How to Fill Out a Birth Certificate

By Lisa Parris

Nothing in the United States seems to arrive without paperwork. This includes your new baby. From consent forms to birth plans, there seems to be a mountain of paperwork to accompany the joyous event. One of the most important documents you will be asked to write out is the baby’s birth certificate or birth record. The birth certificate will be one of the child’s most important forms of identification throughout his life and, as such, it is important to complete it correctly. To properly fill out the birth certificate form, simply follow the steps in the guide below.

Obtain a birth certificate filing form. If your child was born in a hospital, the form will be given to you by a health care provider. If you had a home birth, a midwife should have one on hand. If neither of these options applies to you, contact your state department of vital records and request the form or call the local courthouse and ask for its assistance in the matter.

Complete the form in ink by filling in all the blank spaces with the required information.

Choose the child’s name. This is the legal responsibility of the mother. The child’s last name does not have to be the same as that of either the mother or the father and the entire name can be changed in the first six months with no questions asked.

Fill in the information about the parents. The birth certificate generally asks for the mother’s maiden name as well as her current name. This is followed by a request for the mother’s Social Security Number and address. Then the father’s information is added below this, however, if the mother does not wish to name the father, she does not have to.

Decide whether or not you’d like to have a Social Security card issued for your child. If you do, there is a box you can check at the bottom of the birth certificate filing form and a number will be automatically assigned to your baby. The card will be sent to the address listed on the birth certificate. This is generally easier than filling out a separate form later.

Complete the demographic information. Depending on what state you live in, the government may also inquire as to your ethnic background, level of education and marital status.

Return the completed form to your health care provider or file it with the county clerk in the town the birth occurred in.

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.