View Full Version : birth certificate problems

02-21-2004, 09:29 AM
I may have a problem, I'm not sure. I have a COPY of my birth cert dated 1975 (I was born in 1974). The seal is barely visible. Will this be a problem?
An even bigger problem is that 1 letter in my 1st name was spelled wrong on my birth cert. My parents never noticed! (how could they not??? i have no idea!!) I didn't want to spend the money on a passport so I am taking my chances. Do you think I will have problems?

02-21-2004, 09:38 AM
My travel agent looked at all our birth certificates to make sure they were good. There was one that wasnt (from 1972). So I had to call the county to get a certified copy. I recieved it in less than a week. Wasnt hard at all. I think it was $18.00.

02-21-2004, 09:49 AM
Does anyone know if anyone was ever denied embarkation due to a birth cert?

02-21-2004, 11:55 AM
I would say with all the extra security these days...get a new birth cert...really not expensive....and having a new one..would be much better than not being able to board the ship.

Why take any chances.

02-21-2004, 12:25 PM
We had a similar problem. We have cruised before on RCC and we did have to order new birth cert. because we (DH & I) were born in 1956 (okay so we're old!!!LOL) and at the time the state didn't use "raised seals". The new ones only cost us $7.00 each. No biggie!!! But this year we will be doing the Disney Cruise Lines for the first time and we booked thru AAA and the TA there said since my name now, because I got married (27 long yrs. ago) and my name printed on my birth cert. ( my maiden name) aren't the same, that I would also have to bring along a copy of my marriage cert. WHAT??? I didn't have to do this with RCC. Of course I didn't have any idea where I put my marriage lisence, I had to contact our courthouse and order a new one. It was only $12.00 but I don't understand the need. The TA said I MUST have this "proof of name change" because of the added security now. Has anyone else been instructed to do this also or is my TA overacting a bit?

Second problem... I changed the spelling of my first name from Linda to Lynda when I was in third grade. Just because I thought the "y" was so much cooler!!!! (Hey, that's how Wonder Woman spells her first name!! LOL) This same TA says I must get a letter notarized by a notary stating the reason my first name is spelled differently on my birth cert. from all my "legal papers now. Again I didn't have any problems with this on RCC but I am following my TA's instruction just to be safe. WHATEVER!!!

02-21-2004, 12:26 PM
It is pretty easy to get a new birth certificate, especially since you aren't looking to dig way back into the distant past ;) That said, every official birth certificate I've seen says on it clearly that it is a certified copy (issued by the county of birth, different from an "informational copy" or one given by the hospital), and that's what matters, not the raised seal per se.

02-21-2004, 12:46 PM
I know many folks order new birth certificates from the Deptartment of Vital Statistics online. It has a very quick turnaround time too.

02-21-2004, 12:55 PM
EmmasGrammy, I have never had to take a copy of my marriage license. Your birth certificate last name will be different if you are married. I think your TA is a tad bit over doing it, just my opinion. You are also not old, hubby and I were born in 1957 lol. If you plan on cruising more I suggest you get a passport and be done with it. The passport is so much easier than the birth cert. and photo id. Have a great cruise. Kathy

02-21-2004, 12:58 PM



02-21-2004, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by EmmasGrammy

Second problem... I changed the spelling of my first name from Linda to Lynda when I was in third grade. Just because I thought the "y" was so much cooler!!!! (Hey, that's how Wonder Woman spells her first name!! LOL) This same TA says I must get a letter notarized by a notary stating the reason my first name is spelled differently on my birth cert. from all my "legal papers now. Again I didn't have any problems with this on RCC but I am following my TA's instruction just to be safe. WHATEVER!!!

I didn't have a problem with my birth certificate and my license... I also changed my name myself... I added an extra N in my legal name (WHICH I HATE), no one noticed or even questioned the two N's on my license. I never went to a Notary or asked for a letter and have never had a problem.

02-21-2004, 02:10 PM
At your age, obtaining a new birth cert shouldn't be a problem. On the bottom of my cruise documents from Costco, here is what the note says:

"We strongly suggest that all U.S. citizens traveling outside the U.S. carry a passport valid for 6 months after your return to the United States."

