Vital records offices to hold delayed birth certificate event in Shiprock

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
State of New Mexico Registrar Renee Valencia enters information on her computer on Sept. 22, 2016 at the Northern Navajo Agency Nataani Nez Complex in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — The vital records offices for the Navajo Nation, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado are collaborating to hold a three-day event in Shiprock for those seeking delayed birth certificates.

A delayed birth certificate is a certificate that is created more than one year after the birth occurred.

In a press release from the New Mexico Department of Health, anyone applying for a delayed birth certificate must be able to prove their name at birth, their date of birth, their place of birth and the name of their parents.

They must also prove they were born in either New Mexico, Arizona or Colorado, the release states.

To obtain a delayed birth certificate from the New Mexico Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, an applicant must submit the necessary documentation and pay applicable fees.

For New Mexico, the registration fee is $10 and there is a $10 fee for the certified copy, which is mailed from the office's location in Santa Fe.

The event will be from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 10 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 11-12 at the Shiprock Youth Complex, 4198 U.S. Highway 491 in Shiprock.

State of New Mexico officials and volunteers help Betty Largo, right, with her birth certificate paper work on Sept. 22, 2016 at the Northern Navajo Agency Nataani Nez Complex in Shiprock.

Mark Kassouf, bureau chief for the state's vital records and health statistics, said in an email that a birth certificate is an identity document that is used to create other types of documents, such as a driver's license.

"With the implementation of the Real ID Act in 2016, one of the preferred documents is a birth certificates," Kassouf said.

He added that for individuals who do not have a birth certificate, alternative documents are required to issue a driver's license.

Additionally, the creation of a delayed birth certificate can be used for transactions such as those associated with Social Security, retirement and banking, he said.

The issuance of delayed birth certificates has been important for members of the Navajo Nation. Many lack birth certificates because they were born at home, which was common practice before hospitals were established on the reservation.

In response to this concern, the state vital records office has been working with the Navajo Nation Office of Vital Records since 2016 to help tribal members born in New Mexico obtain delayed birth certificates.

The effort has grown to include collaboration from the two agencies as well as vital records offices in Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

Kassouf said the event next week is beneficial because representatives from the Arizona and Colorado vital records offices will be there to assist customers.

The multi-state event marks the second consecutive year staff from these agencies will be in one location to help people born in the three states obtain delayed birth certificates, according to the state health department press release.

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

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