Obtaining Vital Records
The Embassy and Consulates keep no copies of the documents we issue, such as Consular Reports of Birth. These documents are filed in Washington. We also do not keep any files of German civil documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. Other records, such as birth certificates of people born in the U.S. are stored in the state of origin.
This page is designed to help you locate the vital documents you need. The Embassy/Consulates cannot obtain documents on your behalf, and cannot provide translations of documents issued in German. We recommend, however, when writing to the German authorities, that you request an international version of the document in question.
Documents that must be ordered from the State Department in Washington
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a document issued by the American Embassy or Consulate reflecting the facts of birth abroad of a child acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth through one or both parents.
- Report of Death of an American Citizen, a document issued by the American Embassy or Consulate reflecting the facts of death abroad of an American citizen.
Request one of these documents from the Department of State (Enter the document name in the search function at the top right hand corner of the website).
Obtaining records issued by the German Authorities
Records of birth, marriage and death are generally kept at the German vital records office (Standesamt) where the event occurred. Most cities have websites at www.(nameofcity).de where you can find the contact information for the appropriate Standesamt and request a copy of your birth or marriage certificate. This usually has to be done in writing and as much information as possible should be provided, including proof of your identity.
We recommend that you contact the Standesamt in question directly. You may use this standesamt request template (pdf) for suggested language. Divorce decrees should be applied for at the court where the divorce took place.
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., state, county or city governments, depending on location, usually hold such records. Here is some information to assist you in obtaining copies of such records. More information about obtaining vital records in the U.S., such as birth certificates.
Note: For your U.S. document to be accepted by the German authorities, for example if you plan to get married, they also require that you provide an Apostille (pdf 77kb). This document gives you specific instructions on how to obtain the Apostille.
Fee-based on-line services that help obtain records
- 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 usbirthcertificate.net 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 APO's, FPO's, or PO Boxes).