Birth Certificate




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Lost birth certificate



What to do if you lose your birth certificate


More likely than not, your birth certificate is the first form of government-issued identification you will receive. This document is extremely important and it is something you should hold onto for the rest of your life. A birth certificate does not simply prove your name along with the date and location of your birth, it also helps you get other vital records later on in life, such as a driver's license, marriage certificate, and a passport. Furthermore, if you decide to enroll in the military or school, or if you want to apply for government benefits, you will need to show your birth certificate. So losing your birth certificate is a big deal, but luckily there are ways to replace it. Here's how:

U.S.-born citizens 

If you were born in the United States then you will need to contact your state's vital records office. You can find your state's vital records office on this page run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fees for replacing a birth certificate vary by state, but they generally don't cost more than $30. You will want to bring as much identification to the vital records office as possible--basically, anything that can prove that you are who you say you are helps. Some states may also require that you provide photo I.D. as well, such as a driver's license or passport. Also, if you need your birth certificate urgently then be sure to ask your state's vital records office about any expedited services they may offer.

Americans born abroad 

If you were a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth but you were born abroad then your local state's vital records office isn't likely to be of much help. For those born to U.S. parents while overseas, the birth should have been registered with the embassy or consulate of the country in which the birth took place. You will need to contact the U.S. State Department to get a copy of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Furthermore, the vital records office of the country you were born in may also be able to assist you in obtaining a copy of your birth certificate.

Americans born on military bases abroad 

Finally, if you are an American who was born on a military base overseas then your situation may be unique. In many such instances, parents of children born on military bases may fail to register their child's birth with the local U.S. embassy or consulate--however, it is always worth checking first! Instead, you may have to contact the actual hospital where your birth took place or even somebody at the base itself, such as the base operator.

Losing your birth certificate is more than an inconvenience, it is a serious impediment to applying for school, benefits, and getting government-issued I.D. Fortunately, getting a copy of your birth certificate is usually straightforward and will largely depend on where you were born. But once you have your birth certificate again, you'll truly appreciate the advantages such a small piece of identification provides.

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