A birth certificate is necessary for establishing citizenship and it is often a required piece of documentation when applying for school, a passport and even a driver's licence. A certified long form of a birth certificate is often requested if someone loses his original birth certificate. Certified birth certificates are also requested by people trying to establish family history.
Find the Vital Statistics Office in the state in which the birth took place. Birth certificate records will be kept in the state that the person was born in, there is no federal database for these records. All records are kept in the state of birth. There is generally one office per state and most of the time it is located in the state capital. There are online data bases that list the vital statistics offices for each state (see Resources).
Write to the appropriate Vital Statistics Office requesting a certified long form of a birth certificate. The letter should be clear and concise, requesting the birth certificate up front. Clearly print or type all addresses, names and numbers in the letter. The letter should include the name of the person’s birth certificate that you wish to acquire (along with all other aliases that he may have used), date of birth, location of birth, mother’s maiden name, fathers name and the gender of the person. Also, include the requester’s information, such as: the relationship to the person whose birth certificate is being requested, why you are requesting the birth certificate, your full name, address and signature.
Purchase a self addressed return envelope. This will allow the Vital Statistics Office to send the certified birth certificate back to you. The Vital Statistics Office will not pay for costs pertaining to the return of the envelope so make sure to include this with the letter of request.
Prepare a money order for the total fee amount. The fee amount varies from state to state, so make sure to check the online data list for the appropriate fee amount. Money orders are accepted in all states. Some states also accept certified checks, and cash if paying the office in person. The fee amounts can be found online (see Resources).
Acquire any additional documentation that the Vital Statistics Office will require. Each office requires different additional paperwork. Most states will require a copy of the driver’s license of the person whose birth certificate is being requested. Other states will require that you obtain a certified affidavit stating the reasons that you need the birth certificate. Each state has different additional paperwork and they will be required to be submitted along with the letter requesting the information. Additional documentation information can be found online (see Resources).
Send in all of the documentation. The letter, prepaid envelope, return envelope, money order and additional documentation will all have to be submitted to the appropriate Vital Statistics Office. The Vital Statistics Office is swamped with several different inquiries all at once. Be patient with returns from all inquires as the office may not be able to get back to you as soon as possible.
Kristina Werden has been writing professionally since 2008. She has been published in California State University, Los Angeles’ academic historical journal “Perspectives” and online publications such as USA Today, eHow, Trails Travel, Livestong, Answerbag, and BetOnline.com. Werden currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.