need a birth certificate

Seven Instances When You’ll Need a Birth Certificate

As the old Joni Mitchell song goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” This is never more true than when it comes to your birth certificate. Sometimes it seems like it stays in your safe deposit box or the old shoebox in the closet without use for years. Then, all of a sudden, you need it for everything! Even if you do not find yourself using it very often, it can make sense to go ahead and make sure to keep a couple of certified copies on file, just in case! After all, you may find yourself facing one of these seven instances where you may need a birth certificate.

  • Registering for School – Many schools have a birth certificate among the requirements for registration. A birth certificate serves as a proof of identity and age. This assures that the student is actually who he or she says she is and is in the correct class based on age.
  • Obtaining a Driver’s License – Most states require a birth certificate to prove identity and age to obtain, and in some cases renew, a driver’s license. You may want to talk with someone at the department of driver services first, but it never hurts to bring along the certificate as proof even if it is not required.
  • Marriage – In some states, the marriage license process may involve proving identity by providing a birth certificate. This only makes sense because the marriage license is a very important document that is used for legal purposes beyond just getting married.
  • Signing Up for Sports – Especially in youth sports, there is often an age requirement. This protects children from accidental injury by older kids. Since it is required, you may have to provide a proof of age, usually in the form of a certified birth certificate.
  • Travel – You’ll need a birth certificate as it’s one of the requirements for obtaining a passport, of course. However, it is often used in other circumstances too. Many cruise lines require that passengers provide a birth certificate upon boarding, especially when a passport may not be required, so they can prove identity.
  • Social Security Card – If you need a new copy of your social security card, you may be asked to furnish a copy of your birth certificate as well as another proof of identity.
  • General Identification – You never know when you may need to provide additional proof of identity for a job, bank related issue or to obtain a mortgage. While you won’t be asked to furnish your certificate on a daily basis, it may surprise you how often it is required.

These are just a few of the reasons why you might need a birth certificate for yourself or family members. Just remember, make sure you have a certified copy that will meet your needs. In most cases, documents needed for official use will need to be a government authorized certified copy. Do some research and avoid a hassle at a very inopportune time!

Birth-Certificate-CTA

 

65 Comments

  1. I want to put my name and the father name on the Brith cratifi of my daughter

    1. Hello Jessica,
      If you are the mother of your daughter your name should already be on the certificate. If you’ve received a birth certificate without this information please contact the vital records amendments and corrections department to have her certificate amended to reflect the correct parents information.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  2. Do I have to give my x husband a copy of our sons birth certificate. He has no contact with our son.

    1. Hello Dorothy and thank you for your question.
      You do not have to provide the father of your child with a birth certificate unless it was ordered by the courts. If he is the father named on the certificate he is entitle to the certificate and can order it himself.
      If you have any further question please feel free to let us know.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  3. I just ordered a single copy from vital check, but I might need another. Now what? Also, if I’d like to amend something would I have to pay for new copies as well?

    1. Hello Benecya and thank you for your question.
      We recommend you have a record amended before you order. Also, if you just placed the order there is a chance you may be able to add the additional certificate to your current order if it has not already been transmitted over to the government office. The best way to find out would be to contact our office directly at 1-800-255-2414 and provide the representative with your VitalChek order number.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  4. Hello Nichole,

    We just changed our last name (court ordered) to my husband’s original family name when they arrived to the US. We have updated many accounts/documents including our social security cards. We have 4 minor children and would like to know if it is important to change their last name on their birth certificates as well? What would be the advantages of going through that process? And disadvantages, if any?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hello Sara and thank you for your question.
      If you have had your children’s names changed and have the legal name change documents to prove the change you do not “need” to amend the certificates. However when it comes time for your children to do things like obtain their I.D.s and passports they will be required to provide their birth certificates along with the legal name change document every time. Since you have already updated their social security cards you may want to go ahead and make the change to their birth certificates so that all their names are consistently listed on all their legal and vital records. To amend the birth certificates please contact the amendments and corrections department at the vital records office in the state they were born. Please let us know if you need assistance location that number and we’ll be happy to look that information up for you.
      Have a wonderful day.
      Sincerely,
      Nichole H.

  5. Good Morning/Good Afternoon,

    I had a guest staying at home home and my birth certificate was taken. I reported it to the police but they said I couldn’t prove it. So my question is what do I do now I have to order a new one but what kind of proof do I need to show such as proof of address etc. and can I have it mailed to me.

