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How do I Apply for a Birth Certificate?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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The process by which you can apply for a birth certificate varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In most places, however, you can apply for a copy of your birth certificate by completing a form and providing a copy of your government-issued identification. You may apply in person or through the mail, and some jurisdictions have online and telephone application processes as well. Additionally, you will typically have to pay a fee as part of the application process.

In most cases, people are issued birth certificates soon after birth. Their parents complete birth registration forms with the details of a baby’s birth, including his name, the date and time he was born, where he was born, and his parents' names. Then one or both parents signs the form and submits it to the Department of Vital Records or a similar agency in the jurisdiction. Often, the form is submitted via hospital staff instead of directly to the agency that processes them. If you need to apply for a birth certificate yourself, however, you will most likely need to obtain a copy of the original certificate.

The process you’ll have to follow to apply for a birth certificate depends on where you live and where you were born. Many jurisdictions have processes by which you can apply for a birth certificate in person, by mail, or online. Some may even allow you to begin the application process by phone. Your ability to obtain a copy of a birth certificate may hinge, however, on the documentation you have that proves who you are and that you have a right to a copy of the birth certificate.

In most cases, you will need to present some form of identification in order to apply for a birth certificate. For example, you may have to mail or fax a copy of a government-issued photo identification (ID) card in order to obtain an official copy of a birth certificate. If you are applying for a birth certificate for your child or a close relative, however, you can typically provide a copy of your own ID instead.

In the event that you want to obtain a birth certificate for another person who is not your offspring, you will have to check your jurisdiction's laws to determine how you can proceed. In some places, you may have to prove that you are closely related to the person in question or are his legal representative. You might also have to prove that you have the party’s permission to obtain his birth certificate or that he is deceased.

You will usually have to pay a small fee to apply for a birth certificate. Most vital records agencies accept cash, checks, money orders, and credit card payments for copies of birth certificates. Cash is usually only accepted for in-person applications, however, since it can get lost in the mail.

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