China Notarial Birth Certificate: How to Apply or Prove to U.S. Immigration Authorities That It Is Unobtainable

If you were born in Mainland China and are applying for a U.S. green card, you will need to submit a China notarial birth certificate (NBC). That’s true regardless of whether you are filing a Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

This article covers:

An application for an NBC is filed with a notary office with jurisdiction over the Public Security Bureau where your household registration (户口 hukou) is currently located or was canceled, or where you were born. The application must be filed in person. If you are unable to apply in person because you are outside China, a third party with a power of attorney (委托书 weituoshu) can apply on your behalf. The notary may require that the power of attorney be apostilled.

Two Types of Certificates the Notary Can Provide

An article from the China Notary Association emphasizes that there are two types of notarial certificate (gong zheng shu 公证书) that can be issued to describe the circumstances of a person’s birth:

Type 1: Birth certificate notarization (出生证公证 chushengzheng gongzheng):

People born in 1996 or later should have a medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明 chusheng yixue zhengming). That certificate should be issued by the hospital or medical clinic where the individual was born, or by the public health administration based on the report of a professional who assisted with a home birth. Issuance of such certificates is mandated by the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care, article 23 (1994).

medical certificate of birth--China
Standard medical certificate of birth issued since 1996

The first type of notarial certificate is a “birth certificate notarization,” meaning a photocopy of the medical certificate of birth with an attestation by the notary that the photocopy “confirms to the original, and that the original document is authentic.” The notarial certificate lists the “issue under notarization” (公证事项) as “birth certificate” (出生医学证明):

Page from a birth certificate notarization

Type 2: Birth notarization (出生公证 chusheng gongzheng):

Prior to standardization of medical certificates of birth in 1996, birth registration was decentralized and there was no national standard format for birth certificates.

Nanjing birth certificate (1953)

A Type 2 NBC is typically applied for by showing evidence of the circumstances of birth other than the standard medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明 chusheng yixue zhengming). Such evidence may include, for example:

  • birth certificate (出生证明书) with delivery record (病案首页), or medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明) issued by the hospital;
  • record issued by the Household Registration Department of the local Public Security Bureau; or
  • letter issued by the office that has control over your personnel file (人事档案), which may be:
    • your work unit (for state-owned enterprises)
    • university (for students)
    • neighborhood committee (if not employed)
    • the Administration for Industry and Commerce (if employed by a foreign company)
    • talent market (人才市场) (if employed by a domestic private company)
    • sub-district office (街道办事处)

Unlike the Type 1 certificate, Type 2 does not include a photocopy of the evidence the notary has reviewed. Instead, it merely describes the notary’s conclusions about the circumstances of birth. It lists the “issue under notarization” (公证事项) as “birth” (出生):

Page from a birth notarization

The U.S. State Department Guidelines for Birth Certificates

Both USCIS and the State Department look to guidelines in the State Department’s Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country for what type of birth certificate is required.

The State Department’s guidelines were last updated on May 13, 2019. They explain that for purposes of U.S. immigration a person born in mainland China must present a notarial certificate (公证书) issued by the local notary public office (公证处). These guidelines implicitly allow for submission of either a Type 1 or a Type 2 NBC:

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A notarial birth certificate normally contains a watermark, seal, and red stamp. It indicates the applicant’s name, gender, date of birth, ID number, place of birth, and both parents’ names.  NOTE: Notarial birth certificates issued prior to 2012 may not list the ID number. All notarial documents must have an English translation, and be attached with a certificate stating that the English translation is in conformity with the Chinese original.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Notary Public (公证员)

Registration Criteria:

  1. A National ID and household registration (户口簿). If the applicant lives abroad, a copy of his or her passport is also required.
  2. One of the following three documents evidencing the circumstances of birth:
    • Birth certificate (出生证明书) or medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明) issued by the hospital
    • Initial Birth Record issued by the Household Registration Department of the local Public Security Bureau
    • Proof of birth issued by the sub-district office (街道办事处) or the Personnel Department of Work Unit
  3. Photographs – at least two.
  4. A signed affidavit or authorization certificate from the applicant if someone other than the applicant applies for the certificate on his or her behalf. The authorized person also needs to provide his/her national ID.
  5. Documentation of both parents’ identification. If deceased, a death certificate is required.
  6. Other documents requested by the Notary Public (公证员).

Procedure for Obtaining:

  1. Complete an application and submit all relevant documents to the Notary Public Office (公证处).
  2. The Notary Public then examines the documents. If the application is accepted, the applicant pays all related notary fees.
  3. Once the review of the submitted documentation is completed, the notarial birth certificate is issued….

Comments: Applicants should check the website or contact their local Notary Public Office to obtain specific information regarding required fees and supporting documents. 

In Some Cases, Getting an NBC Can Be Difficult

There are some cases where it can be a challenge–or even impossible–to gather evidence of the circumstances of birth that is sufficient to convince a notary to issue a Type 2 NBC.

