Replacing Your Birth Certificate

2 Mins read

Some documents are essential to everyday life and while we don’t think about them all the time, we can’t take them for granted. Anytime we lose a drivers license, passport, or other important ID steps must be taken. It is not surprising that time and often money are spent in order to secure a replacement.  But how to order a replacement birth certificate? Steps vary state by state, but a replacement birth certificate can be obtained by following a few steps.

So, what is the importance of having a birth certificate? If you are a United States citizen, you will need a birth certificate to prove your age and verify your identity. A birth certificate is necessary to enroll in school in the U.S.A., to join the military, to apply for a passport, to claim pension benefits, insurance benefits, or government benefits.

So how to order a replacement birth certificate? This depends on where you were born. The process for getting a replacement copy is different based on if you were born in the United States, were born from American parents who were abroad at the time of your birth, or if you were born in another country and adopted by U.S. parents.

Born in the United States

Securing a copy of your birth certificate is straightforward if you were born in this country. Each state operates differently so you need to find the vital records office in your birth state. Follow the specific instructions listed there and pay any fees. Sometimes these requests can take weeks or months, so if you need your birth certificate quicker you will need to pay for expedited service. Some states allow for expediting through their state government websites, but in some states, you will need to pay a third-party company for that to happen.

Born Abroad to U.S. Citizen Parents

If your parents are U.S. Citizens and you were born abroad, you need to get a copy of the Consular Report of Birth Abroad. This can be obtained from the U.S. Department of State. Your parents should have registered your birth with U.S. embassy or consulate in your birth country. Know your birth country before obtaining the Consular Report. If you were born on a military base you may want to try the hospital where you were born.

Born Abroad and Adopted by U.S. Citizen Parents

In this case, you will not have a U.S. birth certificate. How to order a replacement birth certificate? You will need to contact the nearest embassy or consulate for the country in which you were born.  If you don’t have naturalization/citizenship papers, contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for more assistance.