I know alot of people think its silly for getting one to go on a cruise. They are good for 10 years, if this is a once in a lifetime thing, then don't do it. But if you think you may leave the country within the next 10 years, then I would suggest get one. In this world climate we live in, look at what's up with Haiti now, does anyone know if RCCL still stops at Labadee for their private island? I wouldn't want to have issues there now!

02-21-2004, 02:14 PM
You do NOT need a copy of your marriage certificate. DCL is very used to women with one name on birth certificate and another on driver's license. The birth dates and first names will match.

As to an incorrect birth certificate, I'd get a corrected copy. Again, for security reasons, they can be quite strict. DCL has to comply with US Customs & Immigration requirements, so it is the government being the sticklers, not DCL. It is cheap and easy to get a new birth certificate.

The key point to the birth certificate is that it is "certified." It must be a legal birth certificate issued by the state, not a souvenier certificate from a hospital.

Turn around time on the birth certificate probably varies by state, but it took about 10 days to get one for my daughter when her adoption became final.

02-21-2004, 02:59 PM
My parents are going on a Carnival cruise this week and were told by their TA that as of March 1, 2004, you need to have a passport for most, if not all, of the Carribean Islands. They will no longer accept birth certificates and driver's licenses anymore. Since they are returning after March 1, they needed to run out and get passports right away. Anyone else hear something similar?

Also, about the marriage license.....we have been on a couple of cruises and I have never been asked for proof of name change or a marriage license before.

02-21-2004, 03:39 PM
Well now you have me scared.
I think the part about the name change because of marriage is stupid though... they have to have a LOT of women boarding that have different last names than they were born with due to marriage!
But my birth certificate spelling of my first name is Shelly when it's always been Shelley (my mom says they did the BC wrong- but how do you prove that 34yrs later? Would I have to go through an actual name change and the cost/etc. it takes to do that??) and so Shelley is on my DL, SS card, etc. Everything is Shelley... certified birth certificate says Shelly.

Is that going to cause problems on the cruise? I worry now...

Miss Eeyore
02-21-2004, 04:44 PM
When we discovered (when I needed my birth certificate to go away to college) that my first name had been mis-spelled, this is what I did (in the state of Washington). According to our state laws, anyone can legally call themselves anything, as long as it is not for criminal purposes. This is the same in many states. I simply had to "assume" the use of the name. So I contacted social security and informed them of the name "change", went to the dept. of motor vehicles and asked for a new driver's lisence with the "new" name, and they snapped the picture, and I had a new dl with the correct name.

Later in life, when dh and I started cruising, we did go the passport route, since it is more convenient.


02-21-2004, 05:36 PM
I don't want to change my name (on DL, SS card, etc.) to the way it's spelled on my birth certificate. I've lived with this name spelling my entire life... I don't consider the way it's spelled on the BC the "correct" name. There lies the problem... I'm not changing my name on everything to match the BC.

02-21-2004, 11:02 PM
Stimpy, the new restriction "rumor" where started because Barbados is, as of 3/1/04, requiring travelers (not cruisers) to use a valid US passport.
We're going on Carnival in the fall and I had heard the same thing. I checked both with AAA and Carnival and unless you are disembarking at a foreign port (like anyone ever does that) you are considered "in-transit" so you, usually, don't have to go through immigration. Carnival also stated that if it ever becomes a requirement at any of the port for passengers to have passports, they will notify cruisers.

No worries.

02-21-2004, 11:25 PM
The "rumor"was not a rumor. On the cruise critic web site under cruise news they reported it which was exactly what my TA told me a few weeks back. The good news is that they just decided to be less restricted on cruise passengers and that article is also on the cruise critic news board. Now Barbados is insisting they only ment intransit people, ie people who would be staying in Barbados for a length of time or leaving via the airport. Maybe they realized the dollars they would be losing from US cruise tourists who only have birth certificates. My TA was concerned on how she was going to inform cruisers going on Spring Break they would have to all have passports! If no passports the port of Barbados would be considered a day at sea and there was not enough time to get the passports! Thankfully the situation is now passed. Kathy

02-21-2004, 11:56 PM
We are dealing with the exact same issue... we are going on the May 1st Eastern and taking my mom with us. She is 60 years old and has always spelled her name Kathaleen, on DL, SS card, etc. She has never seen an official copy of her birth cert, believe it or not. So we request a copy, and discover that her name is actually spelled Kathleen. She, like you, has no interest in changing her name, as she has spelled it with an "a" her whole life and my neice is named after her, also spelled with an "a". So I called Disney, and they said they would simply change her name on the travel docs to Kathleen to match the Birth Cert, and said it would not matter if the DL had a different spelling, as long as their manifest and her birth cert matched.