As mentioned above, such evidence is most commonly:

  • Birth certificate (出生证明书) or medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明) issued by the hospital. This may be unavailable for a child born at home.
  • Record issued by the Household Registration Department of the local Public Security Bureau (PSB). This may be unavailable for a child whose birth was not registered with the PSB. For example, for a child born in the 1950s or earlier, registration may not have been required. And for a birth that violated family planning laws, registration may not have been done.
  • Evidence of the circumstances of birth found in the applicant or their parent’s personnel file (人事档案) held by the personnel department of a work unit, a school, or a sub-district office (街道办事处). Old personnel files may be unavailable because they have been lost or destroyed (e.g., by floods). And there may be no personnel file for a person who left China before the 1970s, or for a child who left China at any time before completing middle school.

USCIS Rules for When an NBC Is Unobtainable

In some cases, an NBC meeting the State Department’s guidelines may be unobtainable. That must be proven to the USCIS officer’s satisfaction. 8 C.F.R. § 103.2(b)(2).

USCIS asks for a “certification” from the China notary that the certificate is unobtainable. 7 USCIS-PM A.4(B)(1). Unfortunately, Chinese law does not require notaries to issue such certifications, so the notary may not issue one. In that case, the applicant must submit evidence of repeated good faith attempts to obtain the NBC. Id.

Further, if the refusal is because you lack a required document for the NBC application, such as evidence of the circumstances of birth from the hospital, public security bureau, or a personnel file, you need to show that you unsuccessfully attempted to get such evidence from any entity that could have it.

State Department Rules for When a Birth Certificate Is Unobtainable

In some cases, an NBC meeting the State Department’s guidelines may be unobtainable. That must be proven to the consular officer’s satisfaction. 9 FAM 504.4-4(F)(c).

The applicant must submit proof of the attempts to obtain the NBC. Id.

Further, if the refusal is because you lack a required document for the NBC application, such as evidence of the circumstances of birth from the hospital, public security bureau, or a personnel file, you need to show that you unsuccessfully attempted to get such evidence from any entity that could have it.

Secondary Evidence of the Circumstances of Birth

If the NBC is unobtainable, the applicant must provide secondary evidence of the circumstances of their birth. 8 C.F.R. § 103.2(b)(2) (USCIS rules); 22 C.F.R. § 42.65(d)(1) (State Dep’t rules).

This could include, for example:

  • The household register (户口 hukou)
  • Family planning certificate (计划生育服务证 jihua shengyu fuwu zheng) from the family planning bureau
  • Old photographs
  • School records
  • Religious records (e.g., a baptismal record)
  • Medical records
  • If the applicant left China at a young age to a third country or region, that place’s immigration records may also be helpful (e.g., Hong Kong Certificate of Registered Particulars).
  • Genealogical records compiled by overseas Chinese family associations
  • Birth certificate issued by overseas embassy or consulate of the People’s Republic of China or, Certificate of Registration issued to overseas Chinese by an embassy or consulate of the previously, the Republic of China (pre-1949)
  • USCIS files of family members to that reflect the claimed parental relationship
  • A genealogist may be able to hunt down secondary evidence of birth. My China Roots, a leading genealogy research company specializing in helping Overseas Chinese trace their ancestry in China, can have their native researchers travel to the applicant’s hometown to search for family tree books (jiapu 家谱), ancestral graves, ancestral tablets, temples, and testimonies of relatives
Certificate of Registration for Overseas Chinese issued by the Republic of China Embassy in Lima, Peru (1936)

Chinese tombstones sometimes list the names of living descendants.


Another form of evidence of the circumstances of your birth is affidavits from individuals with personal knowledge of the circumstances of your birth (e.g., your date and place of birth, your name, and your parents’ names).

According to USCIS rules, if persuasive secondary evidence cannot be obtained, the applicant must “submit two or more affidavits, sworn to or affirmed by persons who are not parties to the petition who have direct personal knowledge of the event and circumstances.” 8 C.F.R. § 103.2(b)(2). See 1 USCIS-PM E.6(B); 7 USCIS-PM A.4(B)(3).

The State Department takes a slightly different approach. Secondary evidence and affidavits are grouped together as “other evidence” that may be satisfactory if the NBC is unobtainable. 22 C.F.R. § 42.65. In other words, while USCIS will only consider affidavits if satisfactory secondary evidence is unobtainable, the State Department will consider all “other evidence” together.

Applying for an NBC on Your Own

If you want to apply for an NBC on your own, see background information in Getting China Notarial Certificates for Your U.S. Immigration Case – Chodorow Law Offices (

Evidence to submit to the notary includes:

  • Evidence of the circumstances of your birth, as discussed above
  • Evidence of your identity
  • Evidence of your parents’ identity, or, if they have passed away, their death certificates
  • Two 2-inch photos with a white background and with no head covering. See Photo Requirements
  • Parents’ marriage certificate

Working with Chodorow Law Offices

To schedule a consultation about how our firm can apply on your behalf for a China notarial birth certificate (NBC) for purposes of U.S. immigration or for other purposes, please take the following steps:

  • Step 1: Schedule a consultation by filling this online form.
  • Step 2: Pay the Consultation fee. The fee is USD 300 (RMB 2100). You can find payment instructions here.
  • Step 3: Provide available documents from this list.

