Saturday, May 15, 2010

Citizenship Saturday: Review of Vital Chek

Has anyone used this website at all to order your documents for the dual citizenship process? If you have, please share with us your experiences in the comment section. If not, continue to read.

The first time I used Vital Chek, my mother's birth certificate was ordered. New York used to provide these strange looking certificates after the birth of a child. They were tiny black sheets, which over time, my parents' began disintegrating. Think of a carbon copy of a document! In essence, my parents were wandering around birth certificate-less. My mother's birth certificate arrived quite quickly, and she was happy to have a newer copy, which hopefully will not fall apart so easily. Since ordering her document last year, it seems as though New York has made it more difficult to acquire certificates....

In April, my father and I ordered my birth certificate, his birth certificate, and his mother's birth certificate. Somehow, his came the fastest. Though it still came a month after having ordered it. My grandmother's birth certificate order was cancelled. In spite of it stating we had provide a copy of both the front and back of his driver's license OR a copy of a current utility bill. This was not good enough. A copy of the driver's license had to be sent several times because it was supposedly "illegible". On the last try, we sent a copy of his original birth certificate and a copy of her death certificate. Everything checked out fine. Vital Chek had finally accepted the papers. However, it was canceled by the Department of Health stating we also needed to provide a copy of our utility bills. The process will have to be started all over again for her papers, and they only gave a partial refund, after charging me an extra $30 for each document I ordered for some reason unbeknownst to me.

After over a month, my birth certificate had still not come through. As I had previously experienced, the agency takes forever to respond to e-mail. The last time I had e-mailed them, it took two weeks for them to respond. Whoever sent the e-mail stated it would be better to call. Ha! The other day, I tried to check the status of my document on their website, but it would not allow me as it had been over 45 days since the order date. After being annoyed by hearing nothing from them, I decided to call.... which lead to nothing as well. The automated message stated I may have to wait up to a half hour, as the volume of calls was high. I thought to myself, 'perhaps calling later in the day, my chances will be better.'

Well, no need to call! I was finally sent an e-mail stating my papers would be arriving soon! Now, if only I knew what happened to my order of my great grandmother's birth certificate from the archives......

What a headache!


  1. Great blog! I wish I started one when I started my own process of obtaining dual citizenship. I have my first appointment on the 10th of Sept. ... it's taken me 2 1/2 years (mostly, because I didn't have any background information). I have all my documents now - don't give up!

    Best of luck - Marie

  2. Marie,

    Gathering all the information was certainly a feat unto itself. Another applicant I know spent 2 years collecting everything she needed, and recently had her appointment (at the end of July).

    Wish you the best of luck with your appointment! Which consulate are you applying through?