A party who wants to find a birth certificate from a naval hospital should contact the vital records office of the state where the child was born. This office is usually the state’s department of public health. It is usually located in the capital city of the state.
The party can also contact the appropriate county office, which is usually the health and human services agency or the county recorder’s office. The county office will provide records for a birth that occurred within the county, even if the birth took place in a naval hospital.
Certificates for Children Born Abroad
If the party was born in a naval hospital outside of the U.S., the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs will issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for the party. The U.S. government, instead of the state, issues the birth record. Such a person should mail a request for the CRBA to the U.S. Department of State.
The person requesting the CRBA must submit a notarized request that contains certain information, including the individual’s birthdate and place of birth and any available passport information. A vital records office in the country in which the party was born may also hold a record of the birth. The processing time for a CRBA is four to eight weeks.
Sometimes the parents of a child born on a military base abroad will not have registered the child’s birth with the U.S. embassy. In this event, the party should contact the hospital where she was born. She can also contact the base operator or the public affairs office for the appropriate military branch.
Read More: How to Read a Birth Certificate
Locate a County Recorder’s Office
A party can contact his county recorder’s office to obtain a copy of his birth certificate. There may be a fee for the search and for a certified copy. A certified copy is an official copy that can be used for legal or business purposes.
A birth certificate office at a naval hospital in the county does not hold records, but provides assistance to parents of newborns with completing a birth certificate. The processing time for a birth certificate is usually four to eight weeks.
Certificates for Children Adopted by U.S. citizens
A child born in a foreign country and adopted by a U.S. citizen will not have a U.S. birth certificate. The child’s birth certificate is issued by his country of origin. A person seeking such a foreign birth certificate should contact the foreign embassy or the consulate of their country of origin that is closest to them. The party may need assistance from the embassy with translating an authenticated copy that is not in English.
Certified Copy vs. Informational Copy
A certified copy of a birth certificate is a copy that has legal significance. An informational copy is used for genealogical or informational purposes and does not establish a party’s identity.
Also, some countries will not accept even a certified copy of a birth certificate as a legal document to establish identity until the party gets an apostile. An apostile is a seal from the U.S. Department of State. This official seal can be placed on a birth certificate.
Why a Birth Certificate is Necessary
A birth certificate allows an individual to apply for a U.S. passport and government benefits. A birth certificate is also needed for a party to enroll in school, join the military and claim a pension or insurance benefits. The information requested on a birth certificate includes the first and last name of the child, the time and date of birth, the place of birth and information about the parents of the child.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Where to Write for Vital Records
- U.S. Department of State: Birth Affidavit
- San Diego County: FAQs Birth Certificates
- California Department of Public Health: Delayed Registration of Birth
- U.S. Department of State: How to Replace or Amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA
- USA.gov: Replace Your Vital Records
- Contra Costa Health Services, California: Order a Birth Certificate
- Contact the Vital Records Section at 202-955-0307.
- You can only request the record if it is your own, or if you are the legal guardian or parent of the person.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.