How to Determine if Your Birth Certificate is Official

In May 8, 2014

Howtodetermineifyourebirthcertificateisofficial

Your birth certificate is a primary form of identification and proof of citizenship in the US. Not having an official copy of your birth certificate or your child’s birth certificate makes it difficult to get a driver’s license, state identification or passport. Most schools require you to show a certified birth certificate when you enroll your child in school for the first time, to make sure he or she is the right age to start kindergarten. If you need a copy of a birth certificate for any legal reason, it needs to be an authorized or official copy, not an informational or heirloom copy.

Certified vs. Informational Birth Certificates

The major difference between an authorized, official birth certificate copy and an informational birth certificate copy is how it can be used. If you need to prove your own or your child’s identity or age, an official certificate is needed. An informational copy is simply to let you know that someone was born in a state, city or county, and is usually used in genealogy or family history, but not for legal reasons. Some states, such as Texas, offer heirloom copies, which are meant to be keepsakes or to celebrate state pride. You can hang an heirloom copy on the wall, but you can’t bring it along to the DMV when you apply for a driver’s license.

Another big difference between an official birth certificate and an informational certificate is who can request and receive the certificate. In most states, only the person named on the certificate, a member of his or her immediate family or an attorney can order a certified birth certificate. People who don’t meet the legal requirements for a certified birth certificate can typically request a non-official, informational or heirloom copy.

Look for the Seal

If you already have a copy of your own or your child’s birth record but aren’t sure if it’s an official one or not, one of the easiest ways to tell is to look for a seal on the certificate itself. Official birth certificates all have a government seal on them. Depending on which state, county or city issued the certificate, the seal might be raised or embossed, multicolored, or impressed into the paper. In addition to an official seal, the birth certificate should have the signature of the state, county or city registrar on it.

Look at the Details

When applying for a passport, the copy of a birth certificate being used needs to have a number of specific details printed on it for it to be valid.  An official birth certificate should include the full name of the individual, as well as his or her date and place of birth. As of 2011, the copy of a birth certificate used to apply for a passport in the US also needs to include the full names of the person’s parent(s).

Another important detail to look for on a certified birth certificate is the date it was filed. If the certificate doesn’t have a filing date or wasn’t filed within a year of the birth, you can’t use it to apply for a passport, as official identification, or as proof of citizenship.

When ordering your own birth certificate, or your child’s, the reason you specify for needing the certificate will usually dictate the type of certificate to order. So, be sure to specify the proper reason you need the certificate when ordering to ensure that it contains all of the information required for your purposes.

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217 Comments

  1. A gentleman was born in TX in the 1930’s. He has, I believe, an informational birth certificate. In other words, it’s not a valid or official birth certificate. He says there is no other information about his birth, other than that paper he has. He needs to get a passport (he never traveled outside of the U.S.) and the paper is not accepted. They are asking for a ‘real’ certificate with a seal.
    What can he do? Where can he go?
    Thank you!

    1. Great question, thank you for asking. Official, certified Texas birth certificates acceptable for getting a passport can be ordered through VitalChek.com. To order online, the gentleman, or a family member on his behalf, would need to use a credit card, answer specific questions about his birth, and possibly provide additional identity verification information to help ensure the official certificate is only issued to the right person. If this online process is not feasible, we recommend contacting the State of Texas Vital Records office directly (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/) to assist with his certificate request. Thank you.

      1. I think this is complete B’s. I have what I thought was my son’s birth certificate. It was good enough for school all this time. It was even accepted for medicade from the FEDERAL government. It was good enough to get his social security card but not enough for his learners permit at the DMV??? That is RIDICULOUS!! All it is is wanting more money. There is no information on my “official” copy that is any different than the copy I received from the hospital which also had two handprints that are UNDISPUTABLE identification markers. How can it be acceptable for the FEDERAL government and not the DMV? Oh….I guess cuz the hospital copy is free LMAO!

        1. There definitely are situations where a hospital copy of a birth certificate may be acceptable; however, in recent years federal and states regulations have changed and most legal uses for a birth certificate (such as a driver’s license, a passport, etc.) now require specific information that may not be on the original hospital copy. While we understand the confusion, it is up to the organizations requiring the verification of birth and the government agencies issuing the certificates to determine what is acceptable for a specific use. Thank you.

          1. There is no information that is different. In fact my “hospital” copy has MORE info lol…

  2. Why is there an address on my daughters birth certificate?

    1. Thank you for your question. Depending on the issuing location an address may have been recorded on your daughter’s birth certificate. Typically it would be the address of the parents at time the child was born or possibly the hospitals address. If this address doesn’t match any that you are familiar with you should contact the issuing vital records office directly. Thank you

  3. Do all birth certificates have a red seal on them? My fiancé and I were both born in Mississippi, but in different counties. He ordered his original birth certificate and I got mine from my parents. His has the red seal but mine doesn’t but my dad believes it is the original. How can I tell so I can obtain a passport?

    1. Thank you for your question.
      Depending on the county and when the birth certificate was issued the certificate may look different. State and county offices tend to change their certificate format from time to time. Meaning a certificate ordered 5 years ago may not look the same as a certificate ordered today. Some vital record offices may certify their certificates with a red seal and others may use security paper with a watermark. Either way they choose to certify the record they can both be considered certified. If you have had the same birth certificate since you were born it would probably be best to order a new certificate so that you have a more current record especially since security rules have changed. Please remember to indicate that you will be needing this certificate for passport travel when ordering and it’s suggested to order from the state office instead of the county to ensure that you receive a certified state issued certificate with all the required information. Please remember you can always go to to https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/mississippi to order your official state issued birth certificate. We are a leading, authorized service for ordering government-issued vital records and can help you quickly obtain your personal vital records.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions. Thank you, Nichole H.

  4. I have my birth certificate and it states Fort Wayne – Allen County Vital Records Dept. How do I find out what HOSPITAL I was born in. My mother always refused to tell me and said it was torn down. No family member knows but all say they do not know of a hospital in Ft. Wayne being torn down in 1950’s. What do i do?

    1. Hello and Thank You for your question. If your family is unsure of the hospital you can reach out to the vital records office that issued your certificate to see if that information is recorded in their office. Thank you, Nichole H.

  5. I’m planning on getting my CA state id next week and while searching for my birth certificate I found that I only have the small one that is 1/3 of the long one.
    I was wondering if I can use the small one or do I have to get the long one?

    1. Hello Michelle and thank you for your question. Each state’s birth certificate can look a little different. As long as you have a certified birth certificate you should be ok. If you’ve had this birth certificate for along time (10 or more years) then we recommend that you order a new certified, long form birth certificate. The reason we recommend this is due to the requirement changes and stricter policies in the past years. You can order a new certificate at http://www.vitalchek.com we are the authorized expedited ordering service for the state and county offices. If you need any assistance in the ordering process you can also contact our office at 1-800-255-2141. Thank you, Nichole H.

  6. To begin, let’s say someone wasn’t born in the hospital and has no official record of any documented form of a birth but, attended public school and graduated with a diploma. What would be the necessary action to take in order to aquire a birth certificate

    1. Hello and thank you for your question. You would need to start by contacting the state or county vital records office that the person was born in. They will be able to give the proper steps to to take in obtaining a birth certificate. This scenario is more common than most people think. Thank you, Nichole H.

  7. My husband is an American citizen born abroad. He has his original Live Birth Abroad Certificate. We need a certified copy to give to his employer because they will not be able to return it. Is there a way to get a certified copy made from the original we have?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question. Yes, he can order a certified copy of his birth certificate. You can go to https://www.vitalchek.com/content/bornabroad.aspx# and print off both pages (separately- must be on 2 pages) of the American Citizens Born Abroad Premium Service application. The instructions will be on the page.
      Please note for all American Citizens Born Abroad applications whether through VitalChek’s premium service or directly with the State agency a notary stamp will be required.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  8. Hello,
    I have Bank of America printed on the bottom of my birth certificate. Why would a name of a bank be listed on a birth certificate? I would like some answers as to why a bank is listed on my birth certificate? Also, if the birth certificate is actually copy righted intellectual property of the Bank of America?

    1. Hello & thank you for your question. This is the 1st I have heard of a state agency using bank issued security paper to print a birth certificate. You should contact the vital records office that issued the certificate. They will be the only one able to explain why.
      Thank you, Nichole H.

  9. what do yo do when you find that your original birth certificate has no seal?

    1. Hello and Thank You for your question.
      If you feel that the certificate you have is not certified with a seal you can also look for a water mark in the security paper it was printed on. If you cannot locate either of these marks then you can contact the vital records office and ask them how they certify their records. Keep in mind that if you’ve had your birth certificate for over 10 years it is a good idea to order an updated certified copy of your birth certificates. We will be happy to assist you in this process at http://www.vitalchek.com.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  10. My fiance is trying to apply gor a passport. He has a PA birth certificate that was not issued until 5 years after his birth and it does not have his parents names or any signatures at all. How does this happen and how do we rectify this situation?

    1. Hello and Thank you for your question.
      For the state of Pennsylvania your fiancé will need to order a new copy of his birth certificate. In order to get a passport the parents names must be listed. When ordering his new updated birth certificate make sure he lets them know he is needing it for a passport so they will be sure to include all the required information. If he is able to go in person to the Pennsylvania vital records office then he can usually receive it the same day (which is the fastest route) However if he does not have the convenience of going in person ordering through VitalChek ( https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/pennsylvania ) is the next expedited route. I will say that PA tends to take longer to process orders so be sure to give yourself plenty of time in between so that you’ll have it in time.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

      1. Hi! We are having a problem with my fiancé’s PA birth certificate, also. The first one we took to the post office for our passports didn’t have his parents name on it. We drove to another state over the weekend to pick up another one that his mother had and today the post office said they couldn’t take it either because his parents names were written in and it doesn’t have the official raised seal. The processing time for a PA birth certificate is 20-25 days (we live in Arkansas), we need it to order the passport and we are leaving in 7 weeks to go out of the country.

        1. Hello Kayse. Thanks for reaching out to us. In some instances, certain states may “rush” a vital records order if you can provide evidence of need for the rush. I have forwarded your email address on to our customer service department and asked them to assist you with this. If you do not receive an email correspondence from us, please send the description of your issue along with your phone number to Vitals.Research@vitalchek.com and we’ll be happy to assist you with this.

