How to Obtain a Birth Certificate in 24 Hours


Whether you need one to get a marriage license or for other documentation and have misplaced yours, you may need a copy of your birth certificate in a hurry. Many department of health locations allow you to apply for a copy of your birth certificate, certified or uncertified, via fax, mail, online or in person. However, if you need your birth certificate within 24 hours, your best bet is to make the request in person.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal identification
  • Telephone directory
  • Locate your personal identification documents. You will either need to bring a primary proof of identification, like your driver’s license or state ID, or, in some cases, two secondary forms of identification, like a U.S. passport and government-issued photo ID. Acceptable documents vary according to state.

  • Visit the website of the National Center for Health Statistics and click on the appropriate state to determine which venue holds the birth document you need. A Department of Health facility often houses birth certificates.

  • Call the Department of Health location nearest you, using a print or online telephone directory. Depending on the state from which you are requesting the birth certificate, the location you must go to may be a public office like a courthouse.

  • Ask to speak with the vital records department or office. If you reach an automated system, select this department from the available options to be connected to a live person.

  • Ask for the following information: hours of the department, service fees, accepted forms of payment and processing times.

  • Evaluate the processing times that you are given, and determine if you will be able to get to the location in enough time to submit your request in accordance with regular processing times. The clerk should be able to tell you exactly when you will be able to pick up your birth certificate, depending on the time you plan on making the request.

  • Ask the clerk if there is an expedited service option if the regular processing time does not meet your 24-hour needs. States like Wisconsin offer an expedited service for an additional fee that ensures you will receive a copy of your birth certificate within 24 hours of placing your in-person request.

  • Go to the department of health services or public office with your identification. Fill out the application and pay the applicable fees, dependent upon which processing options you choose.

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