Clinics designed to address delayed birth certificates, Real ID issues

Events will be held in July and August

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Shenika Sam, left, and Myron Ben fill out paperwork for a birth certificate for their son Mikaiya Ben in a file photo from Sept. 22, 2016, at the Northern Navajo Agency Nataani Nez Complex in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — Continued collaboration between Navajo Nation and New Mexico state government offices has resulted in the establishment of clinics where tribal members can receive help obtaining delayed birth certificates and Real ID driver's licenses or identification cards.

The Navajo Nation Council's Office of the Speaker has been working with Navajo Office of Vital Records and Identification, New Mexico Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, and the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division to bring the services the agencies provide to three communities on the reservation this month and in August.

Representatives of each agency will be on hand to answer questions about the process for obtaining delayed birth certificates and Real ID cards or to assist those who are applying for the credentials.

The collaboration between the tribal and state vital records offices is part of an effort to helping Navajos who lack birth certificates because they were born at home in New Mexico.

Sophina Tyler, a staff assistant for the Speaker's Office, said the issue remains a concern for council delegates who represent chapters in New Mexico, and that is why the speaker's office organized the clinics.

Mark Kassouf, bureau chief for the state's vital records and health statistics, said approximately 1,200 people have received delayed birth certificates after attending previous clinics.

To apply for a delayed birth certificate, applicants must have legal documentation of their birth, pay a $10 registration fee and pay a $10 fee for the certified copy, which is mailed from the state office in Santa Fe.

Applicants are required to bring at least two certified copies or original documentation that show the person's name at the time they were born, a date of birth and a place of birth.

At least one document must list the person's parents' names, including the mother's maiden name.

Jerry Valdez, deputy director for the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, shares information about the requirements to apply for a Real ID driver's license at the town hall meeting on Oct. 13 at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint.

Examples of acceptable documentation are church records, hospital or medical records, government birth affidavits, a Certificate of Indian Blood, military service or discharge records, and life or medical insurance policies.

Kassouf said the spelling of names and dates of birth should be consistent on the documentation.

He added that personnel from the vital records offices in Arizona, Colorado and Utah will participate for the three dates scheduled this month in Window Rock.

This multi-state effort is designed to help tribal members receive information or start the process for obtaining delayed birth certificates from those states, Kassouf said.

Real ID driver's licenses, identification cards

New Mexico started issuing driver's licenses and identification cards in November 2016 that comply with the federal Real ID Act.

Real ID driver's licenses and identification cards require applicants to provide one proof of identification number, one proof of identity and age, and two proofs of New Mexico physical residency.

Acceptable documents include Social Security cards, W-2 forms, U.S. passports, original or certified copies of birth certificates, current real property rental or purchase agreements, or utility bills.

Residents of the Navajo Nation may use for proof of residency their utility bill from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority if it lists the physical location of their home.

An alternative to Real ID driver's licenses and identification cards are noncomplaint driver's licenses and identification cards.

Helen Antonio attended the town hall meeting on Oct. 13 to tell tribal and state officials about the problem she is having to prove a physical address in Littlewater Chapter.

To receive noncompliant cards, applicants must provide one proof of identity, one proof of identification number and two proofs of New Mexico residency. Another option is providing two proofs of identity and two proofs of New Mexico residency.

Jerry Valdez, deputy director for the motor vehicle division, said the division's mobile unit will be on site for each clinic, and it will offer all services except the written test for driver's licenses.

"We look forward to serving the communities," Valdez said adding this is the first time the mobile unit will visit Window Rock, a move that needed permission since state lines will be crossed.

For more information about the clinics, contact the Navajo Office of Vital Records and Identification at 928-871-6386 or the Office of the Speaker at 928-871-7160.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

Schedule for clinics


Noon to 4 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, both at the Navajo Office of Vital Records and Identification.

Window Rock, Arizona

Noon to 4 p.m. on July 16 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 17-18 at the Department of Diné Education, 2556 Morgan Blvd.


Noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 6 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 7, noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 22 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Nataani Nez Complex Building.