Birth Documentation & Copies of Passport Records

Contact the Vital Statistics office in the state where you were born.

If you were born in the U.S. and there is no birth record on file, you will need several different documents to substantiate your citizenship. You will need:

  • A letter of no record issued from the Vital Statistics office of the state of your birth with your name and what years were searched for your birth record.
  •  Early public records to prove your birth in the U.S.

To learn more, click here.

If you were born outside the U.S. and your U.S. parent(s) did not register your birth at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you may apply for a U.S. passport. You will need:

  • Your foreign birth certificate showing both of your parents’ names
  • Evidence of your parent(s) U.S. citizenship and
  • Your parents’ marriage certificate

To learn more, click here.

Civil E-Filing

Efiling is the electronic filing of court documents online by filers using an electronic filing service provider (EFSP).

Yes, in December 2012, the Texas Supreme Court mandated efiling for all civil matters by Attorneys for Texas counties using a graduated schedule. Based on this schedule efiling became mandatory for Cameron County as of July 1, 2014 for civil filings.

“Submitted” means that you have successfully uploaded the file for our office to review. When the document is being reviewed by our office or by the Court for signature, you will see the status “Under Review”. “Accepted” means the document has been filed by our office and is part of the electronic case docket.

Yes, although it is not mandatory for pro se filers to e-file, you may register with an EFSP to conveniently file your documents with the Office of the District Clerk.

You can visit the Texas Judicial website at www.txcourts.gov and view the Supreme Court Mandate and efiling rules under the Judicial Committee on Information Technology (JCIT) page.

Visit www.efiletexas.gov and follow the instructions.

In addition to the standard court costs required by Cameron County, you may be charged convenience fees to cover the credit card processing fees and service provider fees depending on your EFSP.

The Court Service Fees are the standard court costs charged by Cameron County. The Convenience Fee is a fee charged by efiletexas.gov to cover the credit card processing fee.

There are several service providers that meet the requirements for certification outlined by the Office of Court Administration. It is recommended that you visit www.efiletexas.gov/service-providers.htm to view the EFSPs and the services that they provide to determine which one meets your filing needs.

Yes, anyone can register with an EFSP to e-file their court documents to the Office of the District Clerk, however, it is only mandatory for attorneys.

After entering all lead documents, attachments and/or services choose the e-service feature and then enter the email address for each party to be served.

E-service is a feature that conveniently serves documents to other parties by email and allows you to track when each party received and opened the filing.

TRCP 21a (a)(1)Documents Filed Electronically.  A document filed electronically under Rule 21 must be served electronically through the electronic filing manager if the email address of the party or attorney to be served is on file with the electronic filing manager.  If the email address of the party or attorney to be served is not on file with the electronic filing manager, the document may be served on that party or attorney under subparagraph (2).

(2) Documents Not Filed Electronically. A document not filed electronically may be served in person, by mail, by commercial delivery service, by fax, by email, or by such other manner as the court in its discretion may direct.

When e-filing an expunction, you will be prompted to enter the party as a plaintiff.

No, as long as you enter all the agencies to be notified on the petition.

The base filing fee does not include the service to each agency.  You need to select “Issue – Expunction” under optional service, and enter the number of agencies to be served.   This will add the additional service charges to the base filing fee.

To e-file a request for a subpoena, choose Application as the filing code and then select Issue Subpoena from the optional services.

If you are requesting the issuance of a citation along with a pleading, you enter the corresponding filing code for your pleading and then select Issue Citation from optional services. If you are filing a request for a citation with no other document, use the Application filing code and then select Issue Citation from the optional services.

A clerk may request a filer to correct an e-filed document for the following reasons:
Insufficient Fees
Insufficient Funds
Documents Addressed to Wrong Clerk
Duplicate New Case Filing
Incorrect/Incomplete Information
Incorrect Formatting
PDF Documents Combined
Illegible/Unreadable
Sensitive Data
Filer’s Request
Judge’s Request

E-filetexas.gov allows the clerk to view the original filing date of an envelope that has been resubmitted due to a rejection.

