Birth Certificates Confidential

Birth Certificates: Should They Be Kept Confidential?

With identity theft running rampant, there is much concern about keeping personal information safe and secure. For instance, most people would never allow someone to have access to their social security card or bank account information. However, other documents could pose a problem too. What could someone do if they got ahold of your driver’s license—or what about your birth certificate? It’s important to keep birth certificates confidential and secure. These are very important identity documents, especially when used together. Learn more about your birth certificate and the concern of keeping it secure, then you can decide what security precautions you need to take for your birth certificate.

Should You Keep Birth Certificates Confidential?

Since your official birth certificate is considered an identity document that is necessary to apply for things like a driver’s license or passport, it is important that you keep it out of the hands of others who shouldn’t have access to such a critical document. If you have a copy of your certificate, keeping it in a safe deposit box or a private safe is the best way to assure its security. Then, you will not worry about who may have access to this document.

How Difficult is it to Obtain Someone Else’s Certificate?

The requirements vary from location to location, but most government issuing agencies require the customer to follow stringent guidelines to obtain official, certified copies of their birth certificate. Typically, it is only possible to obtain a certificate for yourself or for an immediate family member, such as a child, parent, and/or a spouse.

What Could Happen if Your Birth Certificate is Stolen?

Luckily, most  uses for a birth certificate involve very stringent security processes. For example, it can be difficult to obtain a driver’s license even if you already have the birth certificate as there are likely other identity checks put in place. However, a birth certificate can make it easier to steal your identity IF the thief has access to other critical pieces of information as well.

What to Do if You Feel Your Certificate May Be Stolen?

First, report the theft to the bureau of vital statistics where it was issued (in the state, city and/or county where you were born). This helps protect you since you are making it “officially known” that a theft has taken place. After this, you will want to be vigilant about monitoring your credit and bank accounts to ensure if someone opens a card in your name, you know about it. Working with the credit bureaus, you may be able to “freeze” your credit so that no accounts can be taken out in your name without your express consent (and the extra hoops that must be jumped through.)

Your birth certificate is something you will use time and again—to travel, to obtain an ID and to prove identity and/or citizenship for any number of purposes. Since it is so important, it is essential that you protect it. If you ever feel that your identity may be compromised or in danger, it is important that you be proactive and protect yourself. It may take some effort up front, but it will save you time and stress over time.

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68 Comments

  1. Can an employer ask for your childrens birth certificate? To prove that you have children?

    1. Thank you for your question. Typically, if you are choosing to cover your children on your employer’s benefits program, the employer can ask for a copy of a child’s birth certificate as proof of dependency.

      1. Is it legal for employer to ask for copies of spouse and children’s birth certificates and social security cards?

      2. Can a city department ask for a copy of your child’s birth certificate to check proof of age for registration into city
        sports program? Or to check to see if children are related to each other such as siblings?

        1. Hello Patricia. Thanks for reaching out with your question. It is not uncommon for you to be required to provide your child’s birth certificate to register for youth sports. This assures that the child is actually who they say they are and are registering for the correct league based on age.

  2. I am 42 years old. My mother has applied to long term disability, any reason why Services Canada would need a certified copy of my Birth Certificate?

    1. Thanks for the question. Typically social services offices may request birth certificate copies for validation or verification of individuals applying for such services; however, there may be other times that information is requested. The best way to determine whether it is a valid request is to contact the agency directly to discuss the situation. Thank you.

  3. My eight year old’s birth certificate was stolen what should I do

    1. Hello Jennifer and thank you for your question.
      If your child’s certificate was stolen you can make a police report however most cases just a birth certificate alone is not enough to assume someones identity. If you would like to order a new certified birth certificate for your child you can do so by visiting us at https://www.vitalchek.com/ We are authorized with hundreds of government agencies nationwide to provide consumers with the ability to securely and simply order their vital records online. You can also contact our office at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  4. Hi, I applied to renew my kid’s passport and submitted her original birth certificate with the application. We received her new passport, but we had to move out of our home before the other documents (including the birth certificate) were mailed back to us. It has been more than 3 months now but we haven’t received those documents yet. Checked with the passport office too, the documents haven’t been returned to them either. So I assume the documents are either lost or stolen.

    I already have another copy of her birth certificate with me. I would like to know whether I have to apply for a new copy of the birth certificate. Will the new copy be issued with a new record number and will that make the previous certificate to be invalid? What is the procedure to report a lost/stolen birth certificate?

