Updated: July 23, 2015
Birth Certificates - How to get a copy of a birth certificate
- Birth Certificate FAQs
- Why do I need a birth certificate?
- What is a stamped certified copy?
- Where/How do I get a birth certificate copy?
- How much does it cost to get a copy?
- Birth Certificate Products
From the moment you are born, you come into "the system". You get a birth certificate and a social security number, establishing who you are, your name, age, and place of birth and citizenship. Since citizenship in the US is granted to those born here, your birth certificate instantly designates you as a US citizen. An authorized, certified copy of your birth certificate (no photocopies allowed, must be stamped with the raised state or county seal) is required to obtain a driver's license, social security card (can be handled at birth at the hospital), and passport. Other services that require confirmation of age and identity include enrolling in schools or the military. How can I get a copy of my birth certificate? See below.. (or go straight to Birth Certificate Resource Page)
How to get your birth certificate
The state (see a full list of vital records offices for every state) you were born in has control over your birth records, and they maintain the master records and can reproduce authorized, certified (stamped with state seal) copies for a processing fee (usually discounted for 2nd and additional copies required). Normally requests for birth certificate copies are handled through the mail. Check with your local state government office for instructions and notice of fees. By doing it yourself, you will save the money that 3rd party birth certificate companies charge for performing this service. It might take you 30 minutes to do, but it will save you $15-$50 from paying additional fees. In most cases, only select people can order and receive a copy of a birth certificate, including: the registrant (person named on certificate), legal guardian or parent of registrant, child, grandparent, or sibling of registrant, government official who is conducting official business, party entitled to receive the records as a result of a court order, or attorney representing the registrant.
Getting a free birth certificate online
Need help getting a copy of your birth certificate? The good news is that it is easy to get a birth certificate from any state online. A host of companies have businesses set up that do nothing besides interacting with the proper state agencies, transmitting the required information for obtaining a certified, authorized copy of a birth certificate, and then sending that certificate right to your home or office. To avoid transmitting personal data over the internet, most of them require you to fill out forms and then FAX them in for processing. In many cases, requestors for birth certificates must complete a sworn statement that is notarized. The bad news is that you can't get a free birth certificate online. Since there are processing fees and shipping fees charged by every state, there is always a cost, ranging from about $25-$100 or more (when you include expediting and shipping charges). Expect to pay around $25 (plus shipping) on average.
Best 3rd Party Birth Certificate Sites
All of the online birth certificate companies charge a fee for their services. Some do not provide birth certificates for certain states, like Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico, or Hawaii. Be sure to confirm that your desired state is covered. For example, VitalChek.com charges $12-$18 for a authorized, certified copy of a birth certificate, depending on state. There is normally a processing and shipping charge as well, around $5-$7. They have access to record from all states, so you can get a California birth certificate, a Texas birth certificate, or a New York birth certificate, no problem.
**UPDATE: 2015 - we have updated and moved the 3rd party birth certificate site information to this page - 3rd Party Birth Certificate Sites **
NationalBirthCertificate.com charges $60 for a birth certificate from any state, after filling out and printing an online form and copying and faxing your drivers license as proof of ID. All forms must be faxed. The birth certificate come from State Government agencies and are legal, certified copies. For children who do not have ID, the parents' drivers licenses can be submitted.
ABirthCertificate.net (Texas Tower) can get you a certified birth certificate in 2-3 days (for all states, not just Texas). They charge you $45 on top of the state agency fees ($25-$60, depending on state). These are again the raised-seal, state issued certified copies. You must fill out and print the online forms and fax them and a copy of your drivers license to them for processing. California birth certificates require the filling out of an additional form.
Finally, there is USBirthCertificateBureau.com. They provide a similar service with a $25 service fee, making them a little cheaper that some of the others.
Other Birth Certificate Products
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