If your e-file does not contain the correct fees, the clerk may correct the filing by adding the missing amount upon your request. Depending on your financial institution, they may place a temporary hold on the original fee and the corrected fee until they verify the charges. Only the corrected fee will be charged.

Depending on your financial institution, temporary holds are placed on the filing charges and may last for a few days even after a filing was rejected. If the funds are not released within a reasonable amount of time, typically within 10 business days, contact your financial institution.

You can create a waiver account through your EFSP to waive court costs at the time of filing. The Waiver Account is only allowed to be used when filing for an indigent party. When filing for a party who is indigent or unable to pay court costs, an IOLTA certificate or an Affidavit of Indigency/Inability to Pay Court Costs is required.

In order to comply with the Supreme Court Judicial Committee on Information Technology (JCIT) standards all e-filed documents should be text searchable. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is required for the PDF document to be searchable. Documents should be directly converted to PDF if possible using your existing software. If you need to scan your document, you must make sure that the OCR feature is activated.

All cover letters must be filed as attachments to the Lead Documents with the exception of Orders. The cover letter should be the last page when submitted with an order.

As long as the clerk has not opened the envelope and depending on your EFSP, the filer should be able to cancel or edit their envelope. You can also contact the clerk to request for your envelope to be rejected.

The Judicial Committee on Information Technology (JCIT) has approved a list of filing configuration standards that apply to the electronic filing system. Most motions that require a fee should be listed, however, if you do not see the motion that you require, select a motion with the same fee for the filing code and then type the correct name of your motion in the Description. All other motions that don’t require a fee, should be entered as Motion (no fee).

Filers will receive a confirmation email notifying them that their envelope has been successfully e-filed. Once the clerk accepts the e-filing, the filer will receive another email with a link to view the filed stamp document.

A document is considered filed by the court on the day it is transmitted to the filing party’s electronic filing service, except if it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. In this case, it is deemed filed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

Cause numbers must be entered in one of the following formats without the letter at the end:
1234-12-123456 or 1234-DCL-12345
The last portion of the cause number (underlined) must contain either six (6) or five (5) numbers. Adding leading zero’s to this section usually works. For example, 1998-12-459 should be entered as 1998-12-000459 and 2015-DCL-315 should be entered as 2015-DCL-00315.

Attorneys cannot add themselves to an existing case. When the Office of the District Clerk receives a filing from a new attorney, the clerk will add the attorney to the Odyssey Case Management System. The new attorney will then appear in any subsequent e-filings.

Yes according to TRCP 76 (a), a civil case information sheet must be filed with all new petitions. (Civil case information sheet can be E-filed as an Attachment)

Yes, an e-filed document once accepted by the clerk is considered the court’s original copy.

All documents should be filed as separate Lead Documents except for the following that can be filed as Attachments:
Cover Letter
Civil Case Information Sheet

No, multiple documents can be e-filed using the same envelope, provided all documents belong to the same case and each document is filed as a Lead Document.

If the e-filing is not accepted, you will receive a “Rejected” (Returned for Correction) status notification with a comment from our office stating the reason why the e-filing was rejected and instructions for re-submission.

The mandate does make an exception for juvenile cases, wills and documents under seal or presented to the court in-camera or documents which access is otherwise restricted by law or court order. Other documents that have also been determined to be excluded from e‐filing are bond forfeiture actions filed by bondsmen, return of service filed by process servers and mediator reports even if the mediator is an attorney acting in the capacity of a mediator.

The cover letter is important since it provides the clerk of the court a summary of what is being filed along with any requested service. You can either submit your own cover letter on your letter head or you can use the cover letter provided by the Office of the District Clerk.

Criminal E-Filing

Yes, as of November 2016 e-filing for criminal cases became available for Cameron County and will become mandatory January 1, 2018.

Jury

Jurors are selected at random from a list of Cameron County voter registrations and driver licenses.  The District Judges determine the number of jurors needed for a period of time during the terms of court and summons are then printed and mailed at least 15 days in advance of the appointed date.

