Saturday, March 8, 2008

Missionaries Carrying Birth Certificates on their LDS Missions

When my daughter went on her mission we didn't remember to send her birth certificate with her. Even though she was going on a foreign mission we expected since she had her passport that she would have no trouble. Unfortunately for Visa purposes missionaries need a copy of their birth certificate since it is a different process that involves the host country allowing them entry.

The policy of carrying a copy of a missionaries birth certificate dates back to 1986:
"Birth Certificates for Missionary Candidates. As part of the recommendation process, each missionary candidate should obtain a certified copy of his birth certificate. If he does not already have one, he should request one from the clerk of the county where he was born or from other appropriate government agencies (such as the Department of Vital Statistics or Department of Health). He should specify that he needs a certified copy. By obtaining this certificate at the time of recommendation, the candidate can save considerable time in obtaining a visa and thus avoid frustrating delays in entering the mission field if he is assigned to a mission outside his own country. The candidate should keep the certificate and, if he is assigned to a mission outside his own country, use it in applying for a passport or visa according to the instructions received from Murdock Travel."

Fortunately we were close by in Utah or we might have delayed our daughter's mission. We sent it to her about the third week of her twelve week stay in the MTC so she was not delayed. Visa problems can cause missionaries to have to serve temporarily in other places. A word to the wise is to be prepared by carrying copies of birth certificates, U.S. driver's licenses, and your social security card. I remember on my own mission how several elders from Brazil came up to Toronto for a month or two before going on to their missions. There can be delays for many reasons with Visa's so why create a problem read the missionary letter carefully it will solve a lot of problems later.

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