  11. When did the United States change the look of the birth certificate. I was born in 1962 and my son was born in the 1990’s. His birth certificate is blue and has the decorative border.

    Thanks.

    1. Hello and Thank You for your question.
      Birth certificate’s tend to change formats every so often. Usually about every 5 years or so the look can change however the information on the certificate should remain the same. Its recommended that if your birth certificate is over 10 years old to order an updated version due to the changes in security and requirements of some DMV offices.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  12. A friend has two birth certificates, one from Florida and one from Pennsylvania. The bigger issue is that the Florida one says he was born in 1974 and the PA one says 1971, same birth day though. Other differences are the names of the parents on each certificate are different and he wasn’t adopted. The Florida one says his mother (with her current last name, not maiden), and fathers name of the person he says is his father. The PA cert says his mothers maiden name and a different father of whom he shares a last name. He uses the Pennsylvania birth certificate and his drivers license has the 1971 date. Also, if you do a people search it says the age that matches the 1971 date. The Florida birth certificate was just received in the mail, I guess from vital records, the PA one says it was issued in 2007. He’s always told me he was the age that matches the 1974 birth year, but it just seems too fishy to me, and I’m thinking the Florida cert is a fake. I told him he needed to get this fixed if we were to continue a relationship and that’s when he produced the Florida cert. Is this even a possibility to get a fake birth certificate? I know people can get fake degrees and such, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a fake birth cert is a possibility. Also, how could his mother get a new birth certificate in a state he wasn’t born in with a different fathers name on it? Please let me know what you think. Thanks

    1. Hello and thank you for your question. The bigger issue is definitely the fact that he has 2 birth certificate from 2 different states. You can only have a birth certificate from the state you born in. Unless you are adopted, then you could possibly have a birth certificate issued from the state you were adopted in and the state your were born in. However once you are adopted the original certificate is not longer valid and should no longer be able to obtain that record. Since you say this person was never adopted (and you are absolutely positive about this). 1st thing to determine is, where was this person actually born, Florida or Pennsylvania? This is the state that he would need to contact about any incorrect information listed on the record. Once he contacts them let them know the situation about 2 different certificate from 2 different states. They should be able to shine some light on the situation. As far as “fake birth certificates”, I guess it would be possible for someone to create a fake certificate however I’m not sure why they would. It would most likely be highly illegal since that usually is what establishes proof of citizenship and identity. I hope that your friend is able to figure out whats going on and obtain the correct certificate. Thank you.

  13. Hi sooo I’m guessing I will be denied a passport because it was issued more than a year after my birth? It was filed in 1997 and I was born in 1988. I’m also adopted so my PA birth certificate is Amended? Please help cause I want my passport sooo bad!

    1. Hello and thank you for your question. That is not uncommon for an amended birth certificate to filed at a later date. Usually this is due to the amendment. I’m guessing the new birth certificate information (after the adoption) was filed in 1997. Just make sure when ordering your PA birth certificate that you enter all the information from after the adoption took place such as, adopted parents and your name. If you are unsure about the requirements or the information to request please contact the Pennsylvania vital records office.
      Thank you, Nichole H.

  14. For employment verification, in the state of Texas, I have a potential employee that has a digital copy of his birth certificate. Do I have to have a hard copy of the certificate, or is a digital or photocopy sufficient (providing that the image is of the certified copy)?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      Typically an actually hard copy of the certified birth certificate is required. Some employers may accept a digital copy as long as its accompanied by their the SS card and valid State I.D./ Drivers license. It is probably best to check with the human resource department within your company to find what is required.
      Thank you.

  15. I’m fixing to send you guys the form for a consular certificate of birth, does that have a seal on it? I’m an American citizen born in Germany, my parents were and are u.s citizens etc.

    1. Hello Chris & thank you for your question.
      I’m not sure why you would send us a copy of your consular certificate, do you have an order processing with us?
      You can order a certified copy of your birth certificate through our services. We assist with US Citizens born abroad & they typically certify their records with a raised seal or water mark paper. If you need to place an order for your certificate you can do so by accessing the link provided: https://www.vitalchek.com/content/bornabroad.aspx# .
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  16. Greetings:
    My first name was changed approximately 6 days after my birth. Do I apply (on-line) for a copy of my original birth certificate using my original first name, or can my original birth certificate record be obtained using my new name (I was issued a “raised seal” copy of the amended “Certification of Birth” back in 1972, however, this document does not contain parent’s names, hospital info.).

    Thank you.

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      If your birth certificate was legally changed then you will only be able to obtain a copy of the certificate with the amendment applied. Some states will include the original name and information along with the amendment showing the change. To find out exactly what is available in the you can reach out the vital records office amendment/corrections department in the state you were born. If you need to order a new certified copy of your birth certificate you can do so at Vitalchek.com . It is best to indicate that you are needing your certificate for passport/travel or legal purposes when placing your order, this will typically ensure the state lists all the available information.
      Thank you.

  17. I have some clients that are stating that they were given only a card, approx the size of a credit card, that states “registration of birth”. Was this the birth certificate for some states, like Virginia, in the past (1940 and up) or is there also a long form on file?

    1. Hello Dawn- There are some states that have issued birth registration cards in the past. There may even be a few that still do. While the birth registration card may be acceptable for somethings it’s always a good idea to have an actual certified long form birth certificate. If you need assistance in obtaining a certified birth certificate you can visit us at http://www.vitalchek.com we are the leading provider for ordering vital records from the state vital records offices.
      Thank you, Nichole H.

  18. Hello,

    I just tried (and failed) at getting my MN license. I have always had my ‘heirloom’ birth certificate and I have no issues in getting a license in CA, SC and OH in the past. I even got into the military with my birth certificate (I was born on a Air Force Base) and had all my checks (FBI/Security Clearance) done starting with this birth certificate. My question is why is MN giving me a hard time even though I have a valid license from another state? I already ordered a real birth certificate from my state and it will be here next week. But in the mean time I called Internal affairs/complaint dept of the MN DMV and the lady told me they should have let me test with what I have?! So what gives, is this a total subjective ‘check’ by different state agencies?

    Thanks for answering my question.

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      Most states now require a certified copy of your birth certificate to obtain a driver license. This will soon be a requirement in every state if it isn’t already. Where as a heirloom copy may have been good for just about everything before the laws have changed especially over the last 15 years or so.The Department of Safety & Homeland Security increased the level of verification needed to prove that everyone is in fact who they say they are. This could be the reason that you now have to prove your citizenship with a certified state or county issued birth certificate. I know we have had to do this in the state of TN for at least the last 10 years.
      I hope that your certificate reaches you in time & that all goes well.
      Thank you.

  19. Hello,
    I am planning to get the real id in my state (nv) and it indicates a hospital birth certificate is not valid? Does that just mean a certificate of live birth with no seal is not valid?

    1. Hello Dawn and thank you for your question. Most states now require a certified state orcounty issued copy of your birth certificate and will no longer except a hospital copy when obtaining a state I.D..
      Thank you.

  20. I ordered a copy of mine and my husbands birth certificates. My husbands came back with his mother first initial only and last name. is it valid?

    1. Hello Amber and thank you for your question. Has your husbands certified birth certificates in the past listed his mothers full name? If yes, then I would suggest he contacts the vital records office that sent it to him and find out why they sent it to him this way? If its always been listed with only the 1st initial then it would most likely mean at the time he was born that’s how it was recorded and yes it would be valid.
      Thank you.

  21. I ordered a copy of my BC through Vital Check to obtain a passport.. It does not list the hospital , Doctor or time of birth. Will there be an issue with that… It does list parents name.

    Thank you Joyce!

    1. Good morning Joyce and thank you for your question. A lot of certified birth certificate will not list the hospital or time of birth. The State or county vital records office are the ones that make that determination. You should not have a problem obtaining a passport due to the lack of that information. Please let us know if there are any issues.
      Thank you.

  22. hi any info on ; birth certificate weather it can be used the Old birth certificate from the time before the child has had his name changed to his step fathers one. Is the Old birth certificate still valid or only the last updated? thanks

    1. Hello Monika,
      The up to date version with the amendment applied to it would be the valid birth certificate. Once that child has to obtain a state I.D. the I.D. would need to reflect their “current legal name” which would be what it was legally changed to. There may be places that would accept the old birth certificate not knowing there was a change however we would not suggest you use it for verification of identity or any type of registration as that can lead to confusion in the future.
      Thank you.

  23. im applying for my first passport and my parents name is not on my birth certificate and it states that for a passport my parents name should be on it

    1. Hello and thank you for your question. If the birth certificate you have does not list your parents names then you will have to order a new certified, long form copy. When ordering the certificate make sure that you indicate you are needing it for passport/travel, this way the vital records office knows to list all the information required. You can go to http://www.vitalchek.com to see if the state you were born in is available to through our expedited ordering service. Thank you, Nichole H.

  24. I just finished ordering a copy of my Michigan birth certificate. For reason, I marked identification. I just now realized the website states it’s important to mark it was for passport services. Now I’m worried that I won’t receive the correct certificate to obtain my passport. Suggestions?

    1. Good morning Brittani- Please contact our office at 1-800-255-2414. We will look at your order we’ll be sure to let the state know you need this for passport.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  25. Hello. On my original brith certificate my name was misspelled and I had it corrected. When it was updated I received a certified copy with the updated information at the bottom of the paper. Needless to say, I lost that copy. I just requested a long form birth cert. My question is will the birth certificate have the correct spelling or will it be my original birth cert (the one with the incorrect spelling)? It’s a Texas birth cert. Thanks.

    1. Hello Felecia and thank you for your question.
      If you had your certificate amended and you received a copy reflecting the correction you should receive this same certificate every time.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  26. I was born in Hawaii in 1961. I have a Certification of Live Birth issued by the Hawaii State Department of Health in 2007. It has my full name, date of birth, and place of birth; my parents’ full names; the date filed with the registrar’s office, which was within four days of my birth; the registrar’s signature stamp; and an impressed registrar’s seal. That sure looks to me like it meets the standards of the US State Department, but people are telling me I can’t get a US passport with it, because it’s just an abstract, or some other hokey reason. Is that true?