Your jury service typically covers a two-week period. If you are not selected to serve on a jury the first week, you will be instructed to report back to the Central Jury Room at 9:00 a.m. on the following Monday. If you are selected to serve during the first week, you will serve the duration of that trial and still be required to return at 9:00 a.m. on the following Monday to complete your second week of service. Most trials last one to three days, but there are oc­casional exceptions.

The Cameron County jury list is reconstituted every three years.  A juror will only be chosen once during this three year period, however, if a juror is chosen at the end of one period and then at the beginning of the next period it may seem that they are being summoned more often than others.

A person who fails to comply with this summons, or who knowingly provides false information in a request for an exemption or to be excused from jury service, is subject to a contempt action punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 (Government Code, Section 62.0141). Additionally, a person shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 if the person: (1) fails to attend court in obedience to this summons without reasonable excuse; or (2) files a false claim of exemption from jury service. (Government Code, Section 62.111).

The information on these questionnaires, including address, place of employment, marital status and religious preference, is used by the attorneys during the voir dire or jury selection process.  If this information were not available to the at­torneys, the selection process would be delayed while the attorneys asked each prospective juror these basic background questions.

Please make sure that the information on the jury questionnaire is filled out and that you have given complete and accurate information.  Please notify jury personnel if you have had a change of name or change of address to ensure that we address your jury reimbursement check properly.

Please be advised that an address change on the jury summons does not correct the address at the Voters Registration Office. You must advise the Voters Registration Office of your change of address or change of name.

Unfortunately, delays are an unavoidable part of our judicial system. Judges and lawyers will make every effort to keep the cases moving along so that individual jurors will not be required to wait unnecessarily.  You may have to wait in the Central Jury Room or outside a courtroom for a period of time. This is not “wasted” time because your availability as a potential juror frequently motivates the parties to negotiate and settle a case without a trial, saving time and tax dollars.  You are encouraged to catch up on reading, letter writing, or other activities that can be done with a minimum of noise.

If you are summoned but not sent to a courtroom, please know that you have provided your community with a valuable service in that your presence and availability may have caused a civil case to settle out of court or a criminal trial to be disposed of without a trial. In either instance, justice is served.

Only bottled water is allowed in the Central Jury Room. All other drinks and food must be consumed outside of the Central Jury Room.

Yes, the jury personnel will try and make your stay as a juror as comfortable as possible. You will be given several breaks throughout the day so you may stretch, use the restroom facilities and/or get something to eat or drink at the courthouse coffee shop.

Please remember you are not to enter any courtrooms while on a break as this may interfere with your impartiality as a juror.

The actual number of trials beginning each day is uncertain. The parties to a suit may unexpectedly reach a settlement or have legitimate grounds to postpone the pro­ceedings. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the number of jury panels which will be needed by Cameron County courts each day.

It is extremely unlikely that you will be kept together or “sequestered” overnight. Judges understand that keeping a jury overnight imposes real hardships. A jury is se­questered only when there are exceptional circumstances. If it appears that a jury will be sequestered, the judge will usually be able to forewarn the jurors. If you serve on a sequestered jury, the judge and court officers will do everything possible to make your service as comfortable as possible.

No, there is no statutory requirement that an employer pay salary or wages during an employee’s jury service but most employers pay employee salaries while on jury duty.

No, it is a violation of the law for an employee to be terminated for serving on jury duty.  A private employer may not terminate the employment of a permanent employee because the employee serves as a juror.  An employee whose employment is terminated in violation of this section is entitled to return to the same employment that the employee held when summoned for jury service if the employee, as soon as practical after release from jury service, gives the employer actual notice that the employee intends to return. (Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 122.001).

Yes, jurors will be reimbursed $6 for the first day of jury service and $40 for each additional day.

Yes, Government Code Sec. 61.003 (A) and (B) gives you the right to donate all or part of your juror reimbursement.  You will be given a juror donation form at the time you check into the Central Jury Room. Please review and complete the form even if you decide not to donate.