Our firm will then contact you to schedule a mutually agreeable time for the consultation.

During the appointment, we will speak with you and review the relevant documents to learn your goals and the relevant facts. The initial consultation is confidential. It can be in English or Mandarin (or an interpreter can be arranged for another language). Plan for it to take 60-90 minutes. We will:

  • Explain the requirements and procedures for the NBC application.
  • Estimate the odds of whether the NBC will be issued or will be denied. If it is denied, and you are applying for U.S. immigration benefits, you may need to submit evidence proving the NBC is unobtainable and secondary evidence of the circumstances of birth.
  • Answer your questions.
  • Follow-up research and quote: After our firm learns the facts and reviews your documents during the initial consultation, the next step will be to research with the notary their local office’s requirements and procedures. Each office’s requirements and procedures differ:
    • Type 1 NBC (based on submitting to the notary a China medical certificate of birth issued 1996 or later): There is no additional fee for this research. After doing this research, our firm should then be able to explain to you our proposed strategy to apply for the Type 1 NBC and quote you a fee for the case.
    • Type 2 NBC (based on submitting to the notary evidence of the circumstances of your birth other than a China medical certificate of birth issued 1996 or later): Besides research with the notary, depending on the facts of the case, we may also need to do research with other offices, such as the hospital where you were born, the public security bureau, or offices holding personnel files for you and your parents. At the end of the initial consultation, our firm should be able to quote you a fee for doing such research. If you hire us to do the research, then when we are done we will meet with you again (at no additional cost) to discuss our proposed strategy to apply for the Type 2 NBC and quote you a fee for the case.

Who is Quoting This Article?

An earlier version of this article is cited by the Canadian government’s Immigration and Refugee Board.

This article is cited in an article titled China: Birth Certificates and Proof of Birth from the Danish National ID Centre, part of the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration.

Further Reading

Sample NBC Type 1–出生证公证

Sample NBC Type 2–出生公证

China Joins Hague Apostille Convention

Getting China Notarial Certificates for Your U.S. Immigration Case

94 responses to “China Notarial Birth Certificate: How to Apply or Prove to U.S. Immigration Authorities That It Is Unobtainable”

  1. Lan Ji Avatar
    Lan Ji

    I was born in 1958 in China. There is not birth certificate at that period. I left China in 1986 to Australia and I am Australia citizen. Please advice whether the Australia passport would be OK instead a Chinese birth certificate for this case. Thanks.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Lan Ji: If you’re applying for a U.S. immigrant visa, then the above rules state that you should apply for a notarial certificate of birth, which may be issued based on information found in other sources, such as your hukou. An Australian passport is no substitute.

      1. Qin Cang Avatar
        Qin Cang

        Hi Gary, I have my birth certificate from China from 2005 and consular report of citizenship by that time. But I did not get my birth certificate notarized (公证书). I currently reside in the U.S., where would I be able to get it notarized? Thanks!

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Qin Cang: Ask a notary in the city where you were born or where your Chinese citizen parent’s hukou was registered.

  2. Max C Avatar
    Max C

    I was born after 1996, and I have a medical certificate of birth. But we don’t have notorial certificate of birth, because my mother is not availble, they won’t give us one. I want to ask if medical birth certificate alone is good enough for i130 and i485 application? Thanks!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Max C: Good question. As the Reciprocity Schedule says, medical birth certificates are available for persons born after 1996. They are primary evidence of birth. Normally, primary evidence is all that’s necessary to satisfy USCIS. However, the Reciprocity Schedule also states that “primary evidence is not standardized, is easily forged, and difficult to evaluate. Notarial certificates are easier to interpret than primary evidence and theoretically represent an expert judgment on the part of the notarial official as to the facts documented.” Therefore, the best practice would normally be to present both the medical birth certificate and the notarial birth certificate. I understand that you’ve run into trouble getting the notarial birth certificate. A conservative approach would be gather evidence for possible presentation to USCIS that the notarial birth certificate is unavailable. You could combine that with other secondary evidence of your birth, such as your household register, your school records naming your parents, and old photos of you with yoru parents.

  3. Tony Avatar

    I have a notarial certificate from 1992, can I use that or do I need a more recent one?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Tony: Notarial birth certificates don’t expire. So if it’s OK in all other respects, its age isn’t a problem.

  4. Lara Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    I recently received a request for evidence (RFE) from USCIS regarding my I-130 petition for my mother. I submitted the notarial birth certificate, but USCIS stated that it is a “late registered birth record.” Now they are requesting the oldest possible documents (that show DOB, birthplace, and full name of my parents and I), such as religious documents, school records (prefer the first one I attended), medical records, census record. I am 31 years old, and a lot of these old records are not available anymore. The hospital can only issue a letter confirming my birth, but it would not be an “old record”. Would the translation of my Hukou be helpful? Any other advice? Thanks.