    1. Hello David and thank you for your question.
      If the passport office is saying that the copy of the birth certificate you have is not sufficient for a passport and you believe it should be, the place that would know best what type of certificate you actually have is Hawaii Vital Records. When you contact them let them know what the passport agency is telling you. Unfortunately VitalChek cannot assist with vital records from Hawaii however we can provide you with their contact information 808-586-4400. Hopefully they will be able to help you get to the bottom of this and get you what you need so that you may obtain your passport.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

      1. I haven’t been to the passport office yet. It’s my coworkers and friends who are telling me this.

  27. i live in idaho and was born in idaho. i went down to the dmv to get an i.d. card as i,m unable to drive because of my eye sight. they informed me my original birth certific wasn,t any good i would have to get a new one. this is total b.s it,s jusy another way for the govt to screw you out of $30 now we know how obama got his. he didn,t have an original someone just made one up for him. they can go to hell i,m not paying it. you prob figured out by now i,m a pissed off senior citizen. by the way the cost of living has gone up quie abit another way to screw the seniors. this country has gone to hell.

    1. Typically, birth certificates being used for legal purposes, such as obtaining an ID card, need to be certified by the vital record agency issuing the document – as a security measure. Original birth certificates may not have the proper certification, especially if they were issued more than 20 years prior, which is why they are generally not accepted for such legal purposes.

  28. If someone have not been able to get are birth certificate seen was born and went you to get it but they can’t find her birth certificate and she need for passport,what can she to do?

    1. Thank you for your question. If you need to obtain a birth certificate in order to get a passport, you can order the birth certificate either through our website at VitalChek.com, or through the vital records agency in the city or county where the person was born. Please note that to ensure security of the birth certificate, typically only the people who are listed on the certificate, or immediate family, can order someone’s birth certificate. Thank you.

  29. Hi, I have a question. My son was born in May of 2014. When he was a few months old, we added a second middle name to his name so that he’d have a family name within his name. Fast forward to now… I went to our health dept to officially take 1 letter out of his first name, only because people keep mispronouncing it. I paid for it to be done, plus bought a new birth certificate. The woman then called me back and said I had to bring the new birth certificate back, because we’ve already changed his name once. My question is, what can we do now? I just don’t want him to go through life having to correct people all the time. Thanks for any help!

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      To find out why they will not correct the name for a second time you will need to contact the Vital Records office’s Corrections and amendments department in the state your son was born and explain to them your situation. It’s possible that the Vital records office can only make so many changes before you actually have to obtain a legal name change through the courts.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  30. she contacted were she was born and they can’t find are the birth certificate and also she try to do that online she can’t get it. Kindly advise who will can contact?

  31. Hi. I am going on a closed loop cruise in three days. The cruise ship said I don’t need a passport just birth certificate and license. I have my birth certificate that my mom gave me from 1971. It has a raised seal, registrars name and signature , parents names, date filed (a week after birth) , and is issued by the state of New York vital statistics. It says ” parents please preserve this paper as it is proof of birth and citizenship” . It also says on the back ” this certificate of registration is evidence that the birth of your child has been officially registered . You should preserve it because it is legal evidence of age and citizenship ” it also says ” 4103 Vital statistics ; evidence **any certificate of registration of birth shall be accepted with the same force and effect with respect to the facts therein stated as the original certificate of birth or certified copy thereof”

    My question is, is this an official birth certificate? I only ask because of the word “registration” . It’s freaking me out. My children’s birth certificate looks so different. Did New York in the 70’s issue Certificate of birth registrations as the official birth certificate ? It’s too late to do anything about it now, but I wanted to ask if this document is “official”?

    1. Thanks for your question. It sounds like you have the birth certificate that was originally issued, which may be fine for the purposes of your closed loop cruise. However, some jurisdictions may only maintain these as “official” for a certain time (say 20 or 25 years), and after that time you may be required to obtain a new certified copy to use for official purposes. For verification, we suggest contacting the New York State vital statistics office directly with that question when you return. Happy cruising!

    2. MIchelle, We have the same exact situation here. My husband born the same year in upstate NY and has the exact same certificate and we are leaving on a closed loop cruise this Saturday. Did you have any problems with it? I am getting nervous that this document will not be accepted although it says it is “legal evidence of age and citizenship”. There is a raised seal, parents name place/date of birth, date filed and signature of Registrar….

      1. Tracy, as long as your birth certificate has a raised seal and is clearly legible, it should be acceptable for a closed loop cruise. Hope you have a great trip.

  32. I live in Spain and they require that the birth certificate be issued within three months of presenting nationality request. I called town clerk in New Britain and he said my official birth certificate with appostille does not expire and should be good. Is there any official documentation that mentions this to be true, as I am not sure if Im going to have problems with this. Also, if I do, does vitalcheck provide official birth certificates with apostille?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.

      VitalChek is the authorized ordering service for most of the state and county offices with in the U.S. Some States will issue the certificate with an apostille as long as you indicate that you need it and what you are needing it for. To find out if the state you were born in offers the Certified birth certificate with apostille through our VitalChek service please contact our office at 1-800-55-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  33. how can I get my original blue copy of my birth certificate

    1. Typically, true original certificates are not released; however, you can order an official certified copy of your birth certificate to use for legal purposes such as obtaining a passport, etc. An official certified copy of your birth certificate will only be issued by the vital records office where you were born, and will be printed on security paper including an appropriate signature and/or seal of the registrar – which makes it official. Hope this information helps. Thank you.

  34. Why are true original birth certificates not released? If it belongs to/or is about the person who’s name(s) is on it?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      The mothers copy that is given from the hospital is the original information, not to be confused with the heirloom copy. The heirloom copy is typically used as a keepsake. The certificates that are released from the vital records offices are certified copies of the birth certificate. The certified copies are proof of identity and will be required throughout many different times in ones life (school registration, passport applications, drivers license). The Vital Records offices keep the persons information on file so that if you need a certificated copy of this information (your birth certificate) they will have it to release to you.
      Hopefully this information helps!
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  35. hello. We are attempting to get my father a passport but are facing a birth certificate issue. We recently were able to get a copy of his birth certificate from Georgia where he was born. The problem is he has a different last name and only the mothers name is listed. It is definitely him – every other detail is exact. We were able to obtain a copy of a reissued birth certificate from MI where we live. It is a MI certificate and states his place of birth in Georgia, his mothers name, a fathers name which corresponds to our family name and it was filed 4 years after his birth in 1952. Presumably he was adopted but we have no knowledge or documentation of this. Which birth certificate do we use for the passport application? Either way we will need to get a certified copy.Thanks

    1. Hello and Thank you for your question.
      To obtain a passport you will need a certified copy of a birth certificate. If he was born in the state of Georgia and adopted in a different state then the certificate would still be on file in the state of Georgia. Make sure that it is ordered from the State office. Make sure that you indicate that you will be needing this for passport travel so they issue the certificate that will be sufficient. As far as the last name not matching, this will be a problem. If a legal adoption was performed through the courts his name should have changed to his adopted last name and his birth certificate should have changed to reflect his new adopted name. He will need to show either a birth certificate matching his name or legal name change documents showing how his last name changed from the name on his birth certificate to what he goes by currently. However if you are unsure about the adoption and why the name is different or on how to change the name on the birth certificate you will need to contact the Georgia vital records amendments and corrections department at (404) 679-4701.
      Hopefully this information is helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  36. I am going on a closed loop cruise in a few weeks. It is my understanding that for cruises departing and returning to the same U.S. port, passports are not required, even though they are highly recommended. I have encountered issues obtaining a passport, due to lack of what seems to be considered “approved” documentation; I only have a photocopy of my birth certificate. Additionally, my birth certificate doesn’t match my current identification, due to the fact that I legally changed my name after birth. It seems that though a passport is optional, I could still potentially encounter issues being able to board my cruise ship, if i need to present an official birth certificate. Is this accurate? If so, can you please advise what I need, in order to ensure I will not be prohibited from boarding my upcoming cruise and how to proceed? Thank you!

    1. Hello Noelle and thank you for your question.
      It is definitely a good idea to have a passport considering all the security changes that are taking place.
      A photo copy of a birth certificate is not considered sufficient proof of identity. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate from the state or county vital records office. However in order to obtain your passport you will need to correct your birth certificate to reflect your current legal name. You can contact the vital records office in the state or county where you were born. You will need to make sure you have your legal name change documents available as proof of the legal name change. If you need assistance locating the contact information for the amendments department please let us know and we’ll be happy to assist.

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  37. Would the original copy of a birth certificate be the same thing as a “certified copy.” For example, if something required I submit a “certified copy” of my birth certificate electronically, would my original birth certificate suffice?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      If you have the original issued certified copy than yes that is a still a certified copy. However if you only have the copy from the hospital then no, that would not be considered sufficient. Some people tend to get those 2 certificates confused with each other. Due to the security policies becoming more strict most are urged and some required to order a new certified copy of their birth certificate if the one they have is older than 10 years.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  38. My fiance is from Honduras and I went to apply for a marriage license and I was told that his birth certificate has to have a raised seal on it . The seal from his country is stamped at the bottom ,so I’m confused , could you please explain that to me ?

    1. Hello Lavern and thank you for your question.
      I completely understand the confusion. If the seal is on the certificate then that would be how that country certifies their records. Some locations in the US do the same, use a watermark instead of a raised seal. The best thing to do is contact the Honduras Embassy or consulates office and ask how they certify their records. Ask them if they have changed anything since your fiance’ was issued the certificate he currently has. It is possible due to stricter security policies more certification is required. Even someone born in the US is urged to order a updated certified birth certificate if their copy is older than 10 years.
      Honduras Embassy in United States of America
      Phone
      +1-202-966-7702
      +1-202-966-2604
      We hope this information was helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  39. Hi. My children were all born in Houston, TX and is in need of a birth certificate with a “raised seal.” I have an original birth certificate for them but do not have raised seals. Does Houston even offer this type of bc?

    Thanks.

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.

      The state of Texas has changed their style of birth certificates over the years, as many other states have done the same I will say that not all states use a raised seal to certify their certificates. Some state use a watermarked seal embedded in security paper. To find out how the state of Texas certifies their certificates (raised seal or watermark) you would need to reach out to them directly. However VitalChek is the authorized ordering service for the state of Texas. We can assist you in the ordering of a certified birth certificate from the state of Texas. The certificates ordered are sufficient for passport, travel and typically all other identification needs. https://www.vitalchek.com/
      If you have any questions for us please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  40. I am leaving to get On a cruise in February of this year and I can use my birth certificate as proof of citizenship. I too have the short certificate and the long one. The long one has the watermark but I’m not sure if the short one has them watermark or the seal. Both were issued to me in the state of Illinois in the County of Cook. I guess my question is can I use the long one or should I take both just in case?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      I would recommend you bring both along with your identification ( drivers license/ State issued photo I.D.) just because it’s usually better to have too much documentations than not enough. Also, we recommend you contact the cruise company you are boarding to verify if a passport is required or not?
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  41. Hi

    My sister at one time stated to me that she didn’t know the time of her birth, weight, etc. The time is not stated on the Pennsylvania birth certificate and our parents are deceased.