Voir dire is a French term that means “to speak the truth.”  In legal terms, voir dire is the preliminary examination of a witness or juror to determine his or her competency to give or hear evidence.

Twelve (12) jurors are needed for District Courts and six (6) jurors are needed for both County Courts-at-Law and Justice of the Peace Courts.  In order to ensure that enough jurors are available for the “voir dire” in each court, jury panels of thirty six (36) to forty (40) jurors will be sent to the District Courts, jury panels of eighteen (18) will be sent to County Courts-at-Law and jury panels of fourteen (14) will be sent to the Justice of the Peace Courts.   Each court will determine if alternate jurors are required.

After the jury has been selected, the remaining jurors who were not chosen must return to the Cen­tral Jury Room for possible reassignment to another panel.

If serving on a trial, bring the matter to the attention of the court bailiff.  If you are in the Central Jury Room, notify the District Clerk’s jury personnel.  To receive an emergency message, request the caller to contact the District Clerk’s Jury Department at 544-0842 or 544-0838.

It is very rare that jury service is cancelled or postponed. However, during emergency weather situations you should listen to your local radio stations, TV stations and visit the Cameron County website at www.co.cameron.tx.us for notices of any county closures.  Unless, you hear specifically that your jury service has been cancelled or postponed, you should assume that it will be held as scheduled.  For further information please call 544-0842.

No. Special placement as a juror is at odds with the goal of random jury selection.  It is illegal for any person to procure or offer to procure jury service for a person.

As per Government Code 62.102, you must meet the following criteria to serve as a juror:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old;
  2. You must be a citizen of the State and of the County;
  3. You be quali­fied under the constitution and laws to vote in the County;
  4. You must be of sound mind and good moral character;
  5. You must be able to read and write;
  6. You must not have served as a juror for (6) days during the preceding 6 months in the District Court or during the preceding 3 months in the County Court;
  7. You must not have been convicted of misdemeanor theft or a felony;
  8. You must not be under indictment or other legal accusation for misdemeanor theft or a felony.

As per Government Code 62.106, you may choose an exemption from jury service if:

  1. You are over 70 years of age;
  2. You have legal custody of a child under twelve (12) years of age and the person’s service on the jury requires leaving the child without adequate supervision;
  3. You are a student of public or private secondary schools;
  4. You are a person who is enrolled and in actual attendance at an institute of higher education;
  5. You are an officer or an employee of the senate, the house of representatives, or any department, commission, board, office, or other agency in the legislative branch of state government;
  6. You are the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself (employment as a caregiver does not qualify);
  7. You are a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty and deployed to a location away from the person’s home station and out of the person’s county of residence.

If you would like to claim an exemption please, notify the jury personnel in the Central Jury.

Anyone wishing to be excused by the court for reasons other than those listed above may present their excuse to the jury personnel at the front of the Central Jury Room on the morning of their summons date.  The jury personnel will submit your excuse to the presiding judge who will use discretion at granting or denying your request.

Government Code Sec. 62.110 Judicial Excuse of Juror.  The court may hear any reasonable sworn excuse of a juror, and may release him entirely or until another day of the term; provided, however, the court shall not excuse any juror for economic reasons unless all parties of record are present and approve such excuse.

No, all citizens, with the exception of those who do not meet the statutory qualifications listed above or those who qualify to choose an exemption, are required by law to serve as a juror.

Certificates of Jury Service will be provided by the jury personnel at the end of the day for jurors who need to present proof of jury service to their employers.

U.S. Passport Cards

The passport card is the wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border-crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card provides a less expensive, smaller, and convenient alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations by land or by sea. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

The passport card was designed for the specific needs of northern and southern U.S. border communities with residents that cross the border frequently by land. The passport book is the only document approved for international travel by air.

See the Department of Homeland Security’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative site.

Laser engraving and state-of-the-art security features minimize the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery. The card is issued with a protective sleeve that prevents the card from being read when not in use.

You use the same form that you would use to apply for a passport book (DS-11 or DS-82). There is a checkbox on the form for you to indicate that you are applying for a passport card.

