What To Do If You Lose Your Birth Certificate

By Paula Swenson - Updated June 06, 2017
Newborn baby feet in white blanket

If you lose your birth certificate, you should get a replacement certificate as soon as you can. Birth certificates are necessary to apply for passports, marriage licenses, driving licenses and to transact some types of financial agreements. To get a replacement, contact the state or county where you were born.

What You Need

Gather the information you will need. In addition to your full name at birth, you need your parents' names, including your mother's maiden name. You must state the day, month and year of your birth and your sex. If you know the town and hospital where you were born, include that information as well. For clarity, type or print all names and addresses in the request letter.

Make the Request

You can make your request in person, post, or sometimes online. You can find the address online for the clerk's office for the county where you were born, or you can apply in the state's capital at the Office of Vital Records. Keep in mind that all requests must be accompanied by payment, a check or money order payable to the identified office, in the correct amount for the number of copies requested. Sending cash is never recommended because the offices cannot refund cash lost in transit. Check the state or county's websites to get the most current information regarding fees.

What to Bring or Include

Identification is required, and the most usually accepted forms of ID are either a passport or a state issued photo-ID card or driver's license. If you make the request in person, bring the ID documents with you. If you request a new birth certificate by mail, include photocopies of the ID documents along with a notarized sworn statement that you have a legal right to the information. State why you need a new birth certificate (yours has been lost) and give your daytime telephone number, including area code.

Who Can Request?

You can request your own birth certificate. State laws define who can request a birth certificate, however the most common are a child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister or spouse. In these cases, you need to state your relationship to the person whose record is being requested.

Special Circumstances

Depending where you were born, your process might be different. If you're a naturalized U.S. citizen born in another country, you'll need to retrieve your birth certificate from that country. If you no longer maintain ties to friends or family in your nation of origin, its embassy or consulate is a good place to start. If you were born to U.S. citizens who were abroad or serving on a military base in another country,

About the Author

Paula Swenson is a writer, artist and teacher. She has a degree in communication arts and has worked for NPR, NBC and the NEA. Swenson has been writing about art, business, travel and the English language for over 10 years. She also teaches English to business people and travelers from around the globe.

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