    What is the best way to get this information? Can I order hospital records for my mother? I wanted to surprise my sister with this information if possible.

    Thank you very much

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      That is a very thoughtful gift for your sister. Having the hospital copy would be the best document to learn the information you mentioned. However obtaining the hospital copy can be a different process depending on the state. Start at the hospital she was born in. They will be able to point you in the right direction on how to obtain that document. The vital records office usually has all that information on file it’s just not always released on the certificates.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  42. Hello,
    i have a document from the hospital and an certified abstract of birth
    also i have my ID from california, and Social security number,
    What do i need to get my Long form of birth certificate? i need to know this so i can apply for my passport.

    1. from the county of los angeles

    2. Hello Oscar and thank you for reaching out to us.
      To order a certified copy of your birth certificate for a passport you can use our VitalChek services. We work directly with hundreds of government agencies nationwide, including Los Angels County California to provide consumers with the ability to securely order their vital records online. https://www.vitalchek.com/vital-records/california/los-angeles-county-registrar-recorder or call our office at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  43. Hello, my fiancé is supposed to go apply for a passport tomorrow and they said to make sure the filing date is within 1 year. He was born in sept 1986 and it was filed in December 1987. Is there a way around this or what’s the best thing to do? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hello Amanda and thank you for your question.
      To find out what the passport agency will accept it is best that you contact the office you plan to visit to verify that the certificate you have will be sufficient. If they tell you that it does not meet their standards you would then want to reach out to the vital records office and let them know what you need so they can get this issued resolved. If you need the contact number for the vital records office in the state or county your fiancé was born in please let us know and we’ll be happy to locate that information.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  44. I was born in England to an American father (Air Force) and a British mother. I have a birth certificate (3 copies, one with raised seal) and I have never had a problem getting a drivers licence. I just went today to Jackson, Mississippi, DLB and I was told they couldn’t accept it because it doesn’t say I am an American citizen? I am 59 and served eight years in the United States Air Force and I am suppose to prove I am a citizen? What am I suppose to do? I can’t get my license and I cannot file for Homestead taxes ( I moved here and bought a home 2 mothers ago?) I am bewildered!

    1. Hello Kim and thank you for your question and more importantly Your Service.
      The only thing I can think is that the certificate you have is possibly outdated. A lot of states have updated their version of the birth certificates to meet security standards. We can assist you in ordering your US Citizen Born Abroad Birth Certificate at VitalChek.com ( https://www.vitalchek.com/content/bornabroad.aspx# ) OR you can order it directly from the U.S. Citizens Abroad office ( http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/events-and-records/birth.html )
      Hopefully this information is helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  45. Hi I went to the Los Angeles health department for a authorized copy of my daughter´s birth certificate and now that I want to apostille the copy I have noticed that it is signed by an M.D. and not by the county registrar. Which to apostille I have been told they don´t take it if the M.D. signed it. Why did this happen if I asked for an authorized copy and I am the mother. And now that I need to apostille the copy I must buy a new one with the signature of the registrar.

    1. Hello Bianaca and thank you for your question.
      Each state or county office may have a different way of certifying their documents. If you ordered a certified long form that should work in obtaining an apostille from the secretary of state. If you feel that the copy the county gave yous is not sufficient you should contact them directly so they can correct this matter. In case you need it, you can reach Los Angeles county vital records at (800) 201-8999.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  46. Hello I’m planning on traveling over seas for the firs time so I now need to get a passport. But the thing is that has got me worried my Birth Certificate looks like a photo copy but my Mother swears that is the only document they sent her after I was born.

    After comparing mine to hers, they have all the same information but hers is like a small postcard with a raised seal on the back of the paper with actual ink from a type writer and ink from a signed pen. Mine as I said looks like a photo copy.

    So do I need to order a new modern copy? It was good enough to get my drivers license and various other times I needed to show it as proof who I am.

    1. Hello, and thank you for your question. If the birth certificate you currently have looks, as you say, like a photocopy and does not have an official watermark or seal (whether raised, embossed, or impressed), then it probably will not be accepted as an official, certified copy for passport purposes. In the last several years, passport regulations have increased and documents that may have been accepted in the past may not be accepted now. It may be best to order a certified copy of your birth certificate, just to be on the safe side. You can do this by contacting the government agency who issued your certificate directly, or you can use our online ordering service if that’s more convenient. Thank you and best of luck with your overseas travel.

  47. M son moved to Denver Colorado now for some time he lost his wallet with the tx I’d and now try ing to get a Denver ID when he went he had a birth certicate from Houston but the seal said city of Houston say said they Ned one that says on top of birth certificate state of Texas wouldn’t that be the seal that says State of Texas and the top says city of Houston,Texs,USA it’s the long version from the birth certificate place

    1. If his current birth certificate, issued by the City of Houston, is an official certified copy (with an appropriate watermark, seal and/or registrar’s signature) then it should be accepted for most legal purposes. However, if there is an issue with it in Denver, then he may need to contact the Houston Vital Records agency directly to determine the best way to get the needed information. Thank you.

  48. Hi, is it required to have the long form birth certificate to get a passport? My birth certificates has the seals and it is raised,all the proper signatures from the registras office, date of birth, my full name, it has my parents first and last name but not middle. Is that a problem?

    1. Hello, and thank you for your question. In most cases, the Passport Office does require a long-form birth certificate to obtain a passport, especially if it’s a first-time passport. You can check out the appropriate regulations by visiting http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html to learn more. Thank you.

  49. I am working on my husband’s genealogy. We were told his father was adopted as a baby in the early 1950’s in Ohio. Viewing his birth certificate, it states it is a “photostatic copy of the original certificate of birth”. It lists his adoptive parents as the father and mother. Is there anything on the document that would point to it being “amended”, rather than “original”? It’s quite misleading. I’m trying to determine if the adoption took place.

    1. Great question, thank you. If the birth certificate you currently have states that it is a copy of the “original certificate of birth” chances are there is not an amended copy on file. However, you may want to contact the vital record agency that issued the certificate to ask if that copy is the Original or perhaps an Adopted copy, or if there is a Pre-Adoptive Certificate in existence. Hope that helps. Thank you.

  50. I have a PA birth certificate. It has all the information on it that is required when applying for a passport with one exception – the registrar’s signature is not on it. It is, however, signed by the Secretary of Health. This copy was issued in 1975, but the original filing date is listed, too, and is within 1 year of my birth.
    Does the Secretary if Health’s signature fulfill the requirement of it being signed by the registrar, or do I need to get a new certificate issued to get a passport? Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Thank you for your question. We’ve checked on the US Department of State’s website (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/apply.html) which states that the birth certificate has to have the registrar’s signature. We suggest ordering a new certified copy of your PA birth certificate, ensuring that you note the reason is for a passport, to make sure you get the proper document to apply for your passport. Thank you.

  51. Hi
    For an upcoming cruise for a family of four, I have several documents. For the kids I have a state issued Certification of Birth with the seal on it. My wife and I both have a Birth Registration Card that has a seal, she also have a Certificate of Live Birth with a seal. All documents are from the St of Florida, will this & drivers license work for the cruise documents?

    1. Hi, and thank you for your question. The best way to determine which documents are viable for your cruise, is to actually contact the cruise line. They have different regulations depending upon the type of cruise and the ports being visited. In some cases the appropriate photo-ID and birth certificates may be acceptable, in other cases passports may be necessary. Your cruise line will be able to let you know what you need. Thank you, and have a great trip.

  52. Hi, my family and I are going on a cruise While registering our birth certificates as forms of ID, I noticed I have no birth number. My husband and children all do. It is an official state (Texas) issued certificate with a water mark. When I called to ask my mother about it, she stated my sisters and mine all don’t have birth numbers. Is there a reason for this and if I order a new one will it have the number on it?

    1. Hello Lisele and thank you for your question.
      Yes, most certified birth certificates should include the “file number”. If you are unable to locate the file number on your certificate you should contact Texas vital records and ask them why you do not have one & also find out what you need to do to receive the certificate with the file number included. Most passport agencies will look for this number when processing your passport application. Here is the direct number to the Texas Vital records office (888) 963-7111 option 1, option 4. This should bring you to a live person so that you may ask your question and hopefully get you going in the right direction.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  53. Hi, I have ordered for my sons birth certificate for visa related reasons. But I want to make sure that this copy is close to originals and can be used for all purposes like visa, passport, schools etc. so what is the reason I should choose while ordering the birth certificate?

    I just placed the order today. I have chosen visa. If you think I should have selected something else, is there a way I can correct it and resubmit the order?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello Prad and thank you for reaching out to us.
      Without accessing your specific order I cannot tell you for sure if the certificate you requested will be sufficient. However as long as you selected the correct reason for ordering it such as “Passport Travel” or “Dual Citizenship” you will be fine. All certificates come directly to you from the state or county vital records office and are certified records. If you would like for us to verify the reason you entered on your VitalChek order you can contact our office at 1-800-255-2414 or you can send us an email including your order number to vitals.research@vitalchek.com .
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  54. My husband and I ordered his birth certificate (his was originally lost) through VitalChek and after receiving his birth certificate shortly after ordering, we noticed that it wasn’t in landscape form, but in portrait form. It worries us both that it might not be accepted for our travels in less than 2 weeks to go to the Bahamas and back to the US. I don’t have it in front of me, but the seal doesn’t look imprinted, embossed, or even multi-colored. All the other important information is on there (but his birth weight and such aren’t included). I called another supplier company’s customer service number and they recommended for us to contact Arkansas Records office to see if they can deliver it immediately. I called, but they state that you must submit your request in writing and it would take 4-6 weeks before we would receive it. The recording also stated to contact VitalChek… so now I’m confused as to whether or not we have an official copy. Please help.

