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I-485 Document question

Charlotte, NC |

I am here in the United States applying for my I-485. I didn't have my birth certificate with me so I asked the Greek Embassy to submit me with a certified copy of my birth certificate. They asked the Greek government to send it to them but when they do send birth certificates they send them via fax. The birth certificate has a stamp on it that it was received via fax. Can I use that and send it to Immigration or do I need to contact a relative to actually get me an original and mail it in to me and then translate it and send that one to immigration? Thank you!

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. You can use the faxed birth certificate, attach the translation. I would also attach an extra page explaining that the birth certificate is a courtesy copy faxed over by the Consulate.
That being said, it is, of course, always better to have the original birth certificate. Unless you are in a big hurry or the process of obtaining one takes too long back home, I would wait until I can include the original. Remember, the USCIS demand copies of the originals and may find a genuine doc such as yours satisfactory. If they don't, they will request for the original in a letter called an "RFE" - Request for Evidence. Hopefully, the birth cert is not the only document with an issue. It is always advised to consult with a competent immigration attorney, if for no other reason at least to look over your package before submission.

Lastly, you generally need to lay your hands on the original personal document, whatever it is. It's both a good habit and comes in handy down the road. So either way, if it is possible, do make arrangements for getting that original or certified copy.


Use the fax copy with a certified translation into English. Be prepared to have a certified original original copy certified for presentation on your interview or if requested

Attorney Robert Brown's (former INS Director, 1972-99) reply to your question is general in nature, and does not constitute legal advice as all facts are known to him. For specific advice or representation you should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law. Mr. Brown's reply on AVVO does not create an attorney/client relationship not constitute legal advice.


A copy of your birth certificate is fine. However, you do need a certified translation in English. I would try and have an original with me by the time the interview takes place in case the immigration officer should ask to take a look at the original. Some times at the interview. They like to look at original documents.

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