Obtaining a Birth Certificate from Vital Records Office
A certified birth certificate is one of the most commonly used documents to prove U.S. citizenship
when applying for a passport. If you have lost yours or your copy does
not have the raised seal, you can follow the instructions below
for obtaining a birth certificate.
In the United States, State laws require birth certificates to
be completed for all births, and Federal law mandates national
collection and publication of births and other vital statistics data.
The National Vital Statistics System, the Federal compilation of this
data, is the result of the cooperation between the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS) and the States to provide access to
statistical information from birth certificates.
An official certificate of every birth, death, marriage, and
divorce should be on file in the locality where the event occurred. The
Federal Government does not maintain files or indexes of these records.
These records are filed permanently in a State vital statistics office
or in a city, county, or other local office.
To obtain a certified copy of any of the certificates, write or go to the vital records office in the State or area where the event occurred
. Addresses and fees are given for each event in the State or area concerned.
To ensure that you receive an accurate record for your request
and that your request is filled expeditiously, please follow the steps
outlined below for the information in which you are interested:
For all requests make check or money order payable to the
identified office, in the correct amount for the number of copies
requested. Sending cash is not recommended because the office cannot
refund cash lost in transit.
Because all fees are subject to change, a telephone number has
been included in the information for each State for use in verifying
the current fee.
States have provided their home page address for obtaining current information.
Type or print all names and addresses in the letter.
Give the following facts when writing for birth or death records:
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- Full name of person whose record is requested.
- Parents' names, including maiden name of mother.
- Month, day, and year of birth or death.
- Place of birth or death (city or town, county, and State; and name of hospital, if known).
- Purpose for which copy is needed.
- Relationship to person whose record is requested.
- Day time telephone number with area code.