How to Obtain an Official Copy of Your Birth Certificate

By Amy Adkins
All births are legally required to have an accompanying birth certificate.

baby image by Dron from Fotolia.com

An official birth certificate is an important piece of paper used for a variety of legal purposes. A birth certificate is needed when a child enrolls in school and to obtain a Social Security card, driver's license or passport. Like any piece of paper, a birth certificate can get lost in a move or just misplaced. In the U.S. there is no single entity that manages official birth certificates. Instead, each state is responsible for maintaining birth records and issuing new certificates when requested.

Call or visit the Vital Records Office in the state in which the birth occurred. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each state should have a birth certificate on file for persons born there. The CDC provides an online listing of all state Vital Records Offices.

Provide the Vital Records Office with the needed information. To process the request, the office will need to know the full name of the person on the birth certificate, his or her sex, date of birth and place of birth. The office will also want to know what the relationship of the requestor is to the person on the birth certificate and why the birth certificate is needed.

Some states have online systems for records requests; however other offices will require the request to be made in writing or in person.

Pay the required fees. Each state determines its own fees for birth certificate requests. Check with the state office to determine if fees are to be paid through check, money order or credit card.

Provide a copy of a photo ID with the request. The state will require a copy of a driver's license, passport or other photo ID of the applicant to process the paperwork and issue a new birth certificate.

About the Author

Based in Omaha, Neb., Amy Adkins has been a professional writer and editor since 2001. She writes primarily on the topic of health and health care and has experience in marketing communications, public relations, corporate communication and technical writing. She received her Master of Arts degree in communication from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

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