How do I get a Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate?

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  • Written By: L. Hautzinger
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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You can get a certified copy of a birth certificate by contacting the appropriate government agency where the person was born, as long as you are eligible to obtain a copy of that person's birth certificate. In many places, you must be a relative, guardian or legal representative of a person to get a copy of his or her birth certificate. The specific procedures and fees for obtaining a certified copy of a birth certificate will vary from place to place, but most will require similar information from the person who wants to get the birth certificate. When you order it, just be sure to order an official, certified copy and not an uncertified abstract version.

The certified copy of a birth certificate typically lists vital information about the person's birth, such as the date and place, and identifies his or her parents. It often has a raised or embossed seal to signify that it is an original version or official copy. The certificate also typically will be signed by at least one official, such as a registrar, and possibly the doctor who was present at the birth. It typically also has the date that the birth certificate was filed with the government agency, which might not be the date of birth but typically must be within a certain amount of time, such as one year.


It typically is a local or regional government agency, such as a department of health or department of vital records, that handles birth certificates, rather than a national government agency. To get a certified copy of a birth certificate, you typically will need to provide a valid proof of identification, such as your driver's license and government-issued identification number or card. Additionally, you also will need to know the person's full name and possibly other information, such as his or her date of birth, place of birth or parents' full names. It might be possible to obtain the birth certificate if you know only the person's full name, but it probably will be more difficult.

Most jurisdictions offer several ways of ordering your birth certificate. You can apply either in person or by sending the request and required documentation by mail. For faster and more convenient processing, many places encourage online ordering of birth certificates. The fees might vary depending on which method you choose, but all of them generally are inexpensive.

A certified copy of a birth certificate is an important piece of personal identification. This document is considered valid proof of citizenship by many governments and typically is required to obtain certain things, such as a passport or driver's license. It also might be needed to register for school or apply for some jobs.



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