    Thanks

    1. Hello, and thank you for your questions. If the certificate copy you still have is a certified copy, then you shouldn’t have to order a new one. If the copy you still have is a photocopy, then we suggest ordering a new certified copy to have available for future purposes – such as school registration at a new school, or signing your child up for a sports program. However, at the very least you may want to report to the agency who issued her certificate that it has been lost or possibly stolen, since it hasn’t been returned to you. If you do feel that her certificate was stolen, you should report it to the police and credit bureaus to help prevent against any possible identity theft issues if someone uses her certificate wrongfully. Best Regards.

  5. I lost a note book which had a photo copy of birth certificate in it on the subway train or at the bus stop I contacted the security police for the subway transportation system I used they put me in contact with their loss prevention office I left a detailed description of the binder which had other certificates I use for a job interview I went on that day my birth certificate was also inside. They gave me a case number incase someone turned it in. It was not the original but I am still concerned about identity theft. What else should I do?.

    1. Hello Rosia and thank you for your question.
      If it was only a copy of the certificate then you should be fine. A copy is not a considered a legal or certified document. Of course they will have your birth information however that alone should not be enough to steal your Identity or open up any accounts in your name, since your social security number is not listed on your birth certificate.
      It is still a good idea to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. I think that you have done all you could do with reporting it.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  6. Hi,
    How can I stop anybody from getting my birth certificate? Even immidiat family?
    My name was placed on somebody’s birth certificate. However the child who is 18 now lives with her mother in Australia. I tried to get pater tiny established for over 10 years. However, it has been denied by the mother. Now, the child is trying to get a copy of my birth certificate for immigration purposes to apply for citizenship! What can I do that my birth certificate will not get released?
    I spoke to immigration and my birth certificate alone wouldn’t be enough documents.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      Typically a birth certificate is only available to entitle people however it does vary by the state you were born in. To find out who is able to order your certificate you should contact the vital records office in the state where you were born. If you need assistance locating the phone number for the vital records office for you please let us know and we’ll be happy to assist.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  7. My cousin does not speak to my elderly grandfather regularly but out of the blue she calls & tells him she needs a copy of his birth certificate. Should he send it? Im worried this is not for a good reason, what can they possibly do with it?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      We recommend not sending your actual birth certificate anywhere unless it is for a legitimate reason. Is this his only copy? If a copy is acceptable then he can make a photo copy and send that, but only if he feels comfortable doing so.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  8. Hi,

    My neighbor stepped in as a father figure for me when i was a child. 5 years ago he lost his wife to cancer. Shortly there after he lost his home to foreclosure and was physically removed from the home by police. He was never allowed back into the house for any of his things including his records and IDs. He has nothing now to prove who he is. He has been living with me for the past few years and i need to get a copy of his birth certificate to start the process to get him a photo ID. Can i request a copy of his birth certificate? If so, where and what website can help me do this? He was born in IOWA.

    Thank you,
    Karen

    1. Hello Karen and thank you for your question.
      He may be able to order his birth certificate through the VitalChek online service for the state of Iowa without having to provide an ID as long as he is able to pass the online verification which will prove who he is, and he is paying with a credit card in his name. He can contact our office at 1-866-809-0290 to place the order or he can visit us at http://www.vitalchek.com . We are the authorized ordering service for the state of Iowa as you will see on the Iowa government website http://idph.iowa.gov/health-statistics/request-record
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  9. Hi! I misplaced my newborn son’s certificate of birth from the hospital (not the one from the county). Is our identities in danger?

    1. Good afternoon Michelle and thank you for your question. Typically someone cannot take ones identity with only a birth certificate. The hospital copy is not recognized as legal document anyway. You will however need to obtain a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate from the state where he was born. You can contact the state vital records office directly or you can process an order through http://www.VitalChek.com or by calling us at 1-800-255-2414. We work directly with hundreds of government agencies nationwide to provide consumers with the ability to securely order their vital records online.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  10. My daughters step mom texted said need a copy of my daughters birth certificate for recertification for insurance my daughter has never used his insurance she’s on medical card and the times we tried at dentist office to use insurance I had to pay up front and they would reimburse me not her dad because he didn’t pay it
    They mailed check back to him and he kept we were never married he’s never been a real part of her life I’m worried they are trying to do something else with this she will be 18 and senior I don’t want her credit messed up before turning of age !!

