There comes a time in everyone's life when they need to show a birth certificate. It could be the day you apply for a passport or a Social Security number. Or when you go in to get a "Real ID" driver's license. Or even when you get hired for your dream job. A birth certificate is one of the basic, primary identification documents, and also one of the best ways to prove you are a U.S. citizen. If you don't have a birth certificate on hand, you should probably obtain one, and if you were born in Los Angeles, the city or the county, it is an easy thing to get an L.A. County birth certificate.
Getting a Birth Certificate in Los Angeles County in Person
You can head to any of the Registrar-Recorder or County Clerk offices in Los Angeles County to order a copy of a birth certificate.There are quite a few offices, and most are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Pick the one that is closest to you or most convenient.
In the City of Los Angeles, go to the LAX courthouse, or the Registrar-Recorder offices in Florence/Firestone or East Los Angeles. If you live in the County of Los Angeles but not in the city, choose between the Registrar-Recorder office in Van Nuys, the one in Lancaster or the one in Norwalk. This latter office has the advantage of being open later – until 7 p.m. – on the third Thursday of the month.
You'll need to fill out a birth certificate application and present a government-issued, photo identification. If you were born after 1964 but not during the years of 1972 through 1977, you'll get same-day service. If you were born earlier or in 1972 through 1977, you'll get your certificate by mail within 20 days. The fee is currently under $30 and can be paid by cash, credit card, money order or check.
Ordering a Birth Certificate by Mail or Online
You can get the same service in Los Angeles by mailing your application or by going online to order. If you mail an application, use this address: Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Birth, Death and Marriage Records Section, P.O. Box 489, Norwalk, CA 90651-0489. If you submit the request by mail, you won't be able to flash your driver's license to prove your identity. Instead, send in a signed, notarized affidavit of identity. Find both the affidavit and the application for the birth certificate on the Los Angeles County website. Don't forget to enclose a check or money order to cover the fee.
You can also order your birth certificate online through vitalchek.com. This site is used by Los Angeles County to process online orders, but you'll have to pay an extra fee for the service if you pay by credit card. As with a mail order, you can expect your certificate within 20 days.
Getting Someone Else's Birth Certificate
Not everybody is entitled to obtain an authorized, certified birth certificate for a third party. In Los Angeles, only people with a certain relationship to the person can do so. You can get someone's birth certificate if you are a close member of the person's family or representing her interests, such as the person's parent, legal guardian, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner or attorney. You can also get a copy if you are her attorney, a licensed adoption agency, law enforcement personnel or a representative of another governmental agency on official business. You must prove this relationship by filling out a form called Certificate of Identity/Sworn Statement for Birth, Death & Public Marriage. Your signature must be notarized.
If you do not qualify under the law to get a copy of someone else's birth certificate, you can still get an informational copy. It cannot be used to establish identity, however, as it is stamped with a statement to that effect.