Hope this helps,

Miss Eeyore
02-22-2004, 03:04 AM
I didn't change to match the spelling on the BC, I assumed the use of my name spelled the way I had always spelled it.....and it was all legal. And when it was time for the passport, I used my BC (with the mis-spelled first name) and my DL with the correct spelling......and it is spelled correctly (my way) on the passport. And there were no questions asked about any of it.


02-22-2004, 08:29 AM
Despite pesky rumors that my birth certificate is so old that it's etched on a stone tablet, I also have a well worn certificate with a barely noticeable raised seal.

I've never had a problem using it, and I most definitely never needed my marriage license.

I don't think that you have any reason to worry.

02-22-2004, 01:39 PM
As a TA, I have contacted many vendors with name spelling "errors" and each and every time I have been told as long as it is only ONE letter off its not a problem. Hope this helps those of you who have changed your names!

02-22-2004, 01:46 PM
If it helps anyone feel better, on both kids' BC's, it says their father was born in one particular city here in MA...then I went and found HIS, as he doesn't have a passport, for use on our recent cruise, looked at it, and found out that he was born in a totally DIFFERENT city than he thought! SOOoooo...on HIS BC it says he was born in City #1, and on the kids' BC's it says their father was born in City #2...

It was not a problem at all. They only looked to see that the certificates were valid (ie. raised seals), and compared DH's to his license, but that was it.

Now, as to the problem of DH not even knowing where he was born...my MIL found this extremely amusing, as he had put down the city where SHE was born instead! *snicker*

I'll have to go fix that soon, I guess, so that 15 yrs from now when they're cruising they won't get stressed out about it. *wink*

02-22-2004, 02:42 PM
In most states, you have time to get a certified copy of your birth certificate as long as you are not leaving today. When we went, we all had our original bc, but we wanted copies in the event the luggage was lost, etc. It is very easy...

1. You find a local department of records; there is usually one in every city.
2. You go down there with cash only (as the will not take checks or credit cards) Usually between $6 - $15, depending on your state.
3. Most require you show a valid drivers license, your ss card and taking your original would not hurt you.
4. You pay them cash, wait about 15 mnutes, you have it, a witness signs it and stamps the seal on it and you are good to go.

An hour of your time and you are all ready for your cruise.

Happy Sailing!!!

PS - You can also get the information online. It will tell you what is required. Just look in a search engine for vital records and your state.

02-22-2004, 02:53 PM
We were never asked for a birth certificate, passport or anything else on our 3 day wonder. Not from our TA and not at check-in. This was this past August. On our way off the boat, we had packed our birth certificates with our luggage and had to spend a half hour going through everything to find them. Then they never asked to see them. I wouldnt worry about it. You may never need to show them.

02-22-2004, 03:13 PM
What?? Are you saying you went on the cruise without being asked for either a BC or passport? That seems so odd....

02-22-2004, 03:20 PM
They checked our BCs when we arrived at the resort. They looked over our creds with a fine tooth comb. They thumbbed through our DCL booklets, took what they needed and checked us into POFQ.

When we arrived in Port Canaveral, they told us to take our "Key to the World" and go straight to the mouse ears. We were never asked for our BC while we were on the cruise ship. However, they did ask to see our "Key to the World" and DL everytime we got on and off the ship.