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Lara: The notarial birth certificate is “late registered” because it wasn’t created near to the time of your birth. Take a look at the additional types of secondary evidence I’ve listed above to see what you may be able to find.

  5. ChiU Avatar

    The NVC has requested my mother’s “birth certificate.” She was born in China in 1938 and has no birth certificate. What should we do?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      See my answer to Bill.

  6. Bill Avatar

    Hello Gary, my Chinese fiancée was born in a small town in 1993. She has never heard of a birth certificate before but has a hukou. What form of birth certificate does she need for immigration? Thank you for your help.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Bill, as mentioned above, a person born before 1996 should apply to the notary for issuance of a notarial birth certificate. Such a person may well not have a medical certificate of birth since such documents were not standardized throughout China before 1996. In that event, the person should make available to the notary from whom the notarial birth certificate is requested their hukou and any other evidence the notary requests.

  7. Thomas Turnipseed Avatar
    Thomas Turnipseed


    Thank you so much for maintaining this excellent blog. I’ve referenced it to expats several times.

    Currently my wife does not have a birth certificate as she was born at home in the 1960’s. Her father has passed away and her mother is getting on in years. Though we will not need the notorial birth certificate for sometime, it would seem prudent to obtain one now. Once her mother passes away, it will be much more difficult or impossible to get a certificate. Is my understanding correct? Thanks.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Can’t hurt to apply early. Notarial birth certificates don’t expire for U.S. immigration purposes.

  8. Eric S. Avatar
    Eric S.

    Gary: My partner, born in 1998, has recently submitted her original medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明 chusheng yixue zhengming) and was told it was the improper and denied. Why?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Eric: As you can see above, under current State Department guidance, submission of just the medical certificate of birth is insufficient. A notarial certificate is needed.

  9. Randy W Avatar

    From checking out the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on the Reciprocity Schedule, it looks like the State Dept. inadvertently DROPPED the reference to the Medical Certificate of Birth when they reformatted the page in Nov or Dec 2018.

    See old page (Nov., 2018) at

    and new page (Dec., 2018) at

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      The current Reciprocity Schedule still says that a “medical certificate of birth (Chu Sheng Yi Xue Zheng Ming) issued by the hospital” is “one of three” types of documentation of birth that may be used to get the notarial birth certificate. Still, this obscures the fact that for births starting in 1996 the medical certificate of birth is standard, primary evidence of birth.

  10. Anita Avatar

    Hi Gary,
    My dad was born in 1946 in Shanghai and moved to Hong Kong in 1953. He never had a birth certificate, and he doesn’t have a hukou. We are now helping him apply for a green card. USCIS is requesting the birth certificate. My grandparents have both passed away and we dont have any evidence to prove my dad’s original birth in Shanghai. Which notary do we apply for the birth certificate at?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Anita: You’ll need to apply for the notarial birth certificate at a notary office in Shanghai. (A notary in the U.S. can’t do the basic job which a Shanghai notary does, which is to investigate and determine the true facts regarding the date and place of birth as well as parentage). In 1946, the Japanese military controlled all or nearly all of Shanghai, so I’m not sure what records the notary and public security bureau will be able to help you unearth. If none, you’ll need to collect other evidence of birth, as mentioned above.

  11. Dave Avatar

    Hi Gary, I have an old “Chu Sheng Gong Zheng Shu” from 1996 when i moved to canada (it doesnt have any photo or ID# for my parents. Im currently applying for a green card in the usa. Is this sufficient? I have heard from some friends that that it may need to be updated?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Dave: I’m not sure whether a birth certificate from 1996 that does not meet the specifications of the current State Dep’t guidelines (but does meet the specifications of earlier versions of the guidelines) would be acceptable for purposes of immigration. The current guidelines do not require a photo and acknowledge that certificates issued prior to 2012 “may not list the ID number,” so those aren’t problems. But what could be a problem is that you mention your certificate is titled “chu sheng gong zheng shu” (出生公证书) whereas the new guidelines say the document should simply be titled “gong zheng shu” (公证书). Given this uncertainty, if you have time, you may want to get a new birth certificate. Let me know what your experience is.

  12. Wendy Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    Thank you for this very helpful blog post. My birth certificate is Type 2: Birth notarization, and the translated page has the same format as the one you included. Is it necessary to get a professional translation service to certify this translation, or is it good enough on its own? Other sources suggest that all foreign-language documents need to be translated with a signed certification saying “I, [TRANSLATOR’S NAME], affirm that I am competent to translate this document”, etc.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Wendy: Let me provide general information. This may not apply in every case, but normally (1) U.S. Consulates abroad will accept the translator’s certificate provided by the PRC notary with the birth certificate, which is standard when you tell the notary birth certificate is needed for U.S. immigration; (2) USCIS requires a “signed” translator’s certificate, so you could make a special request that the notary sign the translator’s certificate. if they don’t do so, then you’ll need to add anothe tranlsator’s certificate. USCIS doesn’t require that the translator’s certificate be done by a professional.

