A birth certificate is an important document that you will use many times throughout your life to prove your identity and citizenship. However, only a certified copy issued by a vital records office is legally valid to use for any official purposes.
Since birth records contain sensitive personal information, you can only apply for a certified birth certificate copy if you are the person on record or an immediate family member. But some states also require birth certificate applications to be notarized, as an extra security measure.
So we’ll go over which states have notarization requirements and how to get a birth certificate application notarized.
What is Notarization?
Notarization is the process of verifying the authenticity of a document and confirming the identity of the person signing it. The notary public is a government-appointed official who oversees the notarization process. They are responsible for verifying the identity of the signer, ensuring that the signer understands the contents of the document, and confirming that they are signing the document willingly.
So notarization is essentially a security measure that proves that you are the person signing the document and that you understand what it is that you’re signing. While it may seem like an inconvenience to have to get your birth certificate application signed, it keeps other people from accessing your records fraudulently and helps protect you from identity theft.
Does My Birth Certificate Application Need to be Notarized?
You can only get a birth certificate copy from a vital records office in the state where the birth was registered. In most states, notarization is not necessary. However, there are a few states that do require you to get your standard birth certificate application notarized. They are:
- South Dakota
- New York City (only the city, not the rest of the state)
So if you need a birth certificate copy from one of these areas, you’ll have to get your application notarized before you submit it. If you don’t have a birth certificate application yet, you can use our simple online application system to get one.
However, if you are making any changes to your birth certificate, most states do require you to provide a notarized affidavit or amendment form. For example, if you need to correct an error on your birth certificate, such as a misspelling or incorrect date, you must fill out an amendment form and have it notarized.
Likewise, you’ll have to complete the appropriate form and sign it in front of a notary to add the father’s name to your child’s birth certificate, if it was not done when the birth was registered. In this case, both parents must sign the document in front of the notary.
How to Notarize a Birth Certificate Application
Notarizing a birth certificate application or amendment form is actually quite simple. All you need to do is follow these steps:
Step 1: Complete the Form
The notary is just there to verify your identity and watch you sign the document, so you’ll need to fill out your application or amendment form beforehand — just don’t sign it yet! Make sure you fill it out accurately and completely. If you omit any information or make any mistakes, the vital records office will delay or reject your application.
Step 2: Find a Notary Public
The first step in the notarization process is to find a notary public. Many banks, post offices, and government offices have a notary public on staff. You can also search online for notary public services in your area, as there are many who work on a freelance basis.
Once you’ve found one who is available, you’ll need to set up an appointment to meet face-to-face. Notarization has to be done in person, since the notary has to verify your identity and watch you sign the document.
Step 3: Make Sure to Bring Your ID
When you meet with the notary public, you will need to bring a valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state-issued ID, or passport. It must be an original, not a photocopy or picture. The notary public will have to check your ID to verify your identity before they can notarize the document.
Step 4: Pay the Notary Public
Notary publics typically charge a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the state and the complexity of the document. You will need to pay the notary before they can notarize your document, so you should check with them beforehand to see what type of payment methods they accept.
Step 5: Sign the Document in Front of the Notary Public
Once the notary public has verified your identity, you will need to sign your birth certificate application or amendment form in front of them. The notary public will sign as well and then stamp the document with their official seal, verifying that they established your identity and watched you sign the document in person.
Step 6: Submit the Notarized Document
After your application or amendment form has been notarized, you can submit it to the vital records office, along with any other necessary forms and supporting documents, as well as payment for any processing fees.
If you are making changes to an existing birth record, you may need to include a copy of the current, incorrect birth certificate with your application. If you don’t have a certified copy, you can apply for one online here.
While notarizing a birth certificate application or amendment form may seem like an unnecessary hassle, it’s a relatively simple process that’s there to help protect you against identity theft. Birth certificates contain quite a bit of personal information that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. But as long as you come prepared with your completed document, identification, and payment for the notary, your notarization appointment should only take a few minutes. And if you need assistance completing your birth certificate application form, or you prefer to apply online, our experts are here to help.