If you urgently need a copy of your U.S. birth certificate, you’re probably wondering how long birth certificate applications take to process and whether or not you can get one one-day or same-day service.
So, to answer your questions, we’ll go over the quickest method to apply for a U.S. birth certificate copy and how to avoid processing delays.
Avoiding rejections or delays on your birth certificate application
If your birth certificate has been destroyed, stolen, or lost, you will need to replace it as soon as possible. However, there are some common mistakes that people make that cause delays in the application process. Follow the instructions below to prevent delays and get your birth certificate copy fast.
Errors on birth certificate applications
We all make mistakes, but an error on a birth certificate form can get your application rejected. Since you have to pay the processing fees up front and wait for the Vital Records Office to process your application, you’ll be out both time and money if your application is rejected.
The best way to make sure that your birth certificate replacement application is approved is to carefully read the instructions for filling it out and go over your entries to double check the information.
You can also have an expert review your application, to be sure it is accurate. We can verify the information and have your complete, error-free application back to you in less than 24 hours, and we even include personalized submission instructions to help you get your vital record.
You can submit your application package in-person or by mail, and be confident that the Vital Records office will approve your request.
Incomplete birth certificate applications
An incomplete application will be refused, so you must make sure that you provide all of the necessary information and supporting documents.
However, you can avoid this mishap by following the custom submission instructions you will receive with your application package when you use our convenient applicant assistance service.
Submitting to the wrong Vital Records Office
You must submit your application to the Vital Records Office in your birth state. If you send your application to the wrong place, it will not be processed.
However, birth certificate processing times can be faster at some offices, in the same state, than at others. We can find out which office will process your application the fastest, so you can get your birth certificate as soon as possible.
The fastest way to get a U.S. birth certificate
Follow these steps to get your birth certificate copy as fast as possible:
- Fill out a short birth certificate application. Our experts will verify the info and send you a error-free application package.
- Print and sign your application, then place the application, payment for processing fees, and legible copies of the correct IDs (we’ll let you know which ones) into an envelope addressed to the correct Vital Records Office.
- Mail your application, using rush service if available, or bring it to the Vital Records Office in person to get your birth certificate the same day.
How to get rush service
Rush service is offered in some states, including Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota, as well as Washington D.C. When you pay the additional fee to use a rush service, you can get your birth certificate within 1-3 business days.
However, some states require you to submit proof of an emergency in order to get same-day or next-day processing. You can contact the Vital Records Office you will be applying at to get more information and learn what, if any, documents you will need for rush service.
You should also include a self-addressed, pre-paid, expedited envelope for the office to use to send your birth certificate to you. Not only will you get your birth certificate faster, you’ll also be able to track it the whole way there.
Small city or county offices may have faster processing times than the large state offices, since they do not process as many requests. So, you may have better luck using a smaller office, even if it’s located further away.
How to get your birth certificate in person
Many states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Iowa, offer same-day, in-person service.
You can get your birth certificate right away, or within just a few hours, by:
- Verifying the hours of operations and getting there right when they open
- Patiently waiting in line
- Making sure that you meet the requirements to apply for the birth certificate
- Bringing all the necessary documents, including a complete, error-free application form and acceptable forms of ID
- Bringing an acceptable form of payment for the processing fees (for example, most offices do not accept personal checks)
- Requesting a birth certificate that is stored at that office
You can contact your birth county’s health department for more information on wait times, office hours, and their rush and same-day service options.
How to get a U.S. passport overnight or on the same day
If you urgently need to renew your U.S. passport or get a new one, you can do this by:
- Making an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency (you can check with multiple offices to find the soonest available appointment time)
- Download and fill out Form DS-82 for a passport renewal, or Form DS-11 for a first-time passport from the Passport, Applications, and Forms section at www.travel.state.gov
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to your appointment and bring your completed application form, your passport photos, your old passport (if renewing), appropriate forms of ID, payment for applicable fees, and proof of urgency (such as a plane ticket)
The U.S. Department of State does offer extremely expedited service for life-or-death emergencies. If you need a passport within the next 72 hours, you can contact the Department of State and request an emergency appointment. However, appointment slots are limited, and you will need to provide proof of the emergency. A life-or-death emergency is generally limited to extreme illness or death of an immediate family member. If you are currently residing outside the U.S., you can contact your nearest embassy or consulate.
Learn more about applying for a passport here: birth certificate requirements to apply for a passport.