    1. Good morning Bertina,
      Most birth certificate issued (recently) are all printed portrait style. Not only for Arkansas but most other states as well. Personally I can tell you that the one I had for years from Michigan was also in landscape it eventually fell apart forcing me to ordered the updated version, which is recommended anyway if your certificate is older than 15 years. The new certificate I received was issued to me in Portrait style and has worked for everything. I will tell you that some states certify their records differently. Yours could be certified on watermarked on security paper instead of the raised embossed seal. Either way Arkansas certificates, when order through VitalChek come directly from the State of Arkansas and are delivered directly to you the customer. There is only 1 supplier for a Arkansas Vital records and that is Arkansas. VitalChek is the authorized ordering service for expediting vital records for Arkansas along with most states in the US, which is why you heard them mention us on their recording.
      The certificate that you ordered should be good for travel, passport, ID, school registration, driver’s license, etc.(Per Arkansas)
      However if you feel the need to verify what Arkansas sent you is certified and sufficient for what your needing it for you can contact their office at (501) 661-2174.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  55. I am applying for a California Driver’s License, but when I went to the county I was born, my birth certificate is sealed. What should I do to have this unsealed?

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      When you say your certificate is sealed do you mean that is not available to you? If this is the case, have you been adopted? If you have had any type of amendment such as a legal name change or adoption then you will have to order your record from the State office not the County. Also keep in mind you will only be able to order the current record with the updated information.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  56. Why are some birth certificates printed on green paper and some printed on blue paper? What is the difference?

    1. Great question. Each vital record agency responsible for issuing birth certificates in their jurisdiction will regulate the appropriate type of security paper to use. Some may be green, some may be blue, some may have a watermark seal and some may still use a stamped or embossed seal. It definitely varies from agency to agency. As long as the certificate has been issued by the proper agency and shows the official registrar’s seal, it should be accepted for most legal purposes necessary. Hope that helps! Thank you.

  57. I just ordered my birth certificate on vitalcheck just trying to make sure it is going to be good enough for me to get my passport? I went to try and get my passport and they said I couldn’t bring a copy, is it a copy that I’m getting and is it going to be stamped and sealed OMG I’m going out of town in May, my birth certificate is old old and I was born in Georgia but live in Texas so I’m hoping and crossing my fingers that it this certificate works to get my passport please let me know what else I can do ASAP

    1. As long as you selected the reason for ordering your birth certificate as “Passport” or “Travel” or similar during the reason selection step, you should receive a certified copy that will be valid to request a passport. A certified copy will have an appropriate seal of some type – whether watermarked, stamped, embossed, or impressed – that designates it as an official, certified copy valid for most legal purposes. If you want to double-check, feel free to either call us at 800-255-2414 or email Vitals.Research@vitalchek.com with your order number, and we’ll be glad to verify which certified type was ordered for you. Thank you.

  58. Hello I have a question. I have a birth certificate from California I noticed on it that when my mom signed her signature she signed it with a false last name. First name was correct but she signed and put my dads last name as hers when her and my father were never married. She never had his last name. Does that make my birth certificate a false document or what does that mean.

    1. Thank you for your question. If your mother’s name is signed differently than it is printed on the certificate, or if you would like assurance of the document, you should contact the agency that issued the certificate (in California) to ensure the correctness of the information. Once the certificate information has been validated, you may wish to obtain a certified copy of the certificate – especially if any changes were made. That way, you’ll have an official, certified copy available for any legal purposes that may arise. Thank you.

  59. I just applied for my passport and submitted my original birth certificate. On the right side of it there is an area about the size of my thumbnail that has been worn away. None of the information or seal is effected by the wear. Will this be an issue?

    1. Hello Dan and thank you for your question.
      As long as it is not distorting any of the information or the seal you should be fine. It’s better that the area is off to the side away from the vital information.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  60. Hi. I have a friend who is adopted. His adopted family won’t give him any information about it and he is 25 and wants to know. He and I both have an Illinois birth certificate. His has everything typed with no middle name. Mine has signatures. We want to know if his is real. Also, he filed for disability one time and papers were sent with a different name using his social security number. He said his adoptive parents may have changed his name. What is his next step to getting a birth certificate in his born name if all of his identification is in the changed name? Please email me.

    1. Hello Beverly and thank you for your question.
      Once someone is adopted the birth certificate from before the adoption is no longer available. It is typically a sealed court record from there on. In order to obtain that sealed record you would have to go to court, usually in the state that the adoption took place and file a motion to open the adoption file.
      As far as your birth certificates looking different, that is normal. The look of a birth certificate can change depending on when you received it. A certificate received from IL today may look completely different from one received 5-10 years ago.
      Hopefully this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any further questions.
      Sincerely,
      Nichole H.

  61. About a month ago we turned in all of the paperwork for three of our children to get their passports. Two of our children had the long form birth certificates, but our daughter, who was born in Sacramento, had the abstract form. The office where we processed the applications told us to order a new, long form birth certificate for our daughter, which I did that day. We received the new one in only about four days, super fast! In the meantime, we’ve received our sons passports and they are good to go. We were told by the office where we processed everything that the state department would be requesting our daughter’s new, correct birth certificate, but we haven’t heard a word and we’re supposed to travel on June 3rd! Should we be getting worried? Why would it take over a month for the state department to request the new certificate from us? I simply want to move the processing along as soon as possible!

    1. Hello Heather and thank you for your question.
      If you have questions regarding the status of your passport applications and are concerned about what will be needed and receiving it in time we recommend you contact the passport agency directly and let them know your situation. They are the only ones who will be able to give you accurate information about your specific application and requirements.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  62. I just received my Certificate of Live Birth from VitalCheck. I was born in California, Los Angeles county in 1955. I have three questions.
    1. Why is there no State File Number on it?
    2. Why is it white print on a black background? It would be clearer if it were black print on a white background.
    3. Why is my certificate cut off after line 21? There are partial lines visible, like 22b How many other…; 22c How many children…
    In contrast, my husband’s Certificate of Live Birth shows these lines, it shows how many other children were born to his mother, etc. He obtained his certificate copy in 1979. Is deleting this part the State policy now? I am disturbed that the State has decided I am no longer allowed to know certain information, like how many brothers and sisters I have. Please explain. Thank you in advance for your answers.

    1. Hello Millicent and thank you for your question.
      What you are describing sounds like microfiche copy of your certificate. Some years are only available on microfiche however even a microfiche copy should have a file number. The best people to answer this question would be the Vital Records office that sent you the record. I know you ordered it through VitalChek however the certificates all come directly from the state or county vital records office. If it did come from LA County you can reach them at 562-4962-2213. Of course you can always call or our office and ask us to contact the vital records office for you. You can email us directly at Vitals.Research@vitalchek.com please be sure to provide you VitalChek order number or call our office at 1-800-255-2414.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

      1. Thank you for your answer. I called the LA County Registrar (their correct number was 562-462-2137). They told me the COLB does not have a state file number, and they informed me that it must come from Sacramento in order to have a State File Number. Also, please note that as I filled out my information in the VitalChek online order form, on the page where I insert my name an icon shows a Birth Certificate, not a Certificate of Live Birth (https://vitalchek.com/order_main.aspx?eventtype=birth#) therefore I thought I would receive a copy of my Birth Certificate. The VitalChek website decided to send the order to the LA County Office, not the Sacramento office. So instead of receiving a certified copy of my Birth Certificate with a State File number, I received a Certificate of Live Birth with no State File Number. According to the Social Security Office I must have a State File Number (!) I paid VitalChek $52.50 for a document that is of no use. Can VitalChek please correct this? VitalChek should send the order for a certified copy of my birth certificate to:
        CA Department of Public Health – Vital Records
        MS: 5103
        P.O. Box 997410
        Sacramento, CA 95899-7410
        Alternatively VitalChek could refund my $52.50 to me.
        Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

        1. Good morning and we apologize for this inconvenience.
          The certificate icon listed on the website is just an example. Each states and counties birth certificate looks differently, we apologize for the confusion. If someone at the Los Angeles County Vital Records office advised you that they do not list file numbers on their certificates then this is new to us. We have people order from their office everyday needing certificates for passport, immigration, international marriage and I know that the file number is a requirement for all of those reasons, which makes this even more odd. We would definitely like to find out who it was at that office that gave you this information so we can look into this further. The number I provided to you was the direct contact number for the person in LA County that handles VitalChek order specifically. As far as the order going to the wrong location, I’m not sure how that would have happened, the customer must select where to send the order. If you stated you were born in Los Angeles County California then the order transmits to that location. The only reason that Los Angeles county would not have a certificate in their office, even though the person was born in Los Angeles County California would be if they were adopted or had an amendment done to their record. However, even if that is the case, LA County would usually request the certificate from the location in California where it is filed. Please be advised before you order a certificate from the state office in California (as advised on our website in bold red text) “This document is primarily used for genealogy and cannot be used for identification purposes or to obtain a passport. The words “INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY” are imprinted across the face of the copy.”
          We would like to look at your specific order and find out what happened and how we can correct this matter. If you would please send us a direct email to Vitals.Research@vitalchek.com including your VitalChek order number, we would greatly appreciate it.
          Thank you for allowing us to assist you further.
          Sincerely,
          Nichole H.

  63. Hello, I going on a cruise soon. I don’t need a passport, just birth certificate and license. Well, a couple of days ago, I questioned if there would be a problem with my last name on my birth certificate being different from the last name than my driver’s license (my last name was changed to my step-dad’s in 1974). I called the travel agent and was told that I need the document of my name change. Well, I found out that my mom has the original document. But there isn’t a seal on it, just a file date. Do the name change document need to have a seal on it in order for the cruise line to accept it. I’m getting nervous, as I will be leaving very soon and I don’t want to be denied from boarding the ship. Also, after viewing some of the post, I wonder if I may need an updated copy of my daughter’s birth certificate. She was born in 1994. Will she be able to use this original birth certificate on the cruise, since it’s old??? Thank you.

    1. Hello Trena and thank you for your question.
      If you are unsure what the cruise line will accept you should definitely contact them directly since it at their discretion. That way you are hearing it straight from them and not second hand. Although it is recommended that you have an up-to date birth certificate the certificate you currently have may be sufficient for this cruise. Typically if your birth certificate is certified with either the raised embossed seal or watermarked security paper, listing all the required information including the file number and file date you may be fine with what you have. However we still suggest to order an new version when you have the chance to.
      We hope that you enjoy your cruise and wish you safe travels.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  64. Hi .. I have obtained an authorized copy of the birth certificate of my son from California department of public health. However, I tried to apostille the copies but was denied on the ground that the certified copies are signed by M.D (Public health officer).
    I am ordering through vital check now and wanted to confirm if the authorized birth certificate (Los Angeles County) are signed by the county registrar so I can apostille it. I am outside the US currently and I will be ordering through mail. Would you please let me know how I can get the form of the Sworn Statement and if any other documents will be needed.

