Knoxville woman's birth certificate rejected by driver's license office

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A Knoxville woman who went to get her driver's license reinstated found out she had to jump through a lot of hoops because her birth certificate was rejected. She had never faced this issue before.

Patty Shaberekh was born in Germany where her dad had been stationed with the United States Army. In the mid-1960s, there was a big Army presence in Germany where soldiers were allowed to have their spouses with them.

Shaberekh was born in a US Army hospital in 1965. For 52 years, she said she never had any trouble when required to show her birth certificate, until this year.

She had been unable to drive her van after her driver's license was taken away due to having two accidents within the span of a month. She then tried to have her license reinstated, but ran into a problem.

"Went to Strawberry Plains, they said her birth certificate wasn't any good," said her husband Bill Shaberekh.

When Patty and Bill Shaberekh were married, that birth certificate was accepted without a problem. In August, after Patty Shaberekh paid a $255 reinstatement fee, she went to get a new driver's license. That's when she presented two government documents that she's kept since her birth.

"They say they are not certified," she said.

She said back in 1965, that Army hospital in Germany did not stamp her birth certificate. So the license division rejected it.

"They don't accept this birth certificate because there is not a raised certified seal," she said.

On the other side is all the information about her parents who were born in Huntington, West Virginia. A document shows, report of a child born abroad of American parents, but none of it was accepted.

"I have to contact the Department of State in Sterling, Virginia, fill out a form, send them a money order of $50. I have never in my life had this much hassle," Patty Shaberekh said.

The state's Department of Safety said her birth certificate was accepted in 1999, when Shaberekh first applied for a license, but a new law enacted at the end of May 2004 states: "All certified documents required by the Driver Services Division will either have a raised seal or a certifying stamp verifying the document is not just a photocopy."

"I wish I had known that in 2004, I would have gone through the steps to do so. I wish I had known," she said.

Because she wants to be able to drive her van once again, she'll shell out $50 to get a new birth certificate from the US government.

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