    Thanking you in advance

    1. Hello Laurie,

      If you ordered your certificate through VitalChek we may be able to just resubmit the order to the state for you, however the state will typically require that you pay for another birth certificate. Depending on the state that the certificate will be coming from (where you were born) the proof of address that can be accepted will vary. Please contact our office at 1-800-255-2414 and we’ll help look into this further.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  6. Hello,

    I did a legal name change for my child. Had his last name changed from the alleged father’s to mine. I also went through court to have rights terminated and the alleged father removed from birth certificate. I need to order a new birth certificate. Will the new birth certificate state that his name was changed? I probably should’ve have waited to do the name change until after terminating rights. I really wish to not have to explain to my child that I made a mistake on who the father was.

    1. Hello Vanessa and thank you for your questions.

      If your child’s birth certificate was amended to reflect the name change along with having the father removed from the certificate then the change should have been made. However, sometimes there is a registration period for these changes. Just to be clear and to be sure that the change has been put in place please contact the vital records amendments and corrections department directly. If you need assistance in locating this information please let us know and we’ll be happy to assist you in looking it up.
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  7. How many birth certificates does one person need. Out of all the things you listed above, are any of them going to keep the original?

    Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your question. While we list several reasons why a birth certificate is needed, you’ll typically only need to have 1 official, certified copy available as it usually just needs to be viewed as verification and not kept. Thank you.

  8. is there any reason a grandparent should need a copy of a birth certificate?

    1. Thank you for your question. They may be various reasons why a grandparent would want a birth certificate copy including for family history keeping or other similar reasons. Depending upon the situation, some grandparents may even act as secondary parents and help with things like registering children for school or sports, for which a birth certificate would be needed. Each agency issuing birth certificates will have specific rules as to who can apply for an individual’s birth certificate, some include grandparents and some do not. It’s best to check with the issuing agency first to be sure. Thank you.

  9. Hello i have a question this is the first time i put my son (his 5) in a sport(football) an they asked to keep my son birth cetificate.
    Can they do anything with it?

    1. Thank you for your question. Showing a child’s birth certificate to register for youth sports activities is common, to verify that the child’s age is appropriate for the sport and age-bracket. Some organizations will choose to keep those certificates on file, while others will only want to see the certificate to verify the child’s age. Each organization has their own regulations, but you should ensure that if they are keeping certificates that they maintain them safely and keep them secure. Thank you.

  10. Hello. My children’s father requested if he could get a copy of our kids birth certificate by me. When I had asked why needed it, he would not tell me. I never denied a copy but his response left me suspicious. What can he use and do with a copy of their certificate. This makes me nervous.

    1. Thank you for your question. If a parent is named on the child’s birth certificate and wants to obtain a copy of that birth certificate, they typically have the legal right to do so. While we can’t speak to every situation, in most cases a parent would desire to have their child’s birth certificate on hand for any number of reasons including for family records, registration for school or youth sports, applying for a passport, or other legal purposes. If your situation is such that the children’s father is not listed by name on the birth certificates, then he would generally not have the ability to obtain those certificates unless going through someone (like you) who is authorized to receive them – depending upon the rules and regulations of the vital record agency issuing the certificates of course. We hope this information has been helpful for you. Thank you.

  11. What is the difference between a “birth certificate”, and a “certificate of live birth”?

    1. Great question. The term “birth certificate” is a fairly general term and the actual certificate can go by many names – birth certificate, birth record, certificate of birth, certificate of live birth, etc. Each individual vital record agency that issues birth certificates has a unique set of regulations surrounding that certificate, including what information is included, what it looks like, and what it is called. Generally speaking, as long as the certificate has the appropriate certification (such as being printed on security paper, includes the signature of the Registrar, and has the appropriate jurisdiction’s seal – whether as a watermark, stamp, embossing, etc.) then it is considered to be an official, certified copy acceptable for most legal purposes as proof of an individual’s birth and citizenship. Thank you.

  12. My baby’s father wants copies of my baby’s birth certificate and social security card. His name is on the birth certificate but I paid for it and he claims I have to give it to him or give him a copy. Is it possible for both parents to have a birth certificate for theor child?

    1. Good morning Nicole and thank you for your question. Yes, it is possible for both parents to have a copy of their child’s birth certificate. Both you and the father listed on the birth certificate are entitle to the child’s birth certificate. If the father would like to order his own copy he can do so by mailing in an application to the state where your child was born or he can place the order online through VitalChek.com, we are officially authorized by, and work directly with, hundreds of government vital record agencies nationwide to provide secure online vital record ordering services 24/7/365.
      https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates
      Thank you,
      Nichole H.

