ordering an official birth certificate

5 Trusted Ways to Ensure An Official Birth Certificate

Updated 9/7/18 – Having a valid, official birth certificate can be more important than ever in today’s world, especially when looking to renew a driver’s license, apply for a passport, or even just register your child for school sports. So how do you know if you’re ordering an official government-certified birth certificate? Read on to learn more and know that VitalChek is always here to help, working directly with the government agencies that issue official birth certificates.

There are a number of reasons you might be ordering an official birth certificate for yourself or a family member, such as enrolling in school, joining a sports team, getting a passport or renewing a driver’s license. In the past, this may have meant waiting in line for hours at the local courthouse or waiting weeks to order a copy by mail. Luckily, the internet has made it easier than ever to obtain a birth certificate or other documentation. However, not every internet resource is a good one. Some websites only offer unofficial certificates or even keepsake copies. This type of copy may not meet the requirements of many governmental agencies for legal or official purposes. Before you order a copy of your birth certificate online, discover these five ways to ensure that you order an official copy.

  • Certificates are only issued by the official government agencies. They can be ordered through those agencies or through an authorized service of that agency. Check the government agency’s website for official ordering services.
  •  Purchase from a secure and trusted company – While any number of sites offer the ability to order a birth certificate or other document, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself:
    • Does the company have a trusted name and/or reputation?
    • Is the company authorized by the government agency responsible for issuing the certificate?
    • Is the website registered with the Better Business Bureau, and if so what is their rating?
    • How long have they been operational, and what do past customers have to say about them?
    • Does the website offer a secure ordering process?

These details are proof that the company cares about your needs and keeping your personal data secure. Be cautious of unreliable companies that may not offer authorized or secure services.

  • Expect to provide detailed information – Because official birth certificates are proof of a person’s identity, detailed information is necessary to ensure the certificate doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. For an official, certified document, many states will require you to verify your identity before you can place your order. This may be done in one or more ways including by providing your Social Security Number, submitting a copy of your valid photo-ID, and/or by answering a series of questions for which only you should know the answers.
  • Know what type of birth certificate you need – Do you want an official or informational copy? The reason that you request the certificate will dictate what type of certificate the order will processed for. An official copy can typically be used for legal purposes such as for a passport or driver’s license, while an informational copy is typically used for genealogy or family history.
  • Determine if the certificate contains an official seal – An official, certified copy bears the embossed, impressed, multi-colored, or raised seal and signature of the issuing authority.

You do not want to be stuck with an unofficial document that many not work for all your needs. Exercise caution when you order any type of documentation and make sure you are ordering an official birth certificate. Spend a little extra time assuring this authenticity and you will be able to relax with the confidence your article is genuine and will meet your requirements for registration, licensing or travel.


  1. . My child was born in Mexico in order to complete her birth certificate I need to have an apostil seal on my birth & marriage certificate? Is it possible to have it done through VitalCheck?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      If your child was born to at least 1 US born citizen as a parent VitalChek can assist you. This would make your child a US Citizen Born abroad. https://www.vitalchek.com/content/bornabroad.aspx . If you need to order a marriage & birth certificate for yourself with an apostille and you were born & married in the US you can also order through our service at https://www.vitalchek.com/ or call our office at 1-800-255-2414. Please be advised the ordering process for an Apostilled/Authenticated certificate will vary by agency. A suitable certificate must first be ordered from a State Vital Records office, and then it must be sent to the Secretary of State’s office to receive the certification provided for that purpose. In most cases, VitalChek will only be able to provide you with a basic vital record certificate, so to obtain an Apostille or Authentication for that record, you will need to consult the link provided https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=353
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  2. I am leaving for a cruise next weekend & I was born in 1975 & I never got a passport. My question is, wouldn’t my b.c. that I got back than work just as well, since their is a certificate # on it & both my parents signature & the county signature & a stamp but an old one, but visible. Wouldn’t that work just as well??

    1. Hello Monica,
      Some cruises require that you have a passport depending on if or where they plan to doc. The best thing to do is contact that cruise line right away and ask them if your certificate would be sufficient for the cruise you are going on. If not then you will need to contact the passport agency and find out how fast you can obtain a passport and if there is an expedited service available for you to receive it in time.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  3. Hello,

    In order to go on a closed loop cruise, is a birth certificate with a raised seal required? I ordered a birth certificate from the county I was born in, and received a certificate with a seal, but it is not rasied, it is more impressed. Will this be accepted for the cruise along with my state issued ID?

