When you’re at the National Visa Center phase of your case and you’re preparing documents to upload into the CEAC portal, you probably have already logged into your CEAC portal and can see all of those required documents. Part of that document list includes an original marriage certificate and an original birth certificate.
National Visa Center Reciprocity Table
The National Visa Center reciprocity table will tell you exactly what the original document should look like and what information it should have. It has a list of all the countries and it will tell you based on that particular country what that original document is, the contents needed, how it should look, and the color of the seal.
It’s a very detailed chart so you can make sure you have the correct civil documents.
Are Original Documents Same as Certified Documents?
Your original document is the birth certificate that you received when you were born or when you were married. But sometimes, you might lose those documents or those documents could be damaged. If that happens, there’s a way to order a certified copy which is also considered an original.
It’s not technically original because it’s not what you received when you were born or when you got married but it constitutes as an original copy for the National Visa Center requirements. That National Visa Center reciprocity table also has information about how you can obtain a certified version of that same document if you don’t have the original one.
Documents from the United States
There could be documents too that you need from the United States. If that happens to be the case and it probably will, there’ll be documents you’ll need from other countries and from the United States. It’s good to know that in the United States there are many different states with different courts. Each court, clerk’s office, and vital records office has its own process.
For example in a divorce, you received a certified divorce decree at the time that the divorce was finalized. That document can be considered the original or you might need to order a certified version. It will depend on that clerk’s office or that court as to what would constitute a certified version or an original version.
Some courts in the United States will put a seal on it, either an ink seal or a raised seal that shows that it’s a certified document or an original. Other clerk’s offices have a streamlined process where you can order the records online and they will provide you with a certified version electronically. If that is their process and that is what they consider a certified record, then that would work as well for an original document.
It’ll really depend on the state in the country and it’s just a matter of either using that National Visa Center reciprocity table to make sure you have the right version or checking with the local clerk’s office, court vital records office, etc. in the United States to figure out what their process is and what is considered a certified version of that original document.