    2. Jeff Avatar

      Hi Gary, I received RFE from USCIS about my i485 “ You have submitted secondary evidence and/or a birth affidavit as proof of a birth record for the applicant. However, the evidence you have submitted is insufficient. Submit the Notarial Certificate of Birth.” I was born before 1996, and have submitted my “ chushenggongzhengshu(出生公证书), which was five pages including front cover and with both Chinese and English, also has signature, red stamp, water mark and seal”. Does that mean I just submit the same “chushenggongzhengshu” again? Or I need to notary this “chushenggongzhengshu” again at USA? Thanks so much!

      1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

        Jeff: I suggest you consider hiring our firm or another firm review your documents and perhaps ask USCIS for clarification. It sounds like you submitted a notarial birth certificate and USCIS has requested exactly that.

  13. Kate Avatar

    Hi Gary, is the information above also for a US Passport and Certificate of Citizenship application? I want to apply for a US passport because I fall under Section INA 320. I have all of the other documentation except for a birth certificate. I have a notarial certificate (公证书) from 1994 stating my relationship to my mother and date of birth. For a US passport application, would this suffice as “proof of the child’s relationship the US citizen parent” instead of a the usual “foreign birth certificate?” Is there any other documentation I could provide instead of going to Changchun, China to get a (notarial) birth certificate? How long is the normal process to apply for the notarial birth certificate at a notary office in China? Thanks in advance!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Kate: Yes, these guidelines from the State Department apply to birth certificates for U.S. passports and certificates of citizenship. A Chinese “certificate of relationship” has not been acceptable in lieu of a notarial birth certificate.

  14. Jeremy Klein Avatar

    Hello Gary, I’m trying to get a notorial birth certificate for my wife but we have been told she needs her fathers and mothers ID to get it. Problem is that her father is not in contact with her so getting his ID is a problem. However his name and ID number are in her Hukou. What can we do? I’ve already submitted the I130 through DCF Beijing, we want to be ready when the interview comes.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Jeremy: In similar cases, clients have told me they resolved the problem by explaining to the notary their inability to get a parent’s ID and having the notary designate alternative acceptable evidence. Other clients have told me that if the notary they were dealing with was not receptive they have been successful by applying at a different notary office. Let me know what your experience is with this.

  15. Rita Avatar

    Hello Gary, thank you for this blog post! I am asking this for a friend of mine. Does he need to travel to China to get a notarial birth certificate? Or is it possible to request this over the phone? If not, would it be possible to authorise a lawyer of notary to obtain the necessary documents? He does not have any relatives or friends in China (has only lived there when he was a baby).

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Rita: Service by phone is not available, but any third party can be given a power of attorney to assist an individual in requesting notarization of a birth certificate.

  16. Jenni Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    I have a Notarial Certificate from 1999 (without the Id numbers for my parents and I), which I used for my Canadian immigration. From reading this post and some comments, its my understanding that I can still use it to apply to US permanent residence. What do you think?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Jenni: I do agree that the State Department’s note that “Notarial birth certificates issued prior to 2012 may not list the ID number” implies that such certificates are still acceptable.

  17. Olive Avatar

    Hi Gary: My husband filed a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, and has received a Request for Initial Evidence notice asking for a Notarial Certificate of Birth. We don’t have the required items for a Notarial Certificate of Birth application, such as the IDs of the mother and father.

    What we do have is a Notarial Certificate where the applicant on the certificate is my husband’s mother. The Notarial Certificate states the name and birthdate of his mother; and then it states that my husband is the “Related Person” with the following text: “Related person, , born on , resides in Shanghai, China. This is to certify that the applicant is the mother of .”

    Will this suffice in place of a Notarial Certificate of Birth? If not, what can we do?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Olive: It sounds like you have a “relationship certificate,” which does not contain all details required of a birth certificate, namely, the (a) date and place of birth, (b) names of both parents, (c) that this certificate is an extract from the official records. 22 C.F.R. § 42.65(c)(4). If the birth certificate is unobtainable, the first thing needed is evidence it is unobtainable. In some cases, that’s a statement from the local authorities that the birth certificate was lost or destroyed or never existed. 22 C.F.R. § 42.65(d). In other cases, that’s proof that you applied for the birth certificate, were denied, and that the reasons for the denial cannot be overcome. In addition, you would need other evidence of the birth, such as mentioned in the last section of the above article. Feel free to schedule a consultationconsultationconsultation with our firm if you’d like assistance.

  18. Annoua Avatar

    Hi, Gary! Thanks for all your pasts. I recently received a RFE for I-485. It requests to submit the Notarial Certificate of Birth. It just stated ” this office is unable to complete the processing of your… (Form I-485). We are writing to inform you that we need more information from you to make a decision on your case.” “What you need to do, You must submit the Notarial Certificate of Birth issued by the appropriate civil authority for the applicant.” I have submitted a copy of the Notarial birth certificate. Is that because I submitted a copy? Should I submit the same original Notarial Certificate of Birth? What do you think?

