Travel.State.Gov > Replace or Certify Documents > Requesting a Life Event Record as a U.S. Citizen > Frequently Asked Questions about Life Event Records
No. Due to the unique nature of our records, we cannot provide expedited service. The Vital Records Office does not create new records. We can only provide official copies of records that are on file with the U.S. Department of State which include:
Yes. We regularly change our processing times as demand for vital records varies throughout the year. From late winter into summer, demand for vital records is generally higher than other periods of the year. We encourage you to plan ahead and apply during our traditionally slower season in the late fall and early winter when processing times are generally faster.
We anticipate making additional changes to our processing times throughout the year. We will post updates on our site when we change our processing times.
Our processing times are a range, and you may receive your vital record on a different date than your family member or friend who sent a request on the same date as you.
No. Due to Privacy Act requirements, the Vital Records Office can only issue physical records after receiving:
No. Due to Privacy Act requirements, the Vital Records Office can only issue physical records.
All requests are delivered to our mailing facility in Sterling, VA. At the mailing facility, the requests are scanned and go through security screening before being sent to our office in Washington, D.C. This process can take up to 4 weeks.
No. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad can only be reported at a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate overseas.
Yes. Currently, the birth of a U.S. citizen overseas must be reported to a U.S embassy or U.S. consulate before the child turns age 18. Prior to November 1990, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad must have been issued by a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate before the child turns age 5.
No. A Consular Report of Death Abroad can only be created overseas at a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in the country the citizen died.
No. People born in the former Panama Canal Zone did not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. A Panama Canal Zone birth certificate can be submitted to apply for a U.S. passport. In addition to a Panama Canal Zone birth certificate, an applicant will also need to submit evidence of their parents U.S. citizenship (ex. birth certificate from a U.S. state or territory, U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, etc.) to fully document their claim to U.S. citizenship.
Yes. We suggest that you always maintain a fully-valid U.S. passport as proof of your citizenship and identity.
No. If you were born in a U.S. territory, you must contact the vital records office in your U.S. territory to obtain your birth certificate.
No. While the U.S. military base may be controlled by the U.S. military via agreement with the host country, the land remains the sovereign territory of the host country.
No. A U.S. military base overseas is not considered U.S. territory. Your claim to U.S. citizenship must be documented in the same way as any other U.S. citizen born overseas. If you are outside the United States, you need to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or a U.S. passport at a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate. Inside the United States, you need to apply for a U.S. passport or a Certificate of Citizenship from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
No. Consular Reports of Birth Abroad can only be issued to U.S. citizens (or U.S. nationals) who acquired their status at birth, via documented relationship to U.S. citizen (or U.S. national) parents.
No. Consular Reports of Birth Abroad can only be issued to U.S. citizens who acquired their status at birth, via documented relationship to U.S. citizen parents.
No. Consular Reports of Death Abroad can only be issued for U.S. citizens (or U.S. nationals) who passed away overseas.
Yes. Consular Reports of Birth Abroad can be issued to U.S. nationals who acquired their status at birth, via documented relationship to U.S. national parents.