    1. Hello Ahmed and thank you for your question.
      When ordering through https://www.vitalchek.com/vital-records/california/los-angeles-county-registrar-recorder please indicate in the reason field, drop down box “Apostille/Authentication”. This will ensure that Los Angeles County supplies you with the correct certificate with all the required information for your need.
      Please feel free to contact our office at 1-800-255-2414 if you have any questions or concerns regarding the ordering process.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  65. I have my official birth certificate from the State of New York. The cert. has my last name but not my first. Will I be able to use this to get a passport? I have hospital records plus a ton of supporting documents… Thanks

    1. Good morning David and thank you for your question. Typically the passport agency will require your full 1st & last name on the certificate however you can contact New York to find out why your 1st name is missing from the record and ask them the process to add your 1st name.
      How to Correct a “Mistake”

      If you were born within the five boroughs of New York City, contact the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Records at 212-639-9675.

      If you were born in New York but outside of New York City, contact the Department of Health, Vital Records Section, Correction Unit at 518-474-5018.

      If you were born outside of New York, contact the vital statistics office in the State or area where you were born.

      To correct the birth certificate of a child under 12 months of age, bring the original birth certificate with an application directly to the hospital where the child was born.

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  66. Hello and good morning. I am trying to obtain my first passport and I have some questions on getting an official copy of my birth certificate for passport application purposes. I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1980. My parents divorced shortly after my birth and my mother and I moved to El Paso, TX where I grew up. When I was 12 years old my mother re married, and my stepfather and I went thru the legal process of my stepfather adopting me and I changed my last name to his last name, and my middle name to my moms maiden name and my birth certificate was amended. This legal adoption took place in El Paso, TX. My questions are as follows.
    1. Is my amended birth certificate still from South Dakota or would it change to El Paso TX where the adoption took place? I don’t assume it would have changed to TX because I was not born there. I would like to know so I can request the certificate from the correct state.
    2. Passport rules requires that the registrar signature and date be within the first year of birth, which was done on my Original BC at the time I was born. I assume that the original has been sealed. Will my requested certified amended copy after adoption still reflect that date, or will the date have changed to the year when I was adopted over twelve years after birth? If the reflects the date of adoption what can I do, as that would not qualify for passport application? I hate to think that I could never get my passport because I chose to take my wonderful stepfathers’ name and the amended registered date would have changed even though the original BC was proper. Getting a passport is very important to me, please help!
    Thank you

    1. Hello Jason and thank you for your questions.
      Per the Texas manual, when a legal adoption takes place: “If the person was born in a different state and Adopted in Texas the certificate would be on file in the state/county/country where the birth occurred.” This would mean your certified birth certificate (from after the adoption) would be on file in South Dakota. When your adoption was finalized and the new birth certificate was created it should have been signed at that time, this should be acceptable for the passport agency since the signature should be with in a short time after the record was created. It is very common for adoptions to take place years after a child is born so there should not be an issue with you not being able to obtain a passport due to you being adopted. Of course we know this is very important to you, so we suggest that you contact the South Dakota Vital Records office 605-773-4961 and direct all questions regarding the signatures, dates and certification to them. You can also contact the passport office that you will be going through to confirm the record South Dakota will be supplying you with will be sufficient to them.
      Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
      Hopefully this information was helpful,
      Nichole H.

  67. Hello! I have a copy of my birth certificate from St. Vincent’s in NYC (now defunct). For time of birth the am is xx’d out and not the pm. Does this mean I was born in the am or the pm? I’ve googled and get different answers. Thanks for any help!

    1. Hello Joannie and thank you for your question.
      When you mention its from “St.Vincents” it sounds like you are referencing the hospital copy. Typically that would mean you were born in the “p.m.”. However you can contact the New York City vital records office directly to ask them what they have listed on the certificate copy of your birth certificate. The New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene direct number is 212-639-9675.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  68. Hello, I have a plastic blue birth certificate card from the state of Texas. Will this work as an official birth certificate for obtaining passport ?

    1. Thank you for your question. Unfortunately birth certificate cards, or full-size certificates which have been laminated, are not accepted when applying for a passport or for other legal purposes. You will need to obtain, either directly through the Texas Vital Records Office or through VitalChek, an official, certified birth certificate copy for use in obtaining your passport. Thank you.

  69. I was issued a SMALL SIZED, (approximate size is 1/4 of a piece of regular paper) birth certificate for my son in Iowa-year 2000. It says directly on the paper that it was attached to. “This certification of birth is an official legal document issued as legal proof of the recorded facts of birth by the Iowa Department of Public Health of Vital Records” It also says “Do not laminate this card! Lamination Destroys the Certifications Seals”- It’s not laminated, and you can feel the raised seal on the bottom left corner. It contains his name, date of birth, state file number, birth county, Mother’s Maiden Name, Father’s Name, Date Files, Date Issued, then it says under all of that “THIS IS A TRUE CERTIFICATION OF NAME AND BIRTH FACTS AS RECORDED IN THIS OFFICE” It have the Governor, Lt. Governor, and another signature on it. In the Lower Corner is a seal of Iowa which again is raised. This certificate has served as a way to get a SSN, a way to get my son into school in different states. Today I went to the DMV in Colorado to get a PERMIT and they said that it isn’t a valid Birth certificate because it is small. I need a “long form”.
    A.What is the difference
    B. All that was stated on every Website, Driver’s manual, Wall sign, Etc. was US birth Certificate.
    Is this not an official birth certificate? How do I argue that it is indeed good enough?

    1. Hello Jen C and thank you for your questions.
      Since the year of 2000 a lot has changed for many states when it comes to certified vital records. The rules for proving ones identity have become more strict. However, there are still some states that issue birth certificates in both a full page & half page certificate. Since the certificate that you have is older than 15 years it is suggested that you obtain a new copy of the certificate so that it may have the current certification requirements applied to it. You can order this through the Iowa Department of Heath directly http://idph.iowa.gov/health-statistics/request-record via mail in application or you can order through the VitalChek online expedited service for Iowa https://www.vitalchek.com/ (as you will see suggested on the state website). In the mean time if you have questions regarding what certifications have changed since the year 2000 you can contact the Iowa office directly at (515) 281-4944 .
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  70. Hi! My daughter is needing a passport but her birth certificate has a piece of “tape” over her date of birth. Is this normal? The lady who took her certificate told her she didn’t think this would “pass.” What do you think? She was born in Indiana in 1994. Thanks so much!

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.
      It is really at the discretion of the passport office as to what they will accept. If there is any doubt that it will be accepted then you may want to go ahead and order a new copy of your daughters birth certificate just so that you’ll have it on hand in-case it was to get denied. You have different option when it comes to ordering a new birth certificate for your daughter.
      If you still live in the state where she was born and they have an in-person/counter service that is typically the fastest and least expensive route.
      If the in-person/counter service is not an option for you the next fastest way is through our VitalChek service http://www.vitalchek.com we are authorized and work directly with hundreds of government agencies nationwide to provide you with the ability to securely order your vital records online, for some locations even by phone at 1-800-255-2414.
      However if you are not really in a hurry to receive the certificate you can order the certificate via mail in application by printing off the online application on the official government vital records website. There should be no fee on the website to print the application.(If you notice a fee to access the application then chances are you are not on the official government website) you would just mail it in with the specified payment and whatever identity documents they require.
      Hopefully this information has been helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  71. Can a birth certificate be issued in a county that you were not born in ?
    West Virginia

    1. Good morning Ruth Ann,

      There are actually some county offices that can provide you with state certificates. We don’t see this very often maybe a handful of locations. You should contact the county office that you are wanting to order it from in WV to see if this is something they can provide. We typically suggest ordering from the state office so you know you are getting a state issued certificate instead of the county issued certificates.

      To order from the state of West Virginia Directly via mail in application please visit http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/vital/birthcert.asp

      To order online through VitalChek, the authorized online ordering service for the state of West Virginia you can visit https://www.vitalchek.com/vital-records/west-virginia/west-virginia-vital-registration. You will also find the link to our site on the West Virginia website.

      Phone orders for the state of West Virginia are also assisted by VitalChek at 1-877-448-3953 ( as you will see on the West Virginia website)

      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  72. My original birth certificate has a file date on it that is a year before I was born. I was born on 3/29/1972 and the file date is 4/41/1971. Will I be able to use this birth certificate? Also I ordered a birth certificate from Vital check and the new one doesn’t have a file date on it at all! What can I do?

    Thanks Jenna

    1. Hello Jenna and thank you for your questions. It sounds to me like that file date listed before you were born was a typo on the vital records offices end. As far as the file date missing from the one you ordered through VitalChek, we’ll need to reach out to the vital records office and let them know. Some county issued birth certificates do not have a file number however they are required for some things. If you’ll contact our office at 1-800-255-2414 and provide us with your VitalChek order number we’ll be happy to assist you further.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  73. I went to the Colorado DMV today to get my learners permit, and apparently they don’t accept city birth certificates. The only birth certificate I have is the city of Detroit birth certificate. It has a seal and all of my information, but they won’t accept it because it’s a city birth certificate not a state certificate. Why won’t they accept it? What’s the difference?

    1. Hello Alexandria and thank you for your question. It is at the discretion of the DMV office as to which types of documentation is acceptable and Only they can you give the explanation on why they are not accepting it. I know the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion closed its Vital Records Division permanently in December 2013, since then all city of Detroit birth certificate requests are directed to the Wayne County office for processing. This might have something to do with the certificate you have from the city not being accepted. With that being said we suggest that you obtain a state issued birth certificate so that it will be acceptable for everything including passports and travel. You can order one directly from the state of Michigan via mail in application http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-71551_4645_4702—,00.html or you can order one through our VitalChek online service https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/michigan or Phone at 1-866-443-9897. We are the authorized ordering service for the state of Michigan.
      Hopefully this information is helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  74. Hello,
    We went to get a passport for my daughter and was told we needed a birth certificate with a seal, signed by the registrar and a record of birth reflected on it. We went back and told the town hall that we wanted a certificate for a passport got the almost the same copy, only this time the seal was embossed on it and not gold colored like the old one and it stated it was a certified copy but it was still signed by the county clerk. is this good for a passport?