  11. If your birth certificate is an important identity document, why then aren’t we given OUR ORIGINAL instead of a copy being that its OUR propery. If we are to keep it from being accessed by other people, really. Why then is a copy of OUR ‘important identity document aka birh certificate given to the interntional bank?? I’ve asked questions but I don’t exspect an answer from someone who say important documents should not be accessable to anyone thats not the one named on birh certificate. When you know a copy is sent to the international bank

    1. Hello Celestine and thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. I do apologize, I’m not sure what you mean when you say “given to interntional bank”. I may be completely missing your question. If so please let me know. Typically, the state is given the information from the hospital to register a birth, the vital records office creates a birth certificate for that person with the information they are provided. They then send out a certified copy of the birth certificate to the entitle people. No one ever receives an original government, state, county birth certificate, only a certified copy including the information that they listed in that office. A lot of people mistake the hospital copy or heirloom copy as an original birth certificate however neither of those types are considered a legal or certified document.
      If someone wants a certified copy of a birth certificate they must be entitle to the record. Each state has their own list of who they consider entitle to the certificate. To find out who is entitle in a specific location you can contact the state vital records office directly or VitalChek at 1-800-255-2414. Hopefully this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I’ll be happy to answer them the best I can.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  12. Hello!
    I was hoping you could help me.
    I was cleaning and I had noticed that I couldn’t find my birth certificate.
    I found my social security card but I’m guessing I missplaced my birth certificate.
    I have no recollection of taking it with me anywhere and now I’m worried.
    I’m hoping I didn’t bring it with me anywhere but I’m not sure.
    Should I report it? Or just get a new one?
    Hope you can help!!

    1. Thank you for your question. If you are unable to find your birth certificate, it’s probably best to request a new certified copy so that you have it when you need it. If you feel the lost certificate may have been taken by someone else, it may be best to report it as stolen to help ensure your identity stays protected. If you have specific questions, you may want to contact the vital record agency responsible for issuing your birth certificate directly. Thank you.

  13. I want my baby to have dual citizenship. She is a born US Citizen and the Chilean office is asking for a certified copy of my child’s birth certificate. They said they will keep the copy in their file and not return it. Is it safe to give them this document?

    1. Hello Loreta & thank you for your question.

      Yes, this is the normal procedure when it comes to dual citizenship. We recommend ordering another copy of your child’s birth certificate so that you will have one for yourself before you send the current copy. VitalChek offers the convenience of ordering birth records and other vital records for yourself or your family from the privacy of your home or office, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, with no hidden fees or unexplained charges. No traffic, no standing in line, no parking, no hassles. For 25 years, VitalChek has been an official, government-authorized service for citizens to securely order certified birth certificates and other vital records from official government agencies nationwide. Other online services may not be authorized by the agency issuing birth records, and may charge additional fees without providing approved services or guaranteeing confidentiality of your data. You can visit our site at https://www.vitalchek.com/ .

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  14. Hello, I let my ex borrow my son’s birth certificate last month because he said he needed it to get my son a trust fund, after hr took my son for summer vacation he begged me if he could take my kid to maxico that he had an emergency with his fiancé in Mexico so I let him take my son and said he used the birth certificate to take him out Tx! So I assumed he lied to me about the trust fund he just wanted to take the birth cerficate and now he won’t give me back the birth certificate back! What do I do??!

    1. Hello Maria and than you for your question.
      You can order a new certified birth certificate for son from the state where he was born. Depending on where your son was born you should be able to order it on our VitalChek.com website. We make it easy to order birth certificates and other government-certified vital records from hundreds of agencies nationwide with easy to follow instructions. Our step-by-step ordering process has clear instructions and effortless editing features to help ensure the accuracy of your order. https://www.vitalchek.com/
      Hopefully this information will be helpful.
      Sincerely,
      Nichole H.

  15. Birth certificate and social security got stolen out of my truck after being impounded by the police what should I do? Do I risk identity theft?

    1. Good morning Joel,

      Since you didn’t mention your I.D. as being stolen, you can apply for a new copy of your certified birth certificate. Once you have your birth certificate you can take that along with your valid I.D. to the social security office and apply for a new social security card. When they ask you the reason you are needing a new social security card you can advise them yours was stolen. They can instruct you on any further steps to take to avoid any possible fraud being committed using your information. If you need assistance ordering a new certified copy of your birth certificate you can visit us at https://www.vitalchek.com/ or call our office at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  16. After working a few short days at a company, I got into an accident and was let go. The problem, my birth certificate and completed new hire paperwork are still at the office. I requested for the company to overnight my birth certificate and final paycheck. It’s been 5 days and haven’t received it yet. I found a new job closer to home and start Monday. I need my BC to work and I don’t have time to go down to the county recorder to obtain a certified copy. What can I do about this?