    I checked on my Notarial Certificate of Birth the cover page wrote GONG ZHENG SHU in Chinese without “Notarial Certificate” in English and the translation in English title is ” Ceritificate” not “Notarial Certificate” and the Notarial Item only ” Certifita: Birth” all the other are same as type 2 that you included. My Notarial Certificate only have one page in chinese and one page in English translation. It didn’t include a certificate stating that the English translation is in conformity with the Chinese original. Do I need to add another tranlsator’s certificate?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      If your notarial birth certificate is only 2 pages long, it’s not in the format required for U.S. immigration, which must be at least 4 pages long when issued by the notary–birth info in Chinese, birth info in English, translator’s certification in Chinese, translator’s certification in English.

  19. Y Avatar

    Hi, Thank you for your post. I’m currently filing my Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. I was born in Hong Kong, and was issued a official Birth Certificate from Hong Kong. I have submitted the photocopy of my official birth certificate but then received a RFE asking for a “notarial certificate of birth.” I don’t understand what that is.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Y: Here’s a theory to discuss with your lawyer. The officer may have mistakenly referred to the China rules, which require a “notarial birth certificate” instead of the HK rules, which require a CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ENTRY IN A REGISTER OF BIRTHS KEPT IN TERMS OF THE BIRTHS AND DEATHS REGISTRATION ORDINANCE. If so, you can point out the HK rules to the officer and explain how your certificate complies.

  20. Mu LIu Avatar
    Mu LIu

    My son was born in China in 1987. He had notarial birth certificate issued in 1998 with English translation but without a certificate stating that the English translation is in conformity with the Chinese original. The USCIS has asked us to submit a notarial birth certificate with translation and the conformity certificate. Can I ask a certified translator to certify this?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Mu Liu: Sorry, no luck: you can’t get a translation company to provide the translator’s certification. That’s because the State Department guidelines require the translator’s certification to be part of the notarial booklet. (If you need help, feel free to click the “contact us” button in the menu at the top of the page.)

  21. Allen Avatar

    Hi Gary, Thanks so much for your blog! My mom was born at home in China in 1947 but moved to Hong Kong when she was 3 months old. She doesn’t have a birth certificate, national ID, or hukou. We have 2 affidavits from her elder siblings who witnessed her birth. Is this sufficient, or do we still need documentation or response from a Chinese authority? We have none of the items required to submit a birth certificate request so I’m not sure how we go about getting some version of a certificate of non-availability.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Allen: As described in the above section related to “Unobtainable Birth Certificates,” an applicant typically needs to submit a certified statement from the appropriate government authority explaining why the birth certificate is unobtainable as well as additional evidence, including but not limited to declarations or affidavits.

      1. Allen Avatar

        Thanks Gary, do local notary offices actually issue certified statements re: unobtainable birth certificates? If so, is there a standard format or document to request, with stamps etc, with english translation? Otherwise, is it sufficient to request a written statement in chinese that we then have someone translate and notarize on our end?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Allen: There is no standard format for an agency’s certified statement. For a Chinese agency, it should preferably be on letterhead, include their chop, and list their contact info. It need not be issued in English, and it need not be notarized.

  22. Brianne Avatar

    Hi Gary, my mother-in-law was issued a notarial birth certificate in the province of her father’s home village. When we filed her I-130, we used her Canadian passport which listed a different province as her birthplace, and entered that different province in the “place of birth” section as well. Will that prove a problem at the visa interview?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Brianne: Since there is conflicting evidence regarding the circumstances of your mother-in-law’s birth, you may want to investigate the circumstances of her birth in further detail, correct whichever document (passport or notarial birth certificate) is mistaken, and be ready for the possibility that the officer may seek secondary evidence corroborating the true place of birth.

  23. Allen Avatar

    Hi Gary, do birth affidavits have to be notarized by a US notary public? My uncle is signing one for my mom but he lives in Hong Kong and was going to use a Hong Kong notary public.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      No. Use of a U.S. notary public is not required.

  24. Jason Avatar

    Hi Gary – my wife is a Hong Kong resident born in mainland China (before 1996). She was issued a 1-page birth notarization (no ID number) without English translation by Notary Public Office in 2002. Given that she is not able to go back to China and return to US due to Covid-19, is it sufficient if she can get the 1-page birth notarization translated by someone in the US? If no, what else can she possibly do? Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      She could give power of attorney (委托书) to somebody local to apply for the birth certificate on her behalf.

  25. Mengsheng Fan Avatar
    Mengsheng Fan

    My Chinese notary birth certificate paperwork keeps getting rejetced. First my notary is not in color so maybe that is why and secondly, my mother is doing the notary paperwork for me because I am in America under F-1 Visa and she is in China waiting for our green card. Therefore she is the one doing the notary paper work for me so she is the applicant but the notary birth certificate has all my information on it. We have both translated version and the orginal chinese language version in the notary birth certicate paper work. I’m just frustrated and need some help on this. Thank you for the article too because it was extremely helpful.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Mengsheng: If you would like us to take a look at the notarial birth certificate you have and provide recommendations as to the next step, feel free to schedule a consultation.