    1. Thank you for your question. If the certificate you received does have an appropriate seal (usually impressed, embossed, or even watermarked) and signature, it most likely will be a certified copy acceptable for a passport, especially as you informed the town clerk’s office what you needed the certificate for. Thank you.

  75. I read about the heirloom Texas birth certificates on the vital records site, and it sounds to me like it is indeed official. Am I reading it incorrectly?

    Thank you,
    Dawn Gardner

    1. Hello Dawn and thank you for your question.
      An heirloom copy is typically used as a keep sake and is not good for legal or identification purposes. Depending on what you will be using it for this copy may not be sufficient. We always suggest you order a certified copy that is good for passport/travel or if you are needing it for dual citizenship, international marriage etc. you should be sure to indicate this on your request when filling out the application.
      If you have further questions regarding the certificates available for the state of Texas please fee free to contact our office directly at 1-800-255-2414. You may also contact the Texas vital records office directly at (888) 963-7111.
      Sincerely,
      Nichole H.

  76. My friend showed me her birth certificate with Missouri department of health, born ** feb. ***,filed June **,****county lake city florida, mothers na,email and play every, father’s name Mr. Appery ( Joshua ) first name but no last name , date issued 1994 , doesn’t look like any seal , only on seal says the department of health of missouri, doesn’t look right ,,

    1. Hello and thank you for your question.

      I am not sure if I understand what you are asking, however we would like to assist or at the least get you in contact with the correct people that can assist.
      Each state & individual county office certifies their records differently. A certificate from Florida can look completely different from a certificate issued by the state of Missouri, the same goes for the information that they provide on their records. If you have question about the certificate you received being a valid certificate please contact the vital records office directly. If you placed your order on the VitalChek website you can call our office at 1-800-255-2414 and we’ll be happy to look into this further.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  77. My husband was born in Puerto Rico in 1965. He recently applied for a passport and was denied because all Puerto Rican passports before 2009 were invalid. We ordered a new birth certificate through vital check and submitted it. It was also deemed invalid because for some reason it was filed more than a year (18 mos) after he was born. It seems that if all old birth certificates were deemed invalid, the date of the original shouldn’t matter. Both of his parents are dead so there is no explanation. Now he has to acquire multiple documents and pay multiple fees to try to prove that he is truly an American citizen. All of his siblings have passports, even his younger sister who was also born in Puerto Rico. Is he going to be unable to leave the US forever?

    1. Hello Lee and thank you for reaching out to us.
      If you could please contact our office directly at 866-842-6765 we’ll be happy to look into this further for you. We can ask Puerto Rico directly why this is still not sufficient and how to make sure he receives a valid copy.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  78. Our family is traveling out of the country for Christmas and at my local Texas passport office everyone’s application was processed except for my husband whose certificate was not a “long” birth certificate. We just ordered through vital chec with ease but I just want to be sure he is getting a long certificate with parents’ names and all other requirements needed for a passport.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hello Elizabeth and thank you for your question. If you placed your order on the VitalChek website, selected that the birth certificate come from the Texas State office and indicated in the reason field that you are needing this for passport/travel purposes, then you should receive the correct type of certificate from the state of Texas. If you would like us to look at your specific order to confirm you have done the things mentioned please feel free to contact our office directly at 866-550-1850 and we’ll be happy to look in to your order further.
      Sincerely,
      Nichole H.

  79. Hello, I was born in Indiana , in 1960.
    I have both my original birth certificate , and a certified copy. Both have the seals on them. How ever my name is not typed? It is in cursive hand writing. Both on my original and the certified copy. The original the best I can make out , is in black ink, and the certified is in red ink?
    Is my birth certificate legal? Or does the color of the ink mean something?

    1. Hello Randolf and thank you for your question.
      To find out what the different color ink and why there is cursive hand writing only in the 1st name section it would be best to direct that information to the Indiana State Vital Records office. You can reach them directly at 317.233.2700.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H

  80. Can a scanned copy of my sons birth certificate be used in an airport as a form of ID if I forgot the original copy? It’s Logan airport?

    1. Hello Susie,
      Usually only the certified copy of the birth certificate will be considered sufficient.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  81. I was born in Massachusetts in 1943 and I am looking for a copy of a Certificate of
    Live Birth which is different than a certified copy of a birth certificate. My twin sister
    received a copy a long time ago, but now I need mine. A Certificate of Live Birth
    has a number on the back on the bottom of the paper. Does VitalChek handle these
    forms? If not, where can I get this? I’m going around in circles looking for this form.

    1. Hello Kathy, If your sister received this copy “a long time ago” there is a chance that what they call this certificate is no longer the same and most likely no longer looks the same. Most states have updated the look and certification of their records especially with in the last 15 years. As of right now we show the products available from Massachusetts vital records are as follows: Certified Birth Certificate, Restricted Birth Certificate & Negative Statement of Birth(Proof that no birth had taken place during the specified time in Massachusetts.). These are also the only certificates that VitalChek can assist you in obtaining from the State of Massachusetts. If you need more information on the different formats of certificates and the official names you should contact the state directly (617) 740-2600
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  82. I actually have a question. My daughters wallet was stolen and everything was in it. License, social security card, school i.donate. etc. I have a certified copy of her birth certificate but it is from 1990. Will anybody take this?

    1. Hello Deanna,

      It is recommended that if your certificate is 15 years or older you order an updated version. However your daughter can contact the social security office and verify if they will accept the certificate that she has to obtain a new social security card. Also, you being the mother are entitle to order a new birth certificate for her, using your I.D.. You can order through our online service at VitalChek.com https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  83. My dad was born in Philadelphia in 1916. We have copies of his birth certificate from 1945 and 2016. The one from 1945 has a lot of hand-written information and the 2016 copy has very little information. My sister ordered what she thought was a “photo-copy” of the original 1916 document but only got a computer generated typed copy. My dad didn’t like his first name and switched it with his middle name early in life but not legally. We are not sure if his middle name at birth was John or Jack. The 1920 US Census says John but my dad went by Jack. That’s the reason we want to see the “original” 1916 document. Is it even possible to access a photo-copy of that document and where would it be stored ? Were all these documents converted to micro-film at one point ?

    Thanks in advance,
    Glenn Watkins

    1. Hello Glenn and thank you for your question.
      You should be able to obtain this certificate from state of Pennsylvania vital records office. Records from 1906 to the present are on file at the state office. Pennsylvania does have a disclaimer that any birth certificate prior to 1968 will have a longer processing time. As far as Pennsylvania converting their certificate, we are not sure. That would be a better question for the state, they can be reached at 724-656-3100. However, since you are the son you are entitle to order this certificate and can do so by going in person, applying by mail in application http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/BirthCertificates/Documents/Birth_Certificate_Application%20(Web)%20Rev%206-2016.pdf , online at VitalChek.com https://www.vitalchek.com/vital-records/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-vital-records or calling our office at 1-866-712-8238.

      Order in person at one of these six public office locations:
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/Pittsburgh.aspx#.V1GUfqDD-Uk
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/Scranton.aspx
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/Philadelphia.aspx
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/Erie.aspx
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/Harrisburg.aspx#.V1GU8KDD-Uk
      •http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/New%20Castle.aspx

      Thank you again,
      Nichole H.

      1. Hello Nichole,

        My sister already ordered and received a copy of our dad’s birth certificate about a month ago from the local Vital Records office. We both thought it would be a PHOTO COPY of the original 1916 document, not a facsimile or computer generated copy. I have since contacted the local Vital Records office to clarify our original order. My question here was about the original 1916 documents and whether they still exist or were converted to micro film. We need to see the original document, not a copy.

        Thanks,
        Glenn Watkins

  84. Hello,

    I will be leaving for a cruise stopping only once in Mexico this month. The certificate I have states “certified copy of birth certificate” and Texas Department Health Bureau of Vital Statistics Standard Certificate of Birth. It has a raised seal, a signature of the county clerk, my parents’ full names & info, the location of the hospital. The has additional info on it as well. I’m confused about the “long” form, does long refer the amount of information on it or it’s size? Mine is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper.

    1. Hello, and thank you for your question. It sounds like the certificate you have has all the components that a “long” form certificate would include – the seal, signature, parents’ full names, etc – as it describes the information included, not the size of the paper. Based on your comment, it appears you were born in Texas. If that is the case, please note that customers have experienced issues with some Passport offices not accepting county-issued certified birth certificates from Texas (even if they are official), and want to see certificates issued by the State of Texas. We suggest checking with your cruise line or the Passport Office to make sure you have the proper certificate for their use. Thank you, and safe travels!

  85. Hi, I have a question that I hope someone can answer. I was born in New York in 1959. On my birth certificate, there are two squares, AM and PM. The AM has two Xs. Does that mean I was born in the AM or is the AM Xed out because I was born in the PM. My parents are both deceased and there’s no one else to ask. Thank you.

    1. Hi, and thank you for your question. Most likely, the person responsible for typing up the information on your birth certificate simply used two X’s instead of one in the AM box. If you wish to verify that information, you could contact the agency that issued your certificate directly to confirm that is the case. Thank you.

  86. I have a “photostatic copy” of my adopted grandmother’s birth certificate. It was the ‘new’ certificate made with her adopted parents’ names on it. I’m trying to get more information about her and a fellow researcher has requested that I order an official certificate to obtain the number that should be in the upper right corner. Would there be a number showing on an official certificate that is not shown on a copy? It is a Texas certificate.

    1. Hello Debbie and thank you for your question.

      A certified/official copy of your grandmother’s certificate would typically include the state file number. The state of Texas has a list of entitle people who are able to order these certificates. Per Texas vital records only Self, Mother, Father, Spouse, Adult Child, Adult Sibling, Maternal Grandparent, Paternal Grandparent, Legal Guardian are entitled to order the certificate through VitalChek. If you would like to contact Texas vital records directly you can contact their office at (888) 963-7111.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  87. Hello. I took my certified copy of my birth certificate to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles here in northern Indiana, and the worker refused to accept it without a raised seal. I am from Michigan and we only have a flat seal and watermarks on our birth certificates. She absolutely refused to even check the matter out. I got it from Vital Chek. How should I proceed. She said if she can’t feel the seal she can’t accept it. She also said that it has to be an original birth certificate to be accepted which to me is ludacris. I’m at my wits end. Please help

    1. Hi Amy and thank you for your question. It is true that not all states have raised seals on their certified birth certificates. While it sounds as though you have the proper certified copy of your birth certificate, if you’d like to email your order number to us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com, we’d be glad to research it for you to see if we can help. From there, we recommend that you return to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office. If you encounter the same issue, you should ask to speak to a supervisor who should be able to verify that certified birth certificates from Michigan do not have raised seals. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  88. I need to get a passport, but instead of stating my reason as “passport/travel”, I chose my reason for wanting the birth certificate as “personal records/use”.

