birth certificate format

Birth Certificates: Short Form vs. Long Form – What’s the Difference?

Did you know there are different versions for birth certificate format? You may have heard the terms short form and long form birth certificate during the time when President Obama was being questioned about his place of birth. This heated debate brought to light the two most common versions of a birth certificate,which are the short and long form. Both versions of the certificate contain important place of birth information and the amount of information can vary depending on the state you are obtaining it from. There are certain times when you will be required to show a long form birth certificate and understanding when it will be required is important. Let’s look at the differences between these two versions of birth certificates.

Short Form Birth Certificate Format

A short form birth certificate contains almost all of the important information that is on a long form birth certificate except it may not have signatures or detailed parents information on it depending on the state location. It can usually be used for proving citizenship and for proof of identity but it may not always be accepted by every state or for all applications. To see if your state accepts a short form birth certificate as proof of identity or citizenship, you can contact your local governing body such as city hall.

Long Form Birth Certificate Format

A long form birth certificate is sometimes referred to as the official version, each state may call it something a little different. It typically has all of the information you would expect to see on a birth certificate but can also vary by the location in which the person was born – time and place of birth, parent’s names,address, signatures of those present at birth, etc. You will need a long form birth certificate if you are looking to start an adoption process, if you are applying for a dual citizenship, or are looking to obtain a passport.

It doesn’t hurt to have different versions of a birth certificate, but they should be stored in a safe place. Having your vital records organized and ready is the first step in being prepared for unexpected life events or taking the stress out of planned life events. For questions about how to obtain a birth certificate, you can read more here.


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