An official website of the United States government

Obtaining Former Panama Canal Zone Documentation
December 11, 2016

As of December 1, 1999, certain vital records formerly issued by the Panama Canal Commission are now issued by the Department of State in Washington, D.C.  Note that this only applies to vital records for births and deaths in the former Panama Canal Zone between February 26, 1904, and September 30, 1979.  (For vital records issued after September 30, 1979, please follow the instructions available at this link from the Panamanian Civil Registry.)

If you meet the conditions outlined above and would like to obtain a copy of one of these documents, write to:

Passport Vital Records Office
Department of State
Passports Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Your request must be notarized and include a copy of a valid, government-issued photo identification of the requester.  Please include the following in your request:

  1. Date;
  2. Purpose of Request;
  3. Full name at birth/death/marriage;
  4. Location of birth/death/marriage;
  5. Signature of subject or parent/legal guardian/legal representative; and
  6. Address and daytime telephone number of requesting individual. For birth records, also include:
  7. Father’s full name, date and place (city or state and country) of birth
  8. Mother’s full name, date and place (city or state and country) of birth
  9. Any U. S. passport information

Fee:  The fee is $50 for the first copy of any document, and $50 for any additional copy of the document.  The fee can be paid by check or bank draft drawn on a bank in the United States, or money order, payable to the “Department of State.”

To check the status of your Panama Canal Zone document request, call:

(202) 485 – 8300

Marriage Records

Marriage records for the former Panama Canal Zone are located in the National Archives in Record Group 185, the Records of the Panama Canal Zone.  Contact the National Archives at:

Civilian Records (NWCTC)
Textual Archives Services Division
8601 Adelphi Road, National Archives
College Park, MD 20740-6001

If a marriage record is located, the applicant will be contacted as to the fees involved.

Medical Records from Gorgas Army Community Hospital and Coco Solo Hospital (Medical Records before 1982):

Federal Records Center (NARA)
1557, 7 St. Joseph Ave.
East Point, GA 30344

(Medical Records after 1982):
National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63132

Court Records

Court records (divorces, adoptions, civil suits, criminal cases, etc.) created in the Canal Zone during American jurisdiction are held in the National Archives in the Records of District Courts of the United States (Record Group 21).   Information on fees for copies of court records may be obtained from the National Archives website.

National Archives & Records Administration
Old Military and Civilian Records
700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001

Mr. Robert W. Elllis (NWCTB) Arch I, Room 601
(202) 357-5381 Fax: (202) 357-5937 / robert.ellis@nara.gov
Or: Ms. Aloha South (NWCTB) Arch I, Room 601
(202) 357-5021 Fax: (202) 357-5937 / aloha.south@nara.gov


Federal Records Center (NARA)
1557 St. Joseph Avenue
East Point, GA 30344

High School and Panama Canal College Transcripts

Canal Zone High School and Panama Canal College transcripts can be obtained by writing to the Department of Defense Education Activity.

DoDEA Records Center
Attention: Transcripts
7441 Custer Rd. Bldg 2670
Ft. Benning, GA 31905
Telephone: 706-545-4785
Fax:  706-545-1239
DSN Voice:  835-4785   DSN Fax: 835-1239
Email: transcripts@am.dodea.edu

Civilian Personnel Records

Records of civilian employment for the Department of Defense agencies can be requested at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

National Personnel Records Center, Annex
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Fax: 618-935-3014
Email:  cpr.center@nara.gov

Panama Canal Zone Certificate of Good Conduct

A Certificate of Good Conduct from the former Panama Canal Zone can be obtained by requesting information from the U.S. Embassy via e-mail to Panama-IVisas@state.gov.