Certified birth certificate copies, also called authorized copies, contain the complete details of a person's birth and bear the raised seal of the state. Certified birth certificate copies are not public records and only a few eligible parties may obtain them. A certified birth certificate is the version you will need to apply for a passport or driver's license, as well as for use in legal proceedings and other official matters.
Things You'll Need
- Eligibility documents
- Photo ID
- Application (optional)
Find out your state's eligibility requirements. States typically require that you be the person listed on the birth certificate, an immediate family member, a legal representative or a member of an approved agency. If you are not the person listed on the birth certificate and are eligible to receive a certified birth certificate, be prepared to provide a document, such as a court order, confirming this. Anyone requesting a birth certificate must also provide a valid government-issued ID or an acceptable alternative ID. Check with the state's office of vital records for more specific details.
Apply for a certified birth certificate. You may be able to obtain same-day service by visiting the state's office of vital records. Some city, town and county clerks are also able to issue birth certificates. If you cannot apply in person, you have several options. Many states have an online ordering option, either through their own system or through VitalChek, a vital records service. You can also apply by mail by submitting a written request or obtaining an application form, available for download through the state office of vital records website. Phone and fax ordering may also be available.
Pay the search fee. Keep in mind that this fee is usually nonrefundable because it pays for the actual search, rather than the certificate itself. If you need to order additional copies of a certified birth certificate at the same time, these may come at a smaller fee. Search fees and payment methods vary depending on the state.
Tips & Warnings
- You must make your application through the state of birth.