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Old 18.02.2020, 20:54
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Baby birth certificate

Hi All,


I wonder if anyone has come across a case or knows what can be done if you need to register your newborn in Switzerland (Basel) and you simply can't secure a copy of a birth certificate of one of the parents - the certificate was either lost or requires paperwork that simply can't be secured. What's the way out then?


Is there a procedure for such a case?



Thank you in advance.
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Old 18.02.2020, 21:29
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Re: Baby birth certificate

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Hi All,


I wonder if anyone has come across a case or knows what can be done if you need to register your newborn in Switzerland (Basel) and you simply can't secure a copy of a birth certificate of one of the parents - the certificate was either lost or requires paperwork that simply can't be secured. What's the way out then?


Is there a procedure for such a case?

Thank you in advance.
If an exception has to be made this will be tailored to the situation and persons involved, your only option is to go to their office and work out a personal solution, if you can't work out a solution yourself be prepared to have a lawyer who can open more doors than you in an attempt to work out a personal solution.

Last edited by EdwinNL; 18.02.2020 at 21:50.
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Old 18.02.2020, 23:11
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Re: Baby birth certificate

When a government department requires a document from you, that you cannot produce, those officials have two choices:
  • say NO to your request, or
  • find a legitimate way to make a legal exception for you.

Since you want them to make an exception, it is up to you to demonstrate why they should even consider doing so. It can help if you can show them all the steps that you have tried, to obtain what they are asking for.


Let's just say, for example, that the missing birth certificate is of someone who was born in country x, but that since that time country x has been through a complete political change, such that it no longer exists as country x but now is split up into countries y, z and q. Depending on the circumstances of the parent's birth, you could submit correspondence that you have had with the authorities in y, z, and q.

Even if they never replied to you, submitting your side will show that you have tried to do what the Swiss authorities needed of you.

You could approach the representative of the parent's birth (or citizenship) country in Switzerland (or perhaps in neighbouring countries) to ask them if they can obtain the parent's birth certificate for you. Again, if they reply to say that this cannot be done (e.g. because you'd have to return to that country in person, or that no documents can be issued because there is currently a war there, or because the government archives in that country were burnt down, or because you are no longer a citizen there but now of another newly created country), then you submit that information to the Swiss government department.

Try to find a cultural club (or a church or mosque, etc.) or forum of that parent's birth (or citizenship) country, and ask the people there whether they know of a way to obtain documents from back home. Or the names of any other documents that they've obtained from that country (and how they did so), which were then considered by the Swiss to be acceptable or sufficient.

You could also ask the Swiss authorities whether it is possible to register the baby's birth by using the birth certificate of only one parent, plus, perhaps, another document, such as the marriage certificate, or an affidavit by the father (if he's the one without a birth certificate) that he acknowledges being the baby's father, or a medical report from a hospital certifying that it was the mother (if she's the one without a birth certificate) who gave birth, and/or a DNA test.

You could try to register the baby in the respective countries of the parents' births and/or citizenships, independently of trying to register the birth in Switzerland. It's worth at least enquiring whether this could be possible, since each country will have its own set of requirements, and it may be easier to fulfil those of one of your countries, than of Switzerland. Again, document every step, to prove what you have done, to the Swiss authorities.

If you have other children, you could perhaps demonstrate in what way it was possible to register them (even if their circumstances were different).

In the meantime, ask whether it is in any way possible to obtain some sort of provisional registration of the baby's birth, pending the submission of the missing documents. If you find that you absolutely are not permitted to register the baby's birth fully, because you're missing documents, at least such a provisional registration would give the baby basic papers.

In any case obtain as much documentation as you can from the place where the baby was born, and a certificate by the doctor/midwife in attendance, so there is at least some record.

For any document you submit, provide a proper translation into your municipality's official language. Write all your letters, too, in the local official language, not in English or any other language you command.

Finally, be very, very patient, and just keep plugging away at it, trying, trying, trying to obtain the document required of you, and/or to collect suffiently comprehensive information to enable the authorties to make an exeption for you.
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Old 19.02.2020, 00:15
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Re: Baby birth certificate

Thank you for your replies. I think that Iíll just go to the Zivilstandamt and talk to them to see whatís possible. The country where I was born no longer exists. All my documents including my birth certificate and passport as well as my citizenship of said country were revoked upon immigration to the USA. My documents from US do not show my name as it was in my country of birth. All firms that can request my birth certificate on my behalf require an apostillized authorization in the name in which the birth certificate was issued (not possible), or the apostillized name change papers if my current documents are not with the name contained in the birth certificate (also not possible). Short of me restoring my citizenship of the country where the archives are located (now a new country , but Iím not looking for another citizenship), I canít seem to find a way to get this done in a sane manner.
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Old 19.02.2020, 16:45
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Re: Baby birth certificate

This is not an unusual problem, in fact it happened to millions of Displaced Persons after WW II. The place to go for advice is the Swiss consular office responsible for the geographic area where you were born and the documents ought to be, if they still existed and were available. When I organised the facilitated naturalisation of my four children and eight grandchildren (OK, some of the latter were Swiss at birth), we needed documents from all over. Each was sent by the relevant consul (the naturalisations were in different countries) to the place where issued for confirmation, translation and forwarding to Bern. I asked what would be done in the case of an English Jewish marriage certificate for which there is no provision for duplication or certification until and unless the original book of ten is submitted to the local Register Office: that can only be done when it's full and many small synagogues have fewer than one wedding a year, Jewish and Quaker marriages are solemnised under special laws. The answer: an exception will be made, the Embassy in London will take a copy, or the data as pertinent, even an affidavit from the synagogue, and certify that. (The fact that a country doesn't anymore exist, or that maybe the marriage was in accordance with the practice of Yanomami aboriginal peoples where you lived for some time (as was the case of Kenneth Good, look him up on YouTube and Wikipedia) is no obstacle. He got a U.S. passport for his child and a green card for his spouse, although she eventually returned to the Tribe. It may be that some authority in Caracas eventually issued a document for the child's birth, but even if not that wouldn't have been an obstacle. I could envisage issues with a Talak oral divorce but even there...)
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