  26. Apple Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    My mum was born in Guangdong in 1946, then relocated to HK with her parents possibly within the first 2 years after she was born. At that time of point, there was no birth certificate available. Currently , we only have a HK passport indicates her place of birth is in Guangdong (possibly based on the memory of her parents) and a marriage cert to show the name of her father. They have no household registery in China. Since both of her parents have passed away, it is more difficult for her to gather evidence. Could you kindly advise how can my mom get a notarised certificate of birth?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Hi Apple: As mentioned above, check the website of the local local Notary Public Office (in Guangdong) to obtain specific information regarding required supporting documents. Assuming you need the notarial birth certificate for U.S. immigration purposes, those documents will include evidence of the circumstances if birth, such as: Birth certificate (出生证明书) or medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明) issued by the hospital; Initial Birth Record issued by the Household Registration Department of the local Public Security Bureau; or Proof of birth issued by the sub-district office (街道办事处) or the Personnel Department of Work Unit. Assuming that none of those documents can be obtained, that must be proven, as also explained above, and secondary evidence of birth must be submitted. If we can be of assistance, feel free to schedule an initial consultation with our firm to discuss how we can help with solutions for your hard-to-get birth certificate.

  27. Jason Avatar

    Hey Gary. Thanks for taking the time to write this post.

    I was born in Shanghai in 1989. Here is my birth certificate:

    Why has USCIS issued a request for evidence stating that my birth certificate is not sufficient?

    It was issued by the police and then I had a translator swear before a New York notary that the translation is accurate.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Jason: You’ll need a birth certificate issued by NOTARY PUBLIC OFFICE IN CHINA. You can apply by submitting the birth certificate you have from the police, together with evidence of you and your parents’ identity.

  28. Jay Avatar

    Hi Gary,
    I was born in Guangzhou, China before 1996 and moved to Hong Kong when I was 4 years old with my parents. My parents’ National ID and household registration were cancelled when they left China. I have my medical certificate of birth (出生医学证明) issued by the hospital. From the Registration Criteria you listed above, we don’t have the China National ID and household registration anymore, what can I do in my situation? Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Jay: You will need to apply to a mainland notary (not a HK notary) for the notarial birth certificate. If your parents’ hukous and national IDs have been cancelled, their current HK permanent ID cards (or foreign passports) can be used as evidence of ID instead. If your parents names on their current IDs are different than their names on the medical certificate of birth, they will need evidence of having legally changed their names.

      1. Jay Avatar

        Hi Gary,

        Thank you for your response. Due to the pandemic, my parents cannot go back to China. Is there any way I can get the birth certificate, or can a third party help me?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Yes, you can use a power of attorney (委托書) to appoint a friend or relative as your agent to do this.

  29. Conan Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    Thank you for this helpful blog. I am a Canadian citizen born in China and currently applying for my Green card through AOS. I have a Chinese birth certificate with a Notarial translation, however, I do not have any additional pages for the translators certification. It also does not state anywhere on the translation regarding authenticity or accurate translation. Only word for word the translation to English of the Chinese birth certificate. How do I go about obtaining the additional certification page as needed by USCIS?

    Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Conan: Apply to the notary for another notarial birth certificate, this time explaining that you need it for purposes of U.S. immigration. The notary will add the translator’s certification page per U.S. specifications.

  30. Leo Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the nice blog. I have a question about my Chinese ID card. It expired already. Is it OK to note that in the birth notary certification for my US green card? Should I add my passport number to it? Thanks in advance!


    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      For a PRC citizen with a national ID number, the notary should issue the notarial birth certificate showing that number, as mentioned above. However, the birth certificate need mention that the applicant’s ID card is expired or list the applicant’s passport number.

  31. Rebecca Avatar

    Hello Gary!

    Super helpful blog and information, thank you so much for your work. I was born in China in 1980, but my parents and I immigrated to CANADA in 1983. Currently I’m applying for a US green card and my I-485 form was sent back saying I needed to provide my notarized birth certificate (I had already submitted my original birth certificate). Our family has all the original documents required by a Chinese notary, EXCEPT for a Hukou/ID number. Because we have not been Chinese nationals for 40 years, we simply don’t have these forms of ID. I’ve had my relatives in China inquire at the notary in person, they won’t even take an application. How can I best proceed? Would a lawyer be able to submit an application on my behalf to receive a formal rejection from the notary, in order for me to present to USCIS to clarify my situation? Thank you!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Rebecca: Did you have a hukou (户口本), and if so, did you subsequently cancel it? Are you now a Canadian citizen?

      1. Rebecca Avatar

        Hi Gary! We did have a Hukou back in the day, but it was canceled when we immigrated. We have been Canadian citizens for 35+ years.

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Rebecca: You can apply for the notarial birth certificate in person or through an agent with a power of attorney. That’s something our firm can do. Since you have lost your PRC citizenship by naturalizing in Canada, you can get a hukou cancellation certificate with your national ID number from the local police station where you did the cancellation.

