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al111 13 | 89
13 Aug 2010 #1
So my mate is now in a difficult situation with his USC office. After he got married they retained his Original Birthcertificate (south african) and returned the notarized and certified photocopy. He wants his original back for the obvious reasons, his country will not issue out another one unless the first one was lost or stolen. The Big lady running the show at his local USC is refusing to budge saying the case is already closed. To me it sounds logical that he just wants his original back and give them the notarized and photocopy they were supposed to have retained in the first place.

Any lawyers out there with advice as to what next step to take for him to recover his original would be fully appreciated.

Seanus 15 | 19,704
13 Aug 2010 #2
Yeah, this is a strange one indeed. I read up on this beforehand as I saw that they wanted to retain mine too. I insisted that they didn't and saw it the whole time. They returned it in my presence.

As for the situation of your friend, I'd simply make the case that he could provide a fully-authorised notarial copy in exchange for his original. They have no reason to keep his original, it's not theirs. The poster, delphiandomine, takes care of such matters. I am legally trained but am not sure of the legal position on this one. I would say, based on my general legal knowledge, that they could retain his birth certificate but only for a specific time. After that, they have no business possessing it. They perform the necessary check and then they give it back.
13 Aug 2010 #3
Given that he can only get another original if his is lost or stolen, I'd suggest that he writes to the USC and tells them that fact and stresses that because his application for a new original needs to be accompanied by a police report regarding the theft of his original, he's going to have to report this to the police. Obviously he is very sorry about this and he hopes that it won't cause any problems for them but his country's law requires him to take this action.

If they still won't budge, call the SA embassy in Warsaw. They are one of the most useful embassies in Poland and I'm sure they'd be happy to give the USC in question a call and politely ask them to release the original.

If that doesn't work, go to the local police office and report the certificate as stolen. Get a copy of the police report and send that off to get a new original.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,322
13 Aug 2010 #4
Harry and Seanus have pretty much comprehensively covered it - I suspect they'll budge once the threat of getting the police involved happens.
13 Aug 2010 #5
threat of getting the police involved

Make sure that it is not perceived as a threat. Just let them know that while you will deeply regret needing to involve the police, your home country's law leaves you with no other choice (obviously you can not tell your home country's that your original certificate is lost because that would be untrue and would open you up to legal liability).
Seanus 15 | 19,704
13 Aug 2010 #6
What on Earth are they playing at anyway? I can remember getting quite angry when I read the bumff on it. In probably all countries, your birth certificate must be protected like gold. Maybe not in Obama's case, but you know....
OP al111 13 | 89
14 Aug 2010 #7
Thanks to all who contributed, this means a lot to my mate and he is already in the process of writing a letter which he'll send this coming week.

Will keep u posted on how it goes for the benefit of all those caught up in the same predicament..
Seanus 15 | 19,704
14 Aug 2010 #8
You are welcome! Good luck! They have no right to keep that document, this is not communism :)
OP al111 13 | 89
23 Dec 2010 #9
Thought i should update this one for the benefit of those in the same situation. My friend finally resolved his issue but went through a rough spot. He had to get a lawyer involved coz apparently the people in his local USC and the police were not willing to help.He even called the The Home Office Ministry in Warsaw and the incompetent people there simply told him it was up to the Director of The USC whether to give it back and retain the Notarized Birthcertificate or not.According to the law once documents are retained on the day of the Civil Marriage they can not be returned,(for the reason that maybe they only believe in original hard copies) so it's true that he should have insisted or even hired a lawyer to be in attendance on the day its self. In some Towns they have no problems in returning back the Original Birthcertificate to it's owner(once they have seen it and made copies) but in some they do. I guess it kinda sums up what this country is all about. A Bunch of jokers....

But any way to cut a long story short they agreed to give him a Polish Birthcertificate which he now has and can use while living in the country.
Malina11 - | 3
29 Mar 2011 #10
Hi All

To avoid such situations as described above - it is wise to request a full extract of a vital record from your birthplace (in Australia it costs about $25); that way, even if the document is withheld by the Polish authorities (and they do have a right to do so when registering a birth of the foreigner in the Polish Registry Office), there are no dramas and regrets over the "original" original...
OP al111 13 | 89
29 Mar 2011 #11
(and they do have a right to do so when registering a birth of the foreigner in the Polish Registry Office)

Understandably so Malina, they have the right to keep the original copy of the Birthcertificate when registering a foreigner in their registry.It's always good to have more copies of your birth record but not all countries in the world will print multiple copies coz you feel they should some need a reason for the second copy and some will not, simply coz of their security concern. The main issue here was that the person got married in that same office USC(had it been in another office then for sure they would demand another BC) and they retained his original copy,(Where in some Towns and Cities they only keep the notarized copies) he still lives in the same town and they were demanding another copy of the birthcerificate(Which they already have in their files after he got married there) in order to be registered in the Polish Registry.This just needs a bit of understanding thats all. In this case my colleague was told by his embassy in Warsaw that they had never heard of such a case where original documents of a foreigner were kept just because they got married in a foreign country. He even told me that when he got the Polish Birthcertificate they got all his information from his civil marriage that they have in their system so it was just a matter of filling in the application form, explain why you need it, pay the fee and they printed it thats all. Then again i'm not saying it works out like this for everyone, you need to do a lot of homework before you part with your documents in a foreign country.
22 Sep 2011 #12
I have an interesting question. I lost my original birth certificate with both parents information on the certificate. Later I sent for another and it only had my mothers information on it and my father whom I never met isnt on the birth certificate any longer. How do I get the original birth certificate?
joepilsudski 26 | 1,389
22 Sep 2011 #13
Any lawyers out there with advice as to what next step to take for him to recover his original would be fully appreciated.

Unfortunately, you seemed to make a mistake when you gave to much info to the slovenly bureaucrat, and now she is toying with you...

He should try writing directly, or emailing the South African office of Vital Statistics, or perhaps the one for his province in South Africa...For instance, if he was born in Western Cape simply contact the province office of Vital Statistics, or whatever they call it, and order a duplicate birth from them...Just say he lost it.