in Hong Kong. These records are instead filed in Washington. We also do not keep any files of Hong Kong civil documents, such as records of marriages and divorces in Hong Kong. These records are held by the Hong Kong government. Other records, such as birth certificates for people born in the U.S., are stored in the state of origin.

This page is designed to help you locate the vital record documents you need. Jump ahead to information on obtaining vital documents from ...

Hong Kong government records cannot be obtained through the Consulate. Try searching Google or another popular search engine under the topic "Hong Kong Government Records" or "Hong Kong Marriage Records" for some possible sources.

Documents that Must Be Ordered from the Department of State in Washington

Consular Report of Birth Abroad
A document issued by an American embassy or consulate reflecting the facts of a birth abroad of a child acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth through one or both parents. This record, also known as an FS-240, along with the Certification of Birth, DS-1350, are acceptable as proof of birth and U.S. citizenship for all legal purposes.

Report of the Death of an American Citizen
A document issued by an American embassy or consulate reflecting the facts of a death abroad of an American citizen. The document is based upon the local death certificate.

Certificate of Witness to Marriage
A document issued by an American embassy or consulate reflecting the facts of a marriage abroad in which at least one party is an American Citizen. A consular officer must have attended the ceremony. This accommodation was discontinued in 1985.

Requesting Records
See While Abroad to learn more about requesting one of these documents from the Department of State.

Requests for Reports of Birth (FS-240 & DS-1350), Death (OF-180), Certificates of Witness to Marriage, and Panama Canal Zone birth and death certificates must be notarized, and the request must include a copy of a valid photo identification of the requester (driver's license, passport, etc.)

This notarial can be done at no charge at the Consulate. This service is done by appointment only; make an appointment online.

Documents that Must Be Obtained from a U.S. State

Vital Records are documents such as birth, death or marriage certificates. In the U.S., such records are usually held by state, county or city governments, depending on location. Here is some information to assist you in obtaining copies of such records.

See Where to Write for Vital Records for an on-line source of more information about obtaining vital records in the U.S., such as birth certificates.

There are also private, on-line services that will help you obtain records for a fee. These services are not connected with any government agency and while we cannot endorse any such private service, many Americans in a hurry to obtain documents have found them helpful.

One such service is VitalChek (800-255-2414), which allows you to request birth, death, and marriage certifications online, by phone, or by fax.

Another service called U.S Birth can help you obtain or amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, in addition to obtaining a birth certificate. You must have a physical street address to use this service (no PO Boxes).

Police Clearances/Criminal Records Checks

These checks cannot be obtained from the Consulate. Instead, please see below for more information.


Last modified: February 12, 2014

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