    1. Thank you for your question, and we’re sorry to hear about your accident. The quickest way to obtain the birth certificate copy you had provided to your employer, is probably to go there in person and get it from them, if they have not yet sent it per your request. Otherwise, if you need an additional copy you can contact the vital record agency responsible for issuing the certificate directly, or order it online through VitalChek.com. Good luck with your new position. Thank you.

  17. My children, and I just join a church that told us in order to join they needed the birth certificate’s. The is call the NIC the church of christ base from the philapines what should I do.
    s

    1. Thank you for your question. While we are not aware of any churches that require birth certificates for membership purposes, each organization has different requirements. We would suggest asking pertinent questions and using your best judgment with regards to submitting your birth certificates to anyone. Thank you.

  18. Is it illegal for someone who is not family, like a landlord to knowingly open a lock box and keep my family’s birth certificate and other important papers and not report that she found the lock box left in her rental that we rented from her by accident when we moved my stepdad received what papers where left but no lock box and no certificats?

    1. Hello Rita. Thank you for your question. We can only suggest that you contact authorities if you believe that the landlord is knowingly in possession of your property and refuses to return it. They may be able to advise you if you have any legal options to get your possessions back.

  19. I’m registering my child in a private school and they are requesting a copy of his birth certificate. Is that right? What do they need a COPY for? I mean I can just bring the real one in and they can verify with their own eyes for registration can’t they? They don’t NEED a copy do they?

    1. Hello Chris. Many schools require a birth certificate for registration. This assures that the student is actually who he or she says she is and is in the correct class based on age. You will need to check with your school to see if they will need to keep a copy on file or whether they just need to see your child’s birth certificate during registration.

  20. I went to a church to get my newborn baby girl baptized and they said during the meeting they needed her birth certificate and they would eventually hand it back to me. 4 months later I never received a call or the certificate never got mailed back to my home address. I called their office and they said they couldn’t find it anywhere and I should just go pick up another one for her like it wasn’t a big deal. Next day the lady said she thinks it could have been shredded. I am pretty angry about it. What should I do next?

    1. Hello Dani. We sorry to hear you have been unable to get your child’s birth certificate back from your church. Unfortunately since they are unable to locate the birth certificate, your best option will be to order a new one. It is up to your discretion as to whether or not you request that they pay the fees associated with ordering the new certificate.

  21. I understand that employers can now ask to see a copy of your birth certificate, which is fine, but are they allowed to take a copy of it and keep it? Surely once they have proof they can just tick a box and they don’t need to story a digital or hard copy of it.

    1. Hello Thomas. Thank you for reaching out to us. Typically an employer would only, at the most copies of these types of documents. To inquire further you may need to reach out to their Human recourse department.

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  22. My child’s school needs a copy of his birth certificate. We feel that our state discloses too much information on the parents (age, marital status, education, etc). Are we able to redact the non pertinent information? Or can we obtain an shorter version of the birth certificate? State is Virginia . Thanks.

    1. Hello Sean. Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. We certainly understand your hesitancy to give out too much personal information if it isn’t necessary. We suggest you do a couple things. Contact the Virginia Department of Health’s Vital Records Division at 804-662-6200 to determine what forms of birth certificates are available and then contact the school to see what versions of the birth certificate they will accept.

  23. I lost my daughter’s birth certificate. She was born abroad. The country in which she was born issued a new birth certificate and few days ago I found the lost one. We became a U.S Citizen few years ago. On all process to become a US Citizen I used the original birth certificate and now I want to apply for her for Certificate of Citizen. Which birth certificate should I use? She also has a US Passport and I used the old birth certificate. I never contact US authorities or immigration department. The difference between certificates is serial number and the date when was issued.

    1. Hello Lara. Thanks for reaching out to us. You will most likely need to reach out to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for further guidance on this issue. Sorry we couldn’t be of further assistance.

  24. Hi, my brother took my nefew to Mexico before getting him a passport and he is a US citizen and the only immediate family member my brother has here in the US to help him to get a passport for his child is me, but in order to do that I need a birth certificate. Can I get a birth certificate for my nefew in the state of california if me and my nefew and my brother have the same last name to proof that I am reletad to him??? Please advice! My brother cannot come back because he is not legal.

    1. Hello Gris. Thank you for reaching out to us with your question. Chances are, as an uncle, you will not be able to obtain your nephew’s birth certificate unless you are a legal guardian or are otherwise authorized by the court. You can contact the vital records agency in the county where your nephew was born for further details. Your brother may be able to obtain the birth certificate himself by ordering online through VitalChek.com. VitalChek is the only external processor authorized across the nation for ordering official vital records like birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates online.

