- How to locate your birth certificate
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Locate a Birth Certificate
In general, Birth certificates include the following information: name at birth, place of birth (typically the city and state), date of birth, name of the mother (including the maiden name), name of the father, official signature (county or state clerk), and a certificate number.
Official copies have a raised state seal on them, and are often requested as an official proof of identity. Photocopied birth certificates are often accepted as proof of identity and age at less official agencies, such as sports teams and elementary schools. In fact, up until this year, a birth certificate could be used as one of the two required pieces of identity to cross the border from the United States into Canada.
At birth, an official copy of a birth certificate is made available to the birth parents. This is generally sent in the mail to the address provided by the parents. Most people store all of their important papers together in a secure location such as a safety deposit box or personal safe. Unfortunately, with all of the requests for a birth certificate as proof of identity or age, birth certificates have a way of becoming lost or misplaced, or even accidentally destroyed.
It is important to replace the official copy of your birth certificate as soon as you discover that it is missing, before you need it. It takes several weeks for a request for a copy of a birth certificate to be processed. Should you have an immediate need for your copy, you will be forced to wait until the paperwork goes through the proper channels.
Many legal documents require an official copy of a birth certificate as proof of identity, including driver’s permits, driver’s licenses, passports, visas, proof of identity cards, and working papers. For less official purposes, such as sports teams or elementary school registration, an unofficial copy of the birth certificate, a photocopy is generally sufficient. It’s an excellent idea to make several copies and keep them handy for easy reference.
A limited selection of individuals is permitted to request an official copy of a birth certificate. The applicant must be a minimum of eighteen years of age. The individual who is named on the birth certificate may request an official copy of his or her birth certificate.
A legal representative of the individual who is named on the birth certificate may file a request for a copy of the birth certificate. Immediate family members including spouse, son, daughter, mother, father, brother, half brother, sister, half sister, grandparent/great grandparent (must indicate maternal or paternal), grandchild, great grandchild, stepparent, stepson, or stepdaughter may also request an official copy of the birth certificate. Step relatives may be required to provide additional information since they are not spouses or blood relatives.
Basic information must be included with any requests for official birth certificate copies. Not only does this help to prove the identity of the individual making the request, but also, it will assist in a speedy transaction. It is important to note that variations in the information that is requested may exist due to the location, the city or state, of the birth certificate.
The full name of the person who is named on the birth certificate should be at the top of your list. If the individual’s name has changed in any way since birth due to adoption, court order, or marriage, the new name must be included in full as well.
The exact date of birth must be included. If the exact birth date is unknown, an approximation may be provided. However, an additional fee may be charged for the retrieval of the information that will be required in order to process the search for the birth certificate.
The city or town of birth must be included on the request. Additionally, the county should be included with the request. Typically, the state of birth is included on the request, even though this is implied due to the particular office the request has been sent.
The gender of the individual named on the birth certificate must be included. If a gender reassignment has taken place, a written explanation can be included. However, the gender at birth remains the same, and is the gender that should be listed.
Both parents’ names are to be included in the request. The mother’s name must include her maiden name, as well as her married name, in the event that she has married.
The relationship of the individual making the request to the person whose name is on the birth certificate should be clearly stated. The reason for the request for an official copy of the birth certificate is often included. Examples of reasons that are typically presented include: original copy was misplaced, original copy was lost, or original copy was destroyed.
The applicant’s signature, in full, must be included along with the applicant’s daytime telephone number, including the area code. The applicant’s mailing address must be included to ensure proper delivery of the new copy of the birth certificate.
Items for which you do not know the correct response should be filled in with the word “unknown.”
Although each state has its own variation of the rules and procedures for requesting birth certificates, a specific form is necessary to file the request. In general, the application for a birth certificate can be made in person, by mail, or by fax. Some of the states have an official website where a request for an official copy of the birth certificate can be made.
Moreover, many states have an online system that allows for the downloading and printing of the form needed for mail in and walk in requests. Additionally, the required form for a fax request, which is different from the other forms, may also be downloaded and printed. Contact your local state representative to acquire the proper address, phone number, or fax number of the public office where you need to make your request.
Specific fees are associated with acquiring a copy of an official birth certificate. A $10.00 fee is charged per copy for civilians. Typically, additional fees are charged when the date of birth is listed as unknown. Locating birth certificates and providing copies for service members and their families requires no fee.