I was planning on posting this in the "chat" section but I thought maybe it is a worthwhile question.

Here is some background

  • I am an Indian citizen in the USA on an F1 visa.
  • I have received a job offer/convention d'accueil from a French research lab (in France)
  • The French lab/French government want me to produce two original birth certificates that are apostiled for health insurance, social security purposes.
  • The Ministry of external (MEA) affairs in India will apostil my birth certificates for me... but...
    • The MEA wants me to appear in person with my birth cert.
    • If I am to have someone else do this on my behalf (viz., my father), they would need me to prove that I am out of the country.
    • The one approach they recommended is to fax a copy of my passport, I-94 and US F1 Visa copies to an Indian fax machine. The idea is that the facsimile would have a US telephone number associated with it.

The problem

  • Not withstanding the lack of wisdom on the MEA's part that one can spoof US phone numbers via online fax websites etc., I am unable to fax documents from my little town in the Upper Midwest of the USA due to technical difficulties and the fact that my town has only one (that is correct ladies and gentlemen!) fax machine. The nearest fax machine is about 6 hours away.

The question

What other "legal" (want of a better word) methods may I use to prove that I am in the USA and that I CANNOT appear in person at the MEA in India to get my birth certificates apostilled? NO, I cannot appear in person at the MEA in India. For a variety of reasons, I am unable to travel the 6 hours to the nearest fax machine and unfortunately this would appear to be non-negotiable.

  • 1
    What about the online fax services you mentioned? Since you really are in the US, there wouldn't be anything deceptive about that I think. If a proper fax machine or scanner are not available, you should at least be able to find someone with a smartphone and have them take of picture of the document.
    – Gala
    Mar 20, 2014 at 11:57
  • 1
    @GaëlLaurans I didn't want to do that since the Indian MEA is short on imagination and does not appreciate "technology". So it would be better to deign to their wishes or I won't get my documents attested and will end up losing a lucrative job! :(
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 13:22
  • You can't prove you can't appear in person in India because you can (unless you're a refugee, whcih would significantly change many things). You can argue that fullfilling formal requirements produces unreasonable costs (both material and immaterial) for you. I really can't understand what are those birth certificates for. Your passport should contain birthdate, and it's an official document confirming when you were born. The fact you were born is already confirmed by your existence. Anyway, wish you luck fighting with bureaucracy.
    – user41
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:49
  • 1
    Anyway, I can't understand how can it be you're in condition that would enable you to travel to France, but makes 6 hour drive unbearable.
    – user41
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:52
  • @Łukasz웃Lツ Try driving in the whiteout snow conditions we have =). I travel to france in the summer. After the thaw.
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:59

5 Answers 5


I don't see any issue with using an online system to send the fax. You are in the US so you are not breaking any rules. That said, you may not want to give a random internet company an electronic copy your personal documents.

Many stores and frequently hotels have fax machines. I would be surprised if the nearest fax machine was really 6 hours away. In years past, I often sent faxes from hotels that I was not staying at. It might be harder to convince someone to send an international fax for you. Have you asked at your nearest hotel? What at the nearest hospital? It is amazing the extent to which people will take advantage of their employers for friends or a $20 bill.

Only a slightly more expensive option is to buy a fax machine since they are pretty cheap these days. For example, Staples sells one for $40 with free shipping, and if you search longer you will likely be able to find a better deal. This seems cheaper than a trip to India or a 6 hour drive. You could ideally then resell the machine after you are done with it. If not you could donate it to someone in your town since they seem in need of a fax machine.

  • Hospital: 100 miles away (we only have a local clinic), no staples unless I drive 6 hours ( need documents faxed asap so cannot go on internet shopping trip), cannot buy fax machine in this town. Yes, I live in the middle of nowhere. Hotel=good idea. Will check.
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:20
  • Local hotel = "sorry we don't do international faxes! have a good day!" I did tell them that it was an emergency and that I would pay them for it.
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:25
  • @drN It would surprise me if the local clinic didn't have a fax machine. It wouldn't surprise me if you could get next day delivery from Staples although you might be far enough out there that it would take a few days.
    – StrongBad
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:26
  • +1 for your comment about "town needs fax machine"! -several million to town that is completely deficient-ish.
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    My VOIP provider (in Poland) offered sending faxes, but I think I've never actually used that option...
    – user41
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:51

This is what consulates are for.

You should contact the Indian consulate for the area in which you reside, and ask them what is required from you for them to provide the certification their bosses at home asked you for. Most likely they'll ask you to appear personally in the consulate office. If you live far they may provide another solution. But basically - that is literally what they're there for.


Take a picture of you holding the local newspaper (date, and place), your passport and/or the e-mail they sent to you asking for proving your are out of India. Send it to your parents, and bring it to the MEA office.

Hope you the best.

  • I was thinking along those lines as well!
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 18:07
  1. You can provide notarized affidavit and there will be notarized stamp on it and will provide a proof and you are in US
  2. Along with 1. get notarized and send your passport/visa/i94 copies by overnight mail.

The cheapest fax machine would cost less then $35 and can be ordered online to be delivered at your place. Just hook it up with your phone line and send a fax from your own number if you are not comfortable sending an electronic fax.

$35 is going to be a lot cheaper then making a 6 hour journey or going to the nearest consulate.

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