02-22-2004, 03:34 PM
Well that's why then... they'd already checked it at the resort. :)

02-22-2004, 04:52 PM
I also had a weird situation with my bc- I never got one until I was 5 (blaim my mother for that one...) and have since changed my name and gotten married- I decided that instead of taking my chances of confusing the poor DCL desk clerk I applied for a passport- I confused the heck outta the poor Passport lady instead... But after a few calls everything was just fine and I should be receiving it this month :)

As for my son- When he went to Africa we got him a passport even though technically he is exempt under some rule they had but its so much easier as its pretty universal vs how many different types of bcs there are... :)

Lesson number 1- Always get a BC for your kids right after they are born... Much easier on them-

02-22-2004, 05:23 PM
Lesson number 2- after getting the BC right after they are born- be sure to check everything carefully! And get things corrected ASAP if there are mispellings or other errors.
(that's the one my mother didn't bother to do. She said she noticed years later that my name was mispelled on the BC)

02-22-2004, 05:35 PM
We also stayed at carribean beach for the first week. We checked in there for DCL and they never checked. I did not have a photo ID and went through heck trying to get my picture on my drivers license to the point that we almost didnt go on the cruise. I finally got the license done a couple of weeks before we left. If you get married nowadays, dont change your last name. Any way, thats a long story in itself. But I was kind of mad that I went through all that and was never asked for any kind of ID.

02-22-2004, 07:46 PM
HELP! After reading all these post about the BC issues, I'm worried that I might have a problem. My certified BC has the spelling of my middle name wrong. It is spelled "Don" instead of "Dawn" (all my other identification shows correct Dawn). I also have a very old amendment to change the spelling from 1969 which after taking a closer look at it noticed that although the form was filled out, it was never notorized. I confirmed with my mom that she never sent the change in to have it corrected. I am less than 2 weeks from leaving on our trip!!!! I called DCL to ask if it would be a problem if I can show all my other forms of identification with the correct spelling..and he said it "should be fine". I was not reassured with his half-hearted response. We will be checking into the POR for the first part of the package and from what I have read, that is where all the docs are checked, and when it comes time to go cruisin, all we would need to do is board. No checking in etc. Well, long story short, I just called the front desk at the POR to ask about the docs since they are the ones that would be approving/disapproving what I had. The gal told me they no longer check the docs there at the hotel and it will be the cruise line that will be doing it. Sooooo...I really want to find out should I be worried?? I don't think I have time to get my BC corrected and sent to me...should I panic???

02-22-2004, 08:38 PM
Do you absolutely HAVE to have a birth certificate with you? Will a license and social security card do? My husband just discovered that he does not have his BC and we are leaving Thursday!!! I have his parents searching for it, but fear that I may have to go to the city he was born in to get a copy and even wonder if I can get it that quickly!? I am really scared now!

02-22-2004, 09:31 PM
Kingskid...I've been reading conflicting info about the birth certs. My cruise docs state that you MUST have either BC or passport plus another form of ID like drivers license. I just went online to my states' bureau of vital statistics to get info on how to get it fast. Since there is a processing time, I doubt you would be able to get it via mail by time you leave. I would get the phone number to call directly to see what is suggested and what you would need to get it if you were to do a "walk in". Your hubby might have to be the one to go and get it. Nothing like last minute panic situation huh? If you are close enough to go to city he was born, I'd do that instead of chancing that they wont ask to see it. Good luck!!

02-22-2004, 10:09 PM
I seem to remember that a voter's registration card also serves as proof of citizenship (coupled with a positive photo ID, that is). Might be best to check this out though.

02-23-2004, 02:11 PM
Thank you, Jesus! You'll never guess where I found my DH's birth certificate. First i called his parents to see if they, per chance, had a copy or the original. His father looked around, but couldn't find it. This morning it dawned on me to look in the baby book his mother had made him (she's extremely organized!) and would you believe that it was there. THE ORIGINAL was glued down to the page!!! I carefully peeled it off the page (without tearing it!) thanks to the really old glue. PHEW! Yea, nothing quite like a last minute fire to put out. I'm just thankful I thought to look there!!! Thanks for looking into it for me though!

03-01-2004, 04:55 PM




Rock'n Robin
03-01-2004, 05:10 PM
Just a quick note--as of the second week of February, RCCL was still stopping at their "island" which is a peninsula of Haiti. One of my students was on a RCCL and told me they had stopped in Haiti and I didn't believe him! He said it was separated from the rest of the island by concrete and barbed wire.
I'm sure that has changed now, but he was there when it was getting a little hairy!:eek:
Robin M.

03-03-2004, 10:10 PM
Can get them onliner here:
a little more expensive than going to your state's vital records division, but alot more convenient.