Birth certificates are important documents that can be used to prove identity and citizenship. You may need to show your birth certificate when applying for other forms of ID, such as a driver’s or passport, or when enrolling you or your child in school, applying for government benefits, or getting married.
If your birth certificate is lost, damaged, or stolen, you should order a replacement as soon as possible. Likewise, if you have a baby, you must apply for your baby’s new birth certificate right away.
You can apply for a birth certificate online, and it is actually a pretty simple process. All you need to do is fill out the correct form for the birth state, pay the processing fees, and submit your application, along with proof of ID.
Information you will need to apply for a copy of a birth certificate
Vital Records Offices are responsible for maintaining birth records at the state and county level. While every state has their own forms and application process, you will need to provide at least the following information when applying for a copy of a birth certificate:
- The full name of the person on record
- Date of birth
- Place of birth (city, county, or hospital)
- Gender at birth
- Parents’ full names (some states also ask for their marital status at the time of the birth)
They may also ask why you need the birth certificate (new driver’s license, passport, etc.) as this will help them determine whether you need the long or short birth certificate copy.
Finally, you will need to let them know how you can be contacted and what your mailing address is. Keep in mind that some states will not deliver birth certificates copies to a P.O. Box, while others require that the billing and shipping addresses match.
When you submit your application, you must also pay the processing fees. If you are applying by mail, you can send a check or money order with your application.
Additional requirements to apply for a birth certificate copy
In many states, birth records are closed, so that they can only be accessed by immediate family members. If you are applying for a birth certificate for someone other than yourself, most states require you to include documents proving that you are related to the certificate holder. For example, Colorado requires that you provide your own birth certificate showing your parents’ names when applying for a copy of a parent’s birth certificate.
There are other circumstances where you may need a copy of someone else’s birth certificate who is not an immediate family member. If this is the case, you must show additional documents, such court orders or affidavits, to prove that you need access to the person’s birth records
For example, if you are the certificate holder’s legal guardian, you hold Power of Attorney (POA), or you are the executor of their estate, you must include the appropriate documentation with the application.
However, you should keep in mind that every state has different rules and regulations concerning who is allowed to access birth records. Some states have open records that can be accessed by anyone, while others only allow the certificate holder and a few select family members to apply for certified birth certificate copies. But, if you only need the birth certificate copy for genealogical or heirloom purposes, then the rules are much more flexible. You can get a short-form, non-official birth certificate copy very easily. The majority of states only require you to know the basic details about the certificate holder, and these copies are available to everyone.
Documents you can use to prove your identity
When you apply for a certified birth certificate copy, you must also provide proof of ID. Most states require an official photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, or passport.
However, if you do not have access to any of these, there are other forms of ID that are acceptable, including work or school IDs, utility bills, or tax documents. Keep in mind though, that you may be asked to include multiple alternative documents in order to prove your identity.
Some states, like California, even require you to get your application notarized by a public notary. If this is the case, you will need to show your ID and sign your application in front of a public notary. However, you will not have to provide proof of ID as well with your application when you send it in.