How do I Order Birth Certificates Online?

Lainie Petersen

Birth certificates are typically maintained by a government agency that specializes in the recording and storage of vital statistics. Some of these agencies allow people to order birth certificates online. To do this, you will first need to find out which agency holds the birth certificates that you want and then locate its website. If it is possible to order birth certificates online from that agency, its website will typically provide information on the ordering process.

Birth certificates are legal records of birth.
Birth certificates are legal records of birth.

Finding the agency that holds your birth certificate is usually a matter of finding out where you were born and then seeking out the agency that maintains vital records. In the United States, for example, different states have different policies for the storage of birth certificates. In some places, you can contact the state Department of Vital Records or the state Department of Health Services to retrieve a birth certificate. In other cases, you may have to seek out the website of the county courthouse in the area where you were born. If you know the hospital where you were born, you can call and ask where birth certificates are stored in your county and state.

A birth certificate contains information regarding the date, time and place of birth for an individual.
A birth certificate contains information regarding the date, time and place of birth for an individual.

Once you determine the name of the agency that stores birth certificates, you can look up its website to see if you can order birth certificates online. Birth certificates are not always considered public records. Laws in some places restrict access to birth certificates to those individuals who are listed on the birth certificate. If you are not ordering your own birth certificate or the birth certificate of one of your children's, you may not be able to order the birth certificates that you want. Incidentally, some issuing agencies contract with a third-party provider of online vital document request services.

Be prepared to provide the issuing agency or its vendor with documentation that proves your identity. This often consists of a scanned or faxed copy of your official photo identification. You may also have to request special services, which may result in extra charges. For example, if you want the documents certified, which is usually a matter of embossing it with a raised seal, or need the document to be officially translated in the translation certified as accurate, you can expect additional charges. Make sure when you order birth certificates online that you specify the additional services that you need.

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