  25. Hello! My brother and my sister=in-law took my birth certificate from my sister. they plan to keep it for future
    needs. my brother doesn’t have a birth certificate.. our parents never did order one for him,
    i want the birth certificate returned to me, will you advise me on how i should handle this situation?

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Grace. We’re sorry to hear about the situation regarding your birth certificate. You may be able to order a certified copy of your birth certificate through Vitalchek.com or the vital records agency in the city/state where you were born. Unfortunately, regarding the copy of your birth certificate that your brother has in his possession – if you are unable to convince him to return it, you may need to contact the authorities and file a police report since identity theft is a concern. We wish you luck in resolving this issue.

  26. Hello!! I am a little scared now because I emailed a company a copy of my Birth Certificate and Drivers License in order to prove my identity for a lost account. They did state to blur out important stuff which I totally forgot to and I am now extremely scared. My drivers License however does not have my updated address. Still, I am scared because i didn’t blur out the ID number and the certificate number. Should I be concerned at all? What should I do? 🙁

    1. Hello Karina. While your information is probably safe, it still may be a good idea to regularly monitor your accounts for a while to make sure there is no suspicious activity. Be prepared to contact your accounts if anything looks out of the ordinary.

  27. So I recently just turned 18 and I just got ahold of my SSN and birth certificate. The other day I left my envelope ,containing my documents, in the back seat of a friend’s car. I called and texted this person but they refused to bring it . And I don’t want to pay for a new one so what shall I do ? Do I report my documents as stolen or what ?

    1. Good morning, Tylicia. We’re sorry to hear about your predicament. We suggest you try again as soon as possible to get your documents from your friend. If that fails, the next step would be to report them lost or stolen and begin the process to get replacement documents. We wish you luck in resolving this isuue.

  28. The birth certificates of our girls softball team was stolen. They are all miners. What am. I able.to do? Where do I report it? I am sick about it. Please advise. Any help.is appreciated.

    1. Hello Debbie. We’re sorry to hear about the theft of the girls’ birth certificates. This has the potential to be a serious problem since there’s a very real possibility of identity theft. We suggest you contact the police and file a report as soon as possible. They will more than likely provide you with suggestions on what other actions to take. To get replacement copies of their birth certificates, the girls (or their parents) will have to contact the vital records agency in the city/state where they were born. They may also be able to order online at VitalChek.com.

  29. my sons girl friend applied for my birl certificate with out my consent she used it to marry my son I have just found out what can I do

    1. Hello Tracey. If your son’s girlfriend applied for your birth certificate without your consent, this may be a case of fraud which should be reported to your local law enforcement agency.

  30. My daughter needs a copy of her birth certificate for employment, I have the original, however it has my social security number on it. Can i use
    black marker to conceal my social security number without compromising the document. Thank you.

    1. Hello Kim. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We do not recommend using a black marker on her original birth certificate as it is an official document. That being said, chances are that it may no longer be valid for certain legal and employment purposes anyway due to changes in government regulations in recent years. We recommend she find out if the company will accept a photocopy of the original for her employment purposes and what information needs to be present. If they will accept the photocopy, black out your social security number on the copy. If she does need to order a certified copy, she can order online through VitalChek.com or visit a vital records office in the state where she was born if that is convenient.

  31. My son has gained a copy of my birth certificate, without my knowledge or permission, what rights do i have, as i do not give my permission for it to be used ?

    1. Hello Polly. Sorry to hear about your situation. More than likely, your son did nothing illegal in obtaining your birth certificate as the entitlement requirements in many states allow for children (over the age of 18) to obtain the birth certificate of a parent. That being said, if you believe he has used it for fraudulent purposes, you may want to contact the authorities and file a report.

  32. hello, my ex school does not want to return my original documents (birth certificates) even though i am studying in other school.. is there a law article that i can go against them? or what shall i do?

    1. Hello Felicia. You may need to seek legal advice to determine if there is any way you can get your documents back. You can also get a certified copy of your certificate by ordering directly through the vital records agency that issued the original or by placing an online order through an online ordering service such as VitalChek.

  33. Hi I have a question my daughters youth cheerleading league is requiring her and well I should say is to upload her birth certificate on to their website in order to participate this year. Is this illegal for them to do? Since it could be very easy to hack. And it has several private information that will be left on there. Is there any websites that I could use to show them that this is illegal.

    1. Hello Krystal. While the cheerleading league’s request may not be illegal, you certainly have every right to be concerned about the identity theft possibilities. Before you comply, ask them to provide proof that their website is secure and meets security protocols to be obtaining such information. If you are still not comfortable proceeding, ask if you can submit a copy of the birth certificate physically rather than electronically.

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