    My question is will I still be able to use this document to get a passport? Is it the same document as I would receive if I chose appropriately “passport/travel” as my reason for using?

    Will I need to re-order the document with the proper reason for getting a passport?

    Sorry for messing this up. Please let me know if the documents are the same or if they are different versions.

    1. Hello Spencer. Thank you for contacting us with your question regarding your birth certificate. Please call us at 800-255-2414 with your order number and we will be happy to assist you in determining whether the certificate you ordered is acceptable for your passport application.

  89. Is the only option to get a birth certificate which can be used to get a passport the “passport/travel” option?

    Would it be possible to use the birth certificate ordered with the “personal use/records” option to obtain a us passport?

    Mine has full name of my parents and I, registrars signature, and a state seal which reads “Mississippi state board of health”.

    It’s portrait style too.

    I’m wondering if I need to re-order it again. I can give my order number if you need to check the details. I chose “personal records/use” at checkout. I know I should have checked “passport/travel”

    Sorry for this mistake. Also, if the version I ordered can’t be used for a passport, what can it be used for? Does “records” denote it’s application being solely to geneology work?

    For example what all can my version be used for?

    1. Hi Spencer. Thank you for your question. According to Mississippi Vital Records, they do not provide different versions of a birth record. Therefore, the version you ordered should be acceptable for your passport application.

  90. Hi. Why do I keep reading about all these rules for birth certificates for getting US passports? I hear rumors about them in real life, hear them here, and the stupid Post Office will not accept certain BCs, even though that is not their job to scrutinize BCs, just to accept them.

    According to the DOS, you do not even need a birth certificate at all to get a passport!

    So where do all these silly rules come from?

    1. Hello Heinrich and thank you for your question. In order to apply for a U.S. passport, you must provide proof of U.S. citizenship and a certified birth certificate is one of the documents that can be used for this purpose. Some states have different forms of birth certificates so if you wish to use one in the passport application process, it will be necessary to present the proper form of birth certificate.

  91. If I have a birth certificate and in the box where it says usual residence of mother there is a check why would it be there. Is there a question about the information? Am trying to see if it might have been amended due to adoption

    1. Hi Donna and thank you for your question. The information found on a birth certificate may vary slightly from state to state. We recommend you contact the vital records office in the county where the certificate was issued to determine the purpose of the checked box

  92. All my life, I’ve known my mother’s name and her family because I lived with my grandmother after my parent’s died when I was 5. Countless times I’ve asked for my father’s name but my grandmother hated him and refused to tell me anything other than a few minor details. When I got older, my grandmother again refused to give me my birth certificate..showing it only to those that needed it (like for my driver’s license and when I needed financial aid for college) but never to me personally. A few years ago, I finally called the clerk’s office back in my home state (Michigan) and requested an official copy of my birth certificate. I proved my identity and paid the fee and it arrived about 2 weeks later. It does not have my father’s name (it’s blank), instead of my mother’s name it has my grandmother’s name under “Mother’s Name” and says “Updated May 24, 1991” (I was born May 10, 1991). What does “Updated” mean? How can I get the original/non-updated version? Do I ask the clerk again?

    1. Hello Lauren and thank you for your question. “Updated” generally means that there was a change made to the information on the certificate. Depending on circumstances, you may or may not be able to obtain the original certificate. For further assistance in this matter, we recommend that you contact Michigan Corrections/Amendments at (517) 335-8660. Good luck!

  93. I nearly died after giving birth to my daughter so I couldn’t apply for her birth certificate right after her birth. Her father couldn’t neither because we weren’t married at the time and still aren’t. She is now over a year old and still doesn’t have a birth certificate filed because no one has given me accurate information on how to go about getting her one. All I have is a little piece of paper I was given at the hospital were she was born the literally basically just says, “This person gave birth to her baby at 5:05 pm on September 29, 2015”. She has a chart at a local clinic and is up to date on her shots. What do I do? I live in Oklahoma and again, my daughter is a year old. I never filled out the papers to request her birth certificate. I really need help. I’ve asked so many people about this and no one can give me a good answer.

    1. Hello Anjelina. Thank you for your question. According to OK.gov, “The Oklahoma State Department of Health Division of Vital Records is responsible for registering every birth which occurs in the State of Oklahoma; as well as preserving, amending and issuing certified copies of those records in accordance with state law.” You can contact them directly at (405) 271-4040 to determine what steps are necessary to get a birth certificate for your daughter.

  94. What is the difference between Vitalchek and US Vital Records

    1. Hi Kelly. Thank you for your question. VitalChek is an official government-authorized service for you to securely order certified vital records such as birth and death certificates from official government agencies nationwide. Most government agencies that we contract with will have a link directly to VitalChek.com from their website.

  95. Hi my daughter is going on a cruise to the Bahamas and they said she can use her NJ state issued birth certificate. I just noticed it doesn’t contain parent’s name ( I was unwed ). It’s from 1988 will they accept? Trip is in 2 weeks. Thanks

    1. Thanks for your question. It’s best to check with the cruise line directly to see if a birth certificate without parents names will be acceptable, as each line may have different regulations. In most cases, though, a birth certificate with the parents names listed (or at least the name of 1 parent) may be required. You can contact us at Vitals.Research@vitalchek.com for more assistance, or reach out to the New Jersey vital records office directly. Thank you.

  96. What is defined as a parents “full name”? Mine has my parents first name, middle initial, and last name

    1. Hello, Kayla. The information required for a birth certificate to be considered official may vary from state to state. While one state’s vital records agency may deem first name, middle initial, last name a full name another state’s agency may not. We suggest you contact the vital records agency in the city where you were born to determine if the way your parents name is presented on your certificate is acceptable and what steps to take if it is not.

  97. Hello! I was born in 1956 in an Illinois hospital that no longer exists. My birth certificate does not contain my birth weight. Is there a way to find out how much I weighed at birth? My parents have passed. Thank you!

    1. Hello Sandra and thanks for your question. As a starting point, you might check with the Vital Records agency in the city where you were born to determine if there are different forms of Illinois birth certificates that may contain additional information such as birth weight, etc. If you had a pediatrician as a child, check to see if the practice still exists and if so whether they still have your records. You might also check with the local health department to find out if records from the closed hospital are still available. Good luck with your search.

  98. hello Kayla. I applied for a passport but it was denied because my birth record was filled 9 days after I was born. I lived with my parents in Mexico until I was 20 years old but then I moved to Texas. they are asking for other documents but I never went to school in USA, all I have is my baptism certificate and my drivers license what can I do?

    1. Hello Celestino. It is unclear from your post whether your were born in the US or Mexico and where you need to obtain a certified birth certificate from. Please email us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com and we will be happy to assist you.

  99. Hello.
    I’m adopted and my birth certificate (New York State) doesn’t list my adoptive parents’ names at all and has a filing date of 21 months after my birth.
    I’m planning a cruise later this year and because I had concerns that the certificate I have might not be acceptable, I just ordered a long form certificate. Under the section for how it will be used, I selected “long form,” not “passport”.
    I have two questions: will the document I receive be acceptable despite my not having selected “passport” from the menu?; and, could there still potentially be a problem because even the long form certificate will have a filing date of more than a year after my birth?
    Further, if even the long form presents a problem because of the filing date, what would be my recourse for obtaining a passport?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Melina. Thanks for reaching out to us. We may require more information to accurately answer your questions so please email us at vitals.research@vitalchek.com and we’ll be happy to assist you.

  100. Hello! I just ordered a certified copy of my newly born daughter’s birth certificate for dependent verification with my employer for insurance purposes. They provide a place to submit scanned documents online, but also go on to say that some states have laws prohibiting the photocopying, scanning, or faxing of vital records and to check before doing so. I live in Texas (the employer is in another state) and have had no luck finding this information online, and I don’t really want to have to order a second copy just to send in the mail and not get back if I am able to just scan the document and submit online. Is this something you could help me find out?

    1. Hello Austin. Excellent question. We recommend you contact the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics office at (512) 776-7111 to determine the legality of copying or scanning a birth certificate for insurance purposes.

  101. I ordered 2 copies of Pennsylvania long form birth certificates from VitalChek on Sat 2/25/17. I had 2 copies of my birth certificate issued in 1996 ( was born in 1960), but until I applied for my passport on 2/24/17, I had no idea that there were different types. Apparently I have the short form, without parents names. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    1. Hello Barb. Thanks for reaching out. I have passed you questions on to our customer service team who should be contacting you shortly.

  102. Hi my son’s father recently died and there is a lawsuit concerning wrongful death about the whole accident and everything. His wife contacted me wanting to get my son his share. She told me I needed his signed birth certificate. Now the birth certificate that I have is green in color and has the raised seal on it but it has no signatures by me or his father. He has his father’s last name but supposedly that is not enough 4 legal Insurance lawsuit purposes xcetera. This is all happening in the state of Georgia. I was going to go to the health department and see if whatever copy they had is different from my copy. I’m just at a loss

    1. Hello Dana. Thanks for reaching out to us. Many states have different forms of birth certificates available for different uses so we suggest you contact the Health Department Vital Records office for further guidance with this issue. For many legal purposes, a certified copy of a birth certificate is required. A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. Beginning in 2011, all birth certificates were required to include the full names of the parent(s). If the birth certificate you have is found to be outdated, we suggest you order yourself a new copy too since a current birth certificate can be required for everything from school and sports registration to passport applications, etc.

  103. Good morning. I know that a birth certificate can/is changed after adoption but what about the birth index? i.e, from Texas Vital Statistics?

    1. Hello Shelley. Thanks for reaching out with your question regarding the Texas Vital Records Index. Click here to visit the state of Texas FAQ page for more information on the Texas Vital Records Index and contact numbers that may assist you with determining whether the index is changed post adoption. We hope you find your answer!

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