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donnap May 21st, 2004 05:42 PM

Birth Certificate Question
This week I received copies of 2 of my sons' birth certificates. I had requested Certified copies through Vital Check. The certificate which came from FL does have a small raised seal on the bottom left corner. The certificate which came from VA does not have a raised seal. Both certificates have "water marks" on them. I've always had the raised-seal type of Certified birth certificates to use when cruising in the past. So, I was very leary of these new certificates. When I questioned someone in the FL Dept. of Health, she told me that the certificates which they are now issuing use "water marks" rather than raised seals, and that she assumed other states were doing the same.

Has anyone else received a Certified copy of a birth certificate that did NOT have a raised seal on it? Did you have problems using this type of certificate during the embarkation process?


cruzfever May 21st, 2004 11:47 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
Last year I had to get a certified copy of my birth certificate. I live in Los Angeles County CA. and they too use the "water mark" paper now without a raised seal. I had no problem with embarkment.
Enjoy your cruise!

donnap May 22nd, 2004 12:35 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
Thanks Roberta! Reading your reply is reassuring.

MeAGNL8agn May 22nd, 2004 05:24 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
My almost 19 year old neice went with our family on a cruise last week. Her birth certificate is from Kansas and did not have a raised seal. She had no problems using it.

Jim Bragg May 23rd, 2004 01:39 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
Not all states use the raised seals. The immigration folks know which ones do and don't so no worries. You really may want to think seriously about passports as they are the same the world over and universally accepted and accepted quickly without any problems.

fsdj1097 May 25th, 2004 03:18 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
Passports are the way to go.

They're good for 10 years and are accepted worldwide.

We had problems with "certified" copies of birth certificates last year and will never travel again without a passport.

It only takes about 4-6 weeks to get your passport and is more than worth the trouble and expense.

JeanS May 25th, 2004 04:42 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
Passports are currently NOT necessary. I know many people believe that "passports are the way to go" but hubby & I have been cruising for MANY years without them without ANY problems at all! No need to spend the high price and time waiting for a passport if you aren't going to be a world traveler.

cthrn27 May 25th, 2004 04:53 PM

Re: Re: Birth Certificate Question
regarding birth certifictes.... my 15 year old son will be cruising with us and he looks "mature" for his age. I was wondering if I should also try to get him a state I.d. as back up (like a driver's license ) because it has a picture on it? I'm a little bit nervous about just using B. Cert's but Carnival assures me it's fine?????? any thoughts?

thanks all

LisaK May 26th, 2004 09:25 AM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
cthrn27 - does your son have a school id with his picture on it? That's what our friends used with their teens, no problems.

KarenConley June 23rd, 2004 07:01 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
I am from Virginia and had to order a new copy of my birth certificate. My certificate came with the water mark also. Talked to my Travel agent and she said that Carnival would accept these since these where state issued. I am putting my faith in her that she knows what she is talking about

LisaK June 24th, 2004 10:03 AM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
its not so much the embarkation as the disembarkation process where the birth certificate issue can come into play. There are two lines at customs, one for those who have passports and one for those who have BC. The passport line went so much faster and smoother-- in the BC line there was someone telling you, you had to have your paperwork, BC and driver's license in one hand facing such and such a way and have it out and ready to show the agent, such a hassle for some folks.
Also what happens if you have leave suddenly from one of the islands, if you don't have a passport it can be a real problem trying to get out of the country.

AR June 24th, 2004 10:35 AM

Re: Re: Birth Certificate Question

With all due respect, posts like yours are a disservice. I'd like to explain why.

First, you make the blanket statement that because you have been cruising for MANY years without passports, they're unnecessary. But you don't say that you've never cruised to the MANY places in the world where passports are absolutely required. We just returned from a Baltic cruise. Do you reckon we needed our passports? Of course we did. At the very least you should have said that your non-US cruising has been limited to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and maybe Berumuda. However, Canada is now looking unfavorably on inferior documentation, and may soon absolutely require passports.

Which brings me to the second point. You know how stockbrokers have to say that "past performance is no indication of future results?" Well, it's that way with immigration laws, too. What you could slide by with yesterday may be unacceptable tomorrow. But you can count on the fact that the passport will always be the trump card. So the "high price" (which boils down to about five bucks a year or so) represents peace of mind--and a faster trip through some immigration points--for those of us who do believe that "passports are the way to go."

I don't mean to be disrespectful of your point of view, but your post could actually mislead people into thinking that passports are never required on cruises, which is obviously not true. Remember that many who read these boards are novices who don't read between the lines.

JoyceR June 24th, 2004 10:51 AM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
We're getting ready for our first cruise on the Inspiration in August. We were told that becuase we're going to Belize, that we are now required to have a passport. Apparently there was some changes in the laws in Belize as of March of this year - thus the need for the passport.
Maybe it's NOT true - but I figured, better safe than sorry. And since I have great intentions of cruising again - I certainly figure we'll get our money's worth.

cthrn27 June 24th, 2004 12:10 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
We are going to Belize in July with Carnival and Carnival said we didn't need passports. Should I worry?

Darcy June 24th, 2004 12:21 PM

Re: Birth Certificate Question
We just went to Belize in April 2004 and at that time cruise ship passengers did not need passports. Having said that, we have them anyway for ourselves and our children. If something happened during the cruise and we got left behing at any port, or had to make an emergency evacuation, we very well could need the passports in order to leave a country. I read on another board where someone had missed there flight and the ship left and they had to join up in progress. They almost didn't get into Belize, their first port, to join the ship as they did not have a passport. I would urge anyone traveling outside the US to get one. As a previous posted pointed out you never know when the laws will change. Just my 2 cents.

AR June 24th, 2004 02:53 PM

Re: Re: Birth Certificate Question
Here is the link to the current State Department information sheet on Belize (found with a simple Google search).

It says that U.S. citizens must have a passport to enter. It also gives the link to the Embassy of Belize for further information.

A cruise line or a travel agent is the last place I'd look for valid information about entry requirements. The most reliable source is the embassy of the country in question; the next-most-reliable is our State Department, which makes this information readily available.

I'd call or e-mail the embassy.

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