    1. Hello Evelyn and thank you for your question,
      As long as you have a certified copy with a seal raised, flat stamped or watermarked you should be fine. Each state certifies their records differently. Some states still use the raised embossed seal however some use a flat stamp and some now have their seal on the security watermarked paper. As long as you have a certified birth certificate it should be good for passport and travel. If you are unsure about what the cruise line will accept it’s a good idea to contact them directly that way you know everything is in order and meets their standards.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  4. Hi, if I have misplaced my birth certificate and request s copy from the state how do I know it will be stamped or with a raised seal? For a passport it has to have the seal correct? It says copies will not work, what do I do?!

    1. Hello Holly and thank you for your question.

      Each state certifies their certificates differently. Some states have moved away from using the raised embossed seal and are now using the water mark seal on security paper. We can assist you with ordering a certified copy of your birth certificate from the state you were born. If you have any questions you can call our office at 1-800-255-2414 or you can order on our website https://www.vitalchek.com/
      VitalChek actually pioneered the ability to remotely order vital records in 1987, by working with agencies to provide this service to their consumers. Unlike many other services found on the internet, we are officially authorized by, and work directly with, hundreds of government vital record agencies nationwide to provide secure online vital record ordering services 24/7/365.

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  5. Hola, Naci en Texas Browsville, tengo una acta de nacimiento antigua de Texas, me gustaria obtener una nueva, pero vivo en la Ciudad de México, se podría realizar los trámites con Ustedes?

    Mis padres se casaron en Texas, tengo una copia antigua del acta de matrimonio, tambien me gustaria obtener una copia nueva.


    1. Hello George and thank you for your question. Regarding your question about ordering your Texas birth certificate from VitalChek.com and having it delivered to you in Mexico City, we’d be happy to assist you with that. Here is the direct link to the order page: https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/texas.

      In regard to your question about ordering a copy of your parents’ Texas marriage certificate through us, we do not process marriage certificate orders for the state of Texas so you will need to order directly from them at the following link: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/Ordering-Marriage-and-Divorce-Verifications-Online.shtm

  6. I ordered a birth certificate thorugh this and it doesn’t have a raised seal? I checked the box for drivers license, I guess I should have marked a different one. Which request will get me an offical raised seal one? It’s from State of New York if that makes a difference.

    1. Hello, Daphne. A certified birth certificate from New York contains an imprinted watermark rather than a raised seal. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

    2. Hello, how can I get an official birth certificate? I need an official birth certificate and not a certified one.

      1. Hello Hector. A certified copy of a birth certificate is an official copy. If you were born to U.S. citizen parents, you can contact the vital records agency in the area where you were born to order a certified copy of your birth certificate. Yo can also order online through the VitalChek website.

  7. How do i determine if a mexican birth certificate is real? Or fake? What and where do i go? I read that if a child is born to at least 1 u.s. citizen it makes the child a citizen abroad please explain. Does that mean the child doesnt need a temp. Visa to come to u.s.a.? A girl is claiming she is my blood sister. My dad recently passed. Its impossible she is his blood daughter, but she has a birth certificate…it is fake. I need to prove this! Thanks for help.

    1. Hello Leo. Thanks for reaching out with your questions. To determine the legitimacy of a Mexican birth certificate, you might contact the Mexican consulate for guidance. For more information about what determines whether someone meets the requirements of a US citizen born abroad, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services webpage. You may also want to seek legal advice if there are legal issues involved with this situation.

  8. Can I order my birth certificate through this site I lost all my vital records. I don’t have a state identification card and currently need one, is there a series of questions I can answer to prove who I am instead of showing ID. I don’t have one and that is why I need to order a birth certificate to obtain social security catd and ID.

    1. Hello Thomas. Thank you for your question. Certain states do offer identity authentication by answering a series of questions while others do not. Please email us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com and we’ll be happy to look into whether your birth state is one of those that offers such identity authentication.

  9. Hello my name is Juan colon,, Some time ago I lost my wallet with all my papers,I was in New York,is to secure for me to try and get my birth certificate online,thankyou

    1. Hello Juan. We’re sorry to hear about your lost wallet. Since you mention that your important papers were in your wallet, we recommend that you report the loss both to the police and to the appropriate credit bureaus to ensure you can help stop any potential identity theft from occurring. Depending on which state you were born in, you may or may not need to show photo-ID to get your birth certificate. If the state has electronic identity verification in place, then you should be able to order your certificate online at vitalchek.com without submitting any additional documentation. VitalChek is authorized by – and works directly with – government agencies across the nation to provide secure vital record processing services. If additional documentation is needed, many agencies have alternate forms of ID they will accept as proof of identity. If at any time during the ordering process you have any questions, you can contact us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com. Hope this information is helpful.

