22 CFR 92.79 - Procuring copies of foreign public documents.
(a) Nature of services. When requested to do so by United States citizens or by persons acting in behalf of United States citizens, a consular officer should endeavor to obtain from foreign officials copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates, or copies of other public records such as divorce decrees, probated wills, and so on. The interest of the party requesting the document should be clearly indicated, and there should be good reason for asking for the consular officer's assistance. Persons requesting documents for use in the preparation of family trees or in the compilation of genealogical studies should be referred to a local attorney or to a genealogical research bureau if one is available.
(b) Payment of expenses involved -
(1) Official funds not to be used. The use of official funds to pay for copies of or extracts from foreign public records obtained at the request of private persons is prohibited.
(2) Payment of costs by Federal Government. In instances of requests emanating from departments or agencies of the Federal Government for copies of or extracts from foreign public records, the Department will issue to Foreign Service posts concerned appropriate instructions with respect to the payment of whatever local costs may be entailed if the documents cannot be obtained gratis from the local authorities.
(3) Payment of costs by State or municipal governments. Should State, county, municipal or other authorities in the United States besides the Federal Government request the consular officer to obtain foreign documents, and express willingness to supply documents gratis in analogous circumstances, the consular officer may endeavor on that basis to obtain the desired foreign documents gratis. Otherwise, such authorities should be informed that they must pay the charges of the foreign officials, as well as any fees which it may be necessary for the consular officer to collect under the provisions of the Tariff of Fees, Foreign Service of the United States of America (§ 22.1 of this chapter).
(4) Payment of costs by private persons. Before a consular officer endeavors to obtain a copy of a foreign public document in behalf of a private person, the person requesting the document should be required to make a deposit of funds in an amount sufficient to defray any charges which may be made by the foreign authorities, as well as the Foreign Service fee for authenticating the document, should authentication be desired.