If you already have a copy of your birth certificate, your birth certificate number is on the certificate itself. Typically, the birth certificate number is printed on either the top right or top left corner of the certificate. However, if you need to obtain a copy of your birth certificate, you will need some information about your birth. You must request a copy of your birth certificate from the state where you were born.
Find the Vital Records office in the state where you were born. This may be a division of Health and Human Services.
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Contact the office and tell them that you would like to get a copy of your birth certificate.
Provide the office with your name and the date and location of your birth. In addition, you will need to know your mother's information, including maiden and married names. If you were adopted and do not know your birth mother's information, you will need to provide your adoptive parents' information.
Keep in mind that many states require a court order to release an original copy of the birth certificate if the person was adopted. This is to protect the privacy rights of the mother and/or father who gave up the child for adoption.
Request a list of fees for obtaining the birth certificate, and also check on how long the process will take. If you are in a rush to get a copy, you may have to pay an additional fee for having the request expedited. Once the office locates your birth certificate, they can mail you an official copy, which will be stamped with a raised seal. You need an official copy of your birth certificate to get some other legal documents, such as a Social Security card, passport or driver's license.
Officially request a copy of your birth certificate through the office. When making the request, you will need to pay any fees and provide them with your mailing address. Fees range from $20 to $65, depending on the state. You may be able to pay in person at their office, or over the phone by using a credit card. Typically, receiving a certified copy of your birth certificate can take two to six weeks, depending on the office and state and the amount of research the office may need to do in order to find your birth certificate records.
Follow up with the office every few days to check on the progress of your request. Most states will provide you with a confirmation number for your request, and you may be able to check the status of it online. Checking in with the office will allow you to know when they have found your birth certificate, processed the records and mailed your copy to you.
Lauren Farrelly has been writing and producing for television since 2003. She has experience covering sports, business news and general news events for CNBC, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Farrelly has a BA in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.