  10. Hello,

    My husband and I will be going on a cruise to Mexico. We are getting a passport card. According to the application, the birth certificate we need to use should have our parents names on them. The one that we received from our city does not have the names of our parents on them. It is an official certificate with a raised seal. Will we be able to use this to get our passports? Also, my birth certificate has my maiden name on it. Will I have an issues because my name is different due to my marriage?

    1. Hello Denise. Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. Some states may offer more than one form of birth certificate while others do not. We suggest you contact the vital records office where you got your certificates to find out whether the form you have received is the appropriate form for travel and if they offer another version that includes the parents names. Regarding your question about whether your maiden name on the birth certificate will cause you issues, it should not. Unlike social security cards, driver’s licenses and other documents that require a name change with marriage, a birth certificate will remain a reflection of who you were at birth unless an adoption was involved in which a case a name would change to the adoptive name.

  11. Hello,
    I was born Jersey City/Hudson County in 1963. I was told that they will not accept my birth certificate when renewing
    my license but they would if I was born after 1965 since the computer can verify the records validity in the state after that
    I am moving to Connecticut shortly, will I run into the same problem there?

    1. Hello Ryan. Thanks for reaching out with your question. If your copy of your birth certificate was issued prior to 2011, it’s entirely possible that you may run into the same problem in Connecticut. After 2011, the requirements have changed for birth certificates used for certain legal reasons such as getting a passport or ID. An official birth certificate should include the full name of the individual, as well as his or her date and place of birth and the full names of the person’s parent(s).

      There are typically several different ways to order certified copies of birth certificates or other vital records for yourself or an immediate family member, including:
      • In person at the issuing Vital Record Agency
      • By mail with a completed application form and a check or money order
      • By phone – if the agency accepts telephone orders
      • Online, either through the appropriate agency’s website, or an authorized secure service provider like VitalChek

      We hope this information has been helpful.

  12. Hello!
    My wife was born in Los Angeles, she only has her abstract copy, or something like that, and the docs from the hospital, also her social number. Then her parents moved to Mexico and they doesnt get her birth certificate.

    It is possible to get the Birth Certificate with you? I have looked into the California website and links to you.

    1. Hello Rodrigo. Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. Based on the information you have provided us, your wife should be able to order her birth certificate through VitalChek.com. If she has any questions during the ordering process, she can email us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com and we’ll be happy to assist you.

  13. I have my birth certificate from 1951. It is black, like a photo copy. is this acceptable for a cruise to the bahamas out of new york city.

    1. Hello Mary. Thanks for reaching out with your question. In most cases, an old photo copy of your birth certificate may not be acceptable for your travel purposes. That being said, it could not hurt to contact your cruise line directly to find out what they will and will not accept. If you need to order a new certified copy of your certificate, you can always visit the VitalChek webpage to place your order.

  14. I have to enroll my step sun in high school. He just moved to Florida. This will be my first time using this service I have seen many up and down reviews. I would need a certified copy of his birth certificate and will not be able to go to the vital records in the state he was born. How will you come in handy? Thank you

    1. Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your question regarding our service. If it is not convenient for you to get to the vital records office because you live in another city or state or have an inflexible schedule or other life factors that will not allow you to get there during business hours, VitalChek is there to offer a secure, convenient online ordering method that accepts credit card payments. For more than 30 years, VitalChek has provided secure remote ordering, payment processing, order tracking, 24/7 customer support, identity verification and authentication services for orders going to vital records agencies across the country. Once we process an order, we forward it on to the appropriate state or county vital records agency who then produces the certified copy of your record and ships it out to you via the order method you selected while placing your order.

  15. hello im trying to apply for university but they say no internet copies .what does that mean

  16. if I order my birth certificate from VitalChek does it have the raised seal that I need to use it at the DMV?

    1. Great question Patricia, thank you for asking. When ordering birth certificates from VitalChek, if you need a certified copy for legal purposes such as using it at the DMV, be sure to select the appropriate reason – such as Driver’s License or ID. This will ensure that the certificate being requested meets the needs for that reason, and will be certified by the issuing agency. Please note that not all agencies issue a “raised seal” certificate any longer, but as long as it has the Registrar’s signature and a certified mark (whether it’s a watermark, printed seal, or otherwise noted) it will be a certified, official copy valid for the purpose you need. Best Regards.

  17. Hi my fiancee ordered a birthcertificate in your company and he just found out today tht u cancelled his order… so my question is wht is the reason of cancelation and how about the payment are u going to return the money tht u get frm his account? Hope u will answer this and and hopefully u will tell us to do wht we gonna do to continue the order
    Thank u

    1. Hello Grace. PLease have your fiance contact us with his order number so we can assist him. The quickest way to reach us is by private message at Facebook.com/Vitalchek where you will usually get a response in a matter of minutes. He can also call 800-255-2414 or email vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

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