How to Get a Free Copy of a Birth Certificate in Pennsylvania

By Resonna Shaw ; Updated April 14, 2017

baby image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

To acquire a birth certificate in Pennsylvania, you must be the named person on the birth certificate or an immediate family member. There are several ways to acquire a copy of your birth certificate via online, mail or in person in Pennsylvania. You might be able to receive your birth certificate for free from the hospital where you were born, or from relatives. However, most online resources and agencies charge a handling fee.

Obtaining a Birth Certificate for Free

The hospital: Find the telephone number for the hospital of your birth, and call the hospital. Hospitals can supply a copy of your birth certificate. Speak to the customer service operator to find out whom you need to speak with to obtain your birth certificate.

Speak to the person (usually someone in records) about obtaining your birth certificate. Supply the representative with your birth name, your parents' name and your date of birth. It might take a few days to a few weeks for the records department to find your information. Once the information is found, you might be required to personally pick up your birth certificate after you provide a valid government photo identification card.

A Photocopy: Photocopy your original birth certificate. If you have the original birth certificate you can make a copy of the certificate. Many legal uses require a certified copy of a birth certificate, but a photocopy can be used for informational purposes.

Ask a Relative: Ask your parents or guardians whether they have your original birth certificate. Many parents and guardians keep birth records in a safe-deposit box or a file cabinet.

Obtaining Your Birth Certificate for a Fee .

Online: The state of Pennsylvania recognizes VitalCheck as its only online vendor. You can order a copy anytime, with any major credit card and a valid government ID. The cost is $30 and it takes no more than 10 minutes to order a certified copy.

In Person: To order in person, you will need to download the order form, fill it out, print it and bring it to one of the office's many locations. When you go into the office, bring a valid ID and a check or money order. Processing times will vary depending on the particular office's processing times.

Over the Phone: You can also order a certified copy of your birth certificate over the phone. All you need is a valid ID, certificate information on hand and a valid credit card. To order over the phone, call 866-712-8238. Note that not all birth certificate requests can be handled via the phone.

Through the Mail: To order via the mail, you will need to download the order form, fill it out, print it and mail it to the processing office. Remember that the processing office will only accept check or money order, so do not send in cash. You will also need to send in a photocopy of your ID and a valid email address. Orders through the mail may take up to 30 days to be processed.

About the Author

Resonna Shaw has been a writer since 2008, for personal enjoyment and for various websites. Shaw holds a bachelor's degree in human resources from DeVry University and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Keller University.