If you're like most people, you probably haven't thought about your birth records in quite a while. In most cases, your parents will have some vague notion of where they are. You might have gotten your short-form birth certificate along with your Social Security card for employment purposes once. Most people just don't think about keeping full California birth records, though. There may be times when you need to put your hands on these records. When that's the case, you'll need to use California's system like a champ. California has many options for locating your birth records, including an online request portal and the ability to get the records in-person. Here are three times you might need to become a master of this process.
When you're applying for a passport
If you've ever gone abroad, then you know that the process can be cumbersome. You don't just roll up at your local library and get a passport overnight. Instead, you have to wait many weeks in most cases. You'll need certain forms of documentation, too. A short-form birth certificate is not enough. You'll need full California birth records before the State Department will clear you for a passport. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time when requesting these records. With the uncertainty of passport time processing, you will want to make sure that every other detail goes off smoothly. Having your records in hand will make things much easier.
When you want to change your name
Whether you've just gotten married or you're just tired of living life as another "Smith," you might have occasion to change your name. As anyone who has gone through the process will attest, it can take some time, and depending on the county, you may need significant documentation. Your California birth records will almost always be necessary to prove to the department who you are. In some cases, the same department that handles the name change request will be in charge of finding and processing your birth records. This can make the process much easier.
To replace other vital records
If you ever lose your Social Security card, you will have a difficult time getting a new one. In these cases, the records office will need as many other pieces of documentation as you can muster. In most instances, you won't be able to get a new Social Security card unless you can produce California birth records. This can turn a routine trip to the DMV into a difficult and time-consuming mess. It is always best to plan ahead and give the records office plenty of time to process our request. Many times our request will be handled in a matter of days, but records offices can be slow with shipping and processing.
It's good to keep your vital records in a safe place, preferably under lock and key. If you can accomplish this, you won't have to go through the difficult process of obtaining new California birth records. If you do find yourself in that delicate position, be sure to use the easy online system. If you're in a hurry, you'll want to appear in person to put your hands on the records.