The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
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You are an insect without a piece of paper: what problems face immigrants in the USA due to lack of documents from their homeland

Our office in New York - Russian Divorce - provides all types of notary and legal services. However, the most burning topic is traditionally the issues of the registry office. Lack of the right documents at the right time can create great difficulties for people. Unfortunately, few people turn to a lawyer ahead of time, because in everyday life you don't often need a birth certificate or a marriage certificate that has already been dissolved. But when the lost document begins to be needed, there may not be enough time to restore it.

Photo: Shutterstock

Big problems with a small document

Most often, our clients face a problem when interacting with the USCIS. Immigrants do not always turn to a lawyer for help, and lawyers do not always notice the nuances - most often they only attract the attention of immigration officers.

Unbelievably often people turn to us with an urgent request: "I went through an interview with USCIS, but I did not have enough birth certificate, and I was given a period of 30 days to correct the deficiencies." Remember, a birth certificate is needed in any immigration process. Without it, you will never receive a green card or citizenship. Birth certificate is your most important document, more important than a passport, perhaps.

But problems can arise in connection with the absence of any other obligatory document, be it a marriage certificate, divorce certificate, etc.

With a slight movement of your hand, you turn into another person.

The second most common problem is discrepancies between passport and certificate (usually birth certificate). These discrepancies need to be eliminated at the time of conception, but few pay attention to such trifles. Such discrepancies are most often encountered between documents issued in Soviet times on the territory of the union republics and passports issued by already independent countries in their state language. Alexander - Oleksandr, Alexey - Oleksiy, Nadezhda - Nadiya, Isaac - Isaac - this is a small part of the names with which questions arise. And a huge number of surnames, where “and” in one document turns into “y” or “i” in another.

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Over the past year, dozens of families have contacted me wishing to emigrate to Israel. All of them are united by one problem - they need documents from Uzbekistan: birth certificates, marriage certificates; documents concerning their parents (about the birth of parents, their marriages, and about death). What I drew attention to in the documents emanating from Uzbekistan is that the act records in Soviet times, of course, were drawn up by hand. It is sometimes difficult to read what is written there. So, with a slight movement of the hand, “Miriam” was turned into “Marusya”.

Of course, these discrepancies must be eliminated at the root, for it will become impossible to prove something to someone later without resorting to going to court.

A formal, rash translation can lead to a refusal to grant an immigration application in America. The Immigration Officer may not correct the spelling inconsistencies in the names of the applicants. This is the responsibility of your lawyer (if you have one, of course) and is your own responsibility. And if these discrepancies are not eliminated at the stage of filling out the documents, then the issue will have to be resolved with the help of philological, literary, religious, and legal examinations. I, as an international lawyer, prepare for my principals precisely legal examinations that explain the correspondence of names.

Everything is solvable

Very often my clients don't even know how to get the documents they need. Usually, we know how to do it.

Bifurcation of the homeland

Mikhail, let's call him that, was born prematurely, when no one expected him to be born yet, and his parents were peacefully resting in Odessa. The parents decided to register their newborn son at home, that is, in St. Petersburg. The newborn baby, having no documents, covered 65 kilometers without any problems, and not a single border guard demanded to show documents, because there was no border between Russia and Ukraine at that time. After XNUMX years, Mikhail's son, Alexander, decided to emigrate to Poland, and then problems began with the Polish immigration authorities, who could not understand how it was possible to be born in one country (in Ukraine), and get a birth certificate in another (Russia). I received a certificate for Mikhail in Odessa about the absence of an act record and gave a legal opinion, which filled in the gaps of misunderstanding and helped to resolve the issue.

Photo from the personal archive of Karina Duval

Act records, like manuscripts, do not burn

Ivanna was born in Vitebsk on the eve of World War II. After the war, her family moved to Russia, and from Russia she and her husband emigrated to America. When she turned to me with a request to restore the birth certificate, she clearly said that she was born in Belarus, and her birth was registered there. No matter how it is. The regional registry office in Vitebsk issued us with a certificate of the absence of an act record. Because there were fierce battles in Belarus, the country was on fire, and the archives were not preserved. At all. The client did not remember anything and only demanded: “I paid you money, and you must provide me with a document. How so, the archives burned down? They didn’t burn, you invented it all ”. I suggested that it is possible, and most likely, that the birth record of Ivanna was restored after the war at her place of residence in Russia. And yes, we found the act record - restored, compiled by the registry office of the city of Chelyabinsk, and received a birth certificate for her.

Wife for a day, problems for 20 years

There was also such a unique case. The client - not aged, not suffering from mental and other disorders, turned to me in his right mind and completely sober memory. But he could not remember one episode of his life. The marriage entered into in 1994 in Moscow, where he studied not just anywhere, but at MGIMO. But who of us was not a student ... A young freshman, a citizen of Kazakhstan, got married after a student party. All he knew about his chosen one was that she had an amazing, and most importantly rare name - Nadia. Neither the surname, nor the name of the registry office, he is not something that he could not remember, he never knew them. He had a passport of a citizen of Kazakhstan, where the marriage stamp was not put.

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This man turned to me in 2014, when he was already under 40. He lived in America, taught at a leading university in California, a professor, a respected person, he did not lose hope of ever starting a family, getting married. But for this he had to divorce first, but he did not know with whom. When he approached me, he had no hope. I found him both a marriage and a divorce. Women, unlike men, know and remember well where, when and with whom. And she prudently took the marriage certificate in the registry office and kept it.

She divorced him in her hometown in the Ulyanovsk region six months after that ill-fated marriage. And she got married again, and lived happily for herself. And my client has suffered all these 20 years. Once a man told me: “Do you deal with divorces? "You make people happy." Yes, divorcing your unloved wife / husband or finding out that you are divorced from him - it is difficult to imagine greater happiness.

Two dads

A rather unique case happened with our client Yura. When he was still a child, his parents divorced, his mother remarried, and Yura was adopted by her new husband. But the biological dad, despite the severed legal connection, did not give up hope of participating in the life of his son, overcame resistance from the boy's mother, established a relationship with the child, and when his son turned 18, he left with him to the United States. Like father and son, based on his original birth certificate. After 20 years, the father died. The boy, who is no longer a “boy, but a husband,” faced a problem. His birth certificate, by which he arrived in the States, was safely lost, and the new birth certificate no longer reflected the name of his own father, the child was adopted, and the adoptive parent was indicated by the father. We unearthed documents from deep archives and proved the relationship with the deceased, which allowed him to become a full-fledged heir after his father's death in the United States.

Material prepared in partnership with

Karina Duval - lawyer, notary, expert in international law

Russian registration: #78/857
NYS registration: 4775086
Notary public, registration: 02DU6376542

tel: + 7 (495) 662-8721 (in Russia) / + 1 (212) 205-2211 (in USA)

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