Difference Between Birth Certificate and Certificate of Live Birth

Birth certificate with baby footprints

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Whether you're applying for a driver's license or trying to obtain a passport for travel, there are certain documents that you must possess. A birth certificate, which is certified by the Office of Vital Statistics, is typically one of them, but don't confuse it with a certificate of live birth, which was the document submitted by the hospital.

Birth Certificate

The birth certificate, or long form, is the result of the original certificate of live birth prepared by the hospital in which the baby was born. It includes the baby's name, the names of the parents, the doctors names, the name of the hospital, the sex and date of birth. The information on the long form is taken and entered into a database that produces a certification of live birth, which is what can be produced if the original birth certificate is lost.

Certificate of Live Birth

The certificate of live birth is the original document that is completed by the hospital staff after the baby was born alive. It contains the names of the parents, their education and race, medical and health information about the pregnancy and the delivery, and also the information on the newborn, such as the Apgar score. The certificate of live birth, which is certified by a hospital attendant, is then sent to the Office of Vital Statistics to produce the birth certificate.

Souvenir Birth Certificate

Many people think that the birth certificates issued by the hospital with the baby's footprints on them is the official birth certificate, but it is not. It is strictly a souvenir that cannot be used for proving age or citizenship.

Adoptive Birth Certificate

Adoption procedures seal the original birth certificate and issue a certification of birth that lists the adoptive parents' names and the adoptive child's name. It does not list other information such as doctor's names or hospital names.

Office of Vital Statistics

The Office of Vital Statistics can help you replace a lost birth certificate. Each state has its own office where you can get the necessary paperwork to fill out and mail, along with a fee, in order to obtain a copy of your birth certificate, which is called the certification of live birth.

About the Author

Based in Delaware, Meredith Fagioli has been a senior technical writer and freelance writer for the past 10 years. Her work can be seen at Work.com and also eHow.com. Fagioli graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a concentration in technical writing.

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