  32. Sonia Avatar

    Hi Gary, Thanks for all of this helpful information. My mother was born in Guangzhou in the 1930s, left for Hong Kong in the 1950s, and emigrated to Canada in the 1970s. She doesn’t have a birth certificate, nor any secondary evidence (school or religious records). Even an affidavit would be difficult to come by, due to her advanced age. She no longer has any ties to anyone in Guangzhou who could go to the notarial office on her behalf to request (and presumably be denied) a notarial birth certificate. Looking at your link to the Foreign Affairs Manual, the following is written: “However, a certification from an appropriate foreign government that a document does not exist is not required where the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual indicates this type of document generally does not exist. ” Surely that would be the case for a birth certificate from the 1930s? Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Sonia: Sorry, but the State Department’s “Reciprocity and Civil Documents” (i.e., Foreign Affairs Manual) for China shows that birth certificates are “available” without exception. An application for the notarial birth certificate should be made and, if the application is denied, secondary evidence should be submitted.

      1. Sonia Avatar

        Thanks for your reply. Just so I understand, there is no way to apply for the notarial birth certificate from abroad?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Sonia: You must apply in person or through an agent who has a power of attorney.

      2. Shu Cheng Avatar
        Shu Cheng

        In cases like this, should we apply even without sufficient documents just to receive a reply from the Chinese local authorities stating they cannot issue us a notarial birth certificate?

        1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

          Shu Cheng: As mentioned above, for cases before USCIS or the State Department, the agency requires submission of evidence of good faith attempts to obtain the NBC, if you claim it is unobtainable.

  33. Paul Avatar

    Hi my wife was born in China in 1976 we just recently got married, she is a US Citizen since 2021. Now she will ask for my green card but the problem is that she can’t find her birth certificate. How can I get a copy of her birth certificate or is there another option we could use?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Paul: Ask your wife to explain specifically what type of “birth certificate” she had–was it from a hospital, from a local health department, from a notary, etc. If she remembers which agency issued it, then she can go back to that agency to request a duplicate.

  34. Luke Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    My wife submitted to NVC just the English translation of the “Type 2: Birth notarization (出生公证 chusheng gongzheng)”, and we just got a message back saying it was rejected. Should she have submitted the complete notarial booklet (公证书), including the Chinese pages?

  35. Ann Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    My mom does not have a birth certificate. She’s 80 years old and was born in China during World War II. She left China for Hong Kong as a kid and hasn’t returned to China since. She doesn’t know her parents whom were killed in the war.

    Since she has no status in China and we have no friends/relatives in China, how can she obtain the Notarial Birth Certificate? She only has documents from Hong Kong such as the Hong Kong passport and identity card. The passport shows Shanghai as the place of birth.

    Thank you!

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar


      As mentioned above, to discuss how we can help with solutions for your hard-to-get birth certificate, please schedule a consultation with our firm:

  36. […] China Birth Certificates: Solutions for Difficult Cases […]

  37. Adam Avatar

    My wife left China some 30 years ago when she was 10 and her birth certificate was lost by the British embassy in Beijing in the process of immigrating to the UK. She still has her hukou and the Chinese passport that was issued to her as minor under guardianship of her parent (she said something about it be “attached to her parents” since she was so young). Her parents also have their marriage certificate document and single child certificate, and of course would be willing to sign an affidavit claiming my wife as their child. How would we go about getting a notorial certificate of birth without the original birth certificate given that my wife does not have a national ID and is no longer a citizen of China and cannot get a national ID? Thank You

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Adam: See the above section called “Applying for a Birth Certificate on Your Own,” or “Working with Chodorow Law Offices.”

  38. Zeenat Avatar

    Hi Gary,

    USCIS is requesting my husband’s notarial birth certificate (NBC). He was born in 1951 in Canton, and left when he was 3 years old. Can your firm contact the local Notary Office and apply for the NBC on his behalf?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      It would be a pleasure. You can schedule a consultation here: Schedule a Consultation.

  39. Yaqi Hu Avatar
    Yaqi Hu

    Hi, I have a 2 page version of the of the notarized birth certificate. It certifies my birth, my birthdates, birth place and both my parents’ names. I am missing the 2 pages at the end that states the translation is in conformity with the Chinese original (in both Chinese and English). I was going to get a certified translation of the Chinese version of the Notary and addend it at the end of the birth certificate, would that be sufficient for the I485? Or do I have to get a 4 page version of the notarized Birth Certification from China? Thank you.

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      The reciprocity schedule makes clear that you need the 2-page translator’s certification issued by the notary.

  40. Yong Avatar

    Hi – USCIS is requesting a notarial birth certificate. I have a hospital birth certificate from 1981. I live in Canada. What are my options?

    1. Gary Chodorow Avatar

      Yong: Please see the above paragraphs related to “Applying for a Birth Certificate on your Own” and “Working with Chodorow Law Offices.”

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