If you already have a passport book and you are eligible to use Form DS-82 (renewal by mail), you may apply for a passport card using DS-82 even if this is your first passport card. Otherwise you will need to use form DS-11 to apply for a passport card.

Yes, simply check the appropriate box at the top of the form to indicate that you would like to apply for both products.

If you already have a passport book and are eligible to use Form DS-82, you may apply for your new passport card by mail using Form DS-82. You may renew your passport book at the same time using the same form.

First-time adult applicants pay $55, renewal adult applicants may be eligible to only pay $30, and all minors pay $40.

The processing time for the passport card is the same as for the passport book.

Only one photo is required.

U.S. Passports General

You can apply at the Office of the District Clerk, Eric Garza, Cameron County Courthouse, Judicial Building/Third Floor, 974 East Harrison Street, Brownsville, TX 78520. Please call (956) 544-0838 for more information.

No, you don’t need to update your current passport with your new address.

No. According to the Department for Homeland Security, no individual needs to adjust travel plans or rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel. Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel. Passengers can also continue to use any of the various other forms of identification accepted by TSA (such as a Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID).

Processing times can vary depending on the time of year, and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. During busier times, such as the summer travel season, we encourage customers to expedite their applications if traveling in less than 6 weeks.

Passport Services recommends that the following U.S. citizens maintain valid U.S. passports.

– Those with family living or traveling abroad
– Those thinking about a vacation abroad, or
– Those with a job that could require international travel.

Some countries require that your passport has two to four blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.

If you were age 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.

If you were under 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years.

The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card.

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. Consider the following scenario: A country requires that you have at least six months of validity on your passport. You currently have seven months of validity on your passport. However, your trip is two months from now. At that point, you will only have five months of validity remaining on your passport which is not enough to satisfy that country’s entry requirements. In this situation, you would need to renew your passport before you can make your trip.

Check out The Department of State Travel’s Country Specific Information to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling. Watch this short YouTube video about why you need at least six months of validity on your U.S. passport!

Yes, in most cases, we will return the old, cancelled passport to you.  It may be sent separately from your new passport. It is a good idea to keep your old passport in a safe place as it is considered proof of your U.S. citizenship.

Please mail the found passport in a sturdy envelope, to:

ATTN: CLASP
U.S. Department of State
CA/PPT/S/L/LE
4th Floor
1150 Passport Services PL
Dulles, VA 20189-1150

The Department of State recommends that a family member or executor of a deceased passport bearer return the passport for cancellation. The passport will be returned to you after it is canceled. Please submit the valid passport, a certified copy of the death certificate, and a letter requesting the cancellation and return (or destruction) of the passport to:

U.S. Department of State
Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit (CLASP)
CA/PPT/S/L/LE/CP
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

No, you cannot. Applicants who need additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport by mail. Applicants within the United States may choose a 28-page or 52-page book.

Your international travel must be within either two weeks or four weeks if you need to obtain a foreign visa. Proof of international travel includes but is not limited to a flight itinerary, hotel reservation, and cruise tickets. A print version of your proof of travel is required at most agencies.

U.S. Passports Minors (age 16 and under)

A parent or legal guardian may sign the passport if the child is too young to sign his or her own name. To do so, a parent or legal guardian must print the child’s name and sign his or her own name in the space provided for the signature. The parent or legal guardian must also write his or her relationship to the child in parenthesis next to the signature (e.g., parent or legal guardian) so we know who signed for the child.

Yes, minors under 16 need to have parental or legal guardian consent when applying for a passport. All passport applicants under 16 must apply in person using Form DS-11. Please note: Passports for children under 16 are only valid for 5 years.

The passport application process for minors, under age 16, is the same whether or not the minor has had a passport in the past or not. The application must be submitted in person at a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility. It cannot be renewed by mail nor online.

You and your child may have different last names, as long as the parental relationship document lists your full name. If your name has changed from that on the parental relationship document, please submit proof of your legal name change (e.g. marriage certificate or court order).