  13. Do I have to provide my child birth certificate to her grandfather so that he can put her in his will?

    1. Thank you for your question. While you typically do not need to provide a copy of your child’s birth certificate in order for a grandparent to include the child in a will, you will most likely need to provide a certified copy once the grandparent has passed and any benefits of the will are being collected. Thank you again for your question.

  14. My mother is 92 and can not find her birth certificate. Is there any reason at her age that she will need a birth certificate? Will I need a birth certificate if she passes? She is not leaving the country for any type of travel.

    1. Hello Sue. Thanks for your question. While she most likely will not need her birth certificate, it’s never a bad idea to have it on file because you just never know when it might be necessary to present it. It might be required with regards to Medicare claims, power of attorney or for proof of identity.

  15. hey I wanted to know if I can amend my daughter birth certificate get that amended, I want the surname amended i booked a flight and i need it urgent how long will it take for the process

    1. Hello Farah. Thank you for your question. To amend your daughter’s birth Certificate, you will need to contact the Amendments and Corrections department of the Vital Records Agency in the city/state where your daughter was born. They should be able to tell you the steps you will need to take and if the process can be rushed.

  16. Hi. I’m 44 years old and have always been able to obtain my birth certificate without any problems. But now, I need one bc I lost my only copy in Hurricane Sandy, but bc my name and my mother’s name is spelled incorrectly, I’ve been refused. I wad told to go to civil and then supreme Court, to petition for a name change, but they say I must get a copy from vital records first, which as I stated before, they refused. What do I do now? I have sent several emails but noone gets back to me. It makes sense to me that the courts would need a copy in order you correct anything .

    1. Hello Gjemile. Thanks for reaching out to us regarding your problem with obtaining a replacement birth certificate after Hurricane Sandy. We’re sorry to hear you lost your vital records and will assist you in whatever way we can. Please email us these details at vitals.research@vitalchek.com and we’ll see if there is anything we can do to help you resolve this situation.

  17. How do I know what reason to put for wanting my birth certificate? My mom passed away a few years ago. She had it, but I never found it. I just need a replacement to prove my birth.

  18. Kindly inform which Documents show mother name in UK apart from Birth certificate

    1. Hello Usman. We suggest you contact the General Register Office for answers to your question. You can CLICK HERE for more information.

  19. Is this accepted for travel in the US

    1. Hello Kate, and thank you for your question. Generally, US citizens traveling within the United States will usually only need a government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or non-driver ID card) if proof of identity is needed – such as when taking a flight. Most States will require a copy of your birth certificate as proof of identity and citizenship when applying for your photo ID. Thank you.

  20. Hello,
    My dad is asking me for a copy of my social security card and my birth certificate to supposedly serve as proof of who lives in the house for some kind of government help for first time home owners.
    He wont tell me what organisation is asking for this, or what exactly do they want this much information for. How do I know he’s not going to use it to get a loan or something? Also, would this affect me in any way?

    1. Hello Johanna. It may be possible that this information is being requested for the reasons stated. (Many insurance companies request similar documentation to add a spouse or dependents to a policy. That being said, only you can decide if you are comfortable sharing your vital records without further documentation of the need for them.

  21. My friends ex-husband is wanting his 23 year old son to provide him with a copy of the his birth certificate. They do not have a good relationship. For what purpose would a 50 something old parent who does not have a good relationship with his 23 year old adult son who is totally self-supporting need to have a copy of his birth certificate?

    1. Hello. Thanks for your question. Under the current provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a young person may remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. If the son happens to be covered on the father’s health insurance plan, the father may be required to provide documentation such as the son’s birth certificate to the insurance provider.

  22. hello i would like to change my daughter’s last name on her birth certificate to the last name she has on her Social Security Card because she has my last name on her social security card and her fathers last name on her birth certificate. i had my daughter when i was 15 and was really medicated and her grandmother knew i was and stepped in and told them i wanted thir last name then later when i was able to do paper work i put my last name for her Social Security Card now ive been trying to get this fixed for 11years now but i want my daughter to be able to get a job or become something when she gets older and ive tried talking to her side of the family about it and they seem like they dont want to help me get this fixed i never wanted his las name to be my daughters i wanted it to be mine so how can i get this fixed without her father cause it will just cause more problems then fixing it

    1. Hello Tracy. There is a potential for problems for your daughter later with things such as obtaining a passport, enrolling in school, employment etc. if her name on her social security card and birth certificate do not match. You may want to consider consulting with an attorney to find out how to rectify the name discrepancy.

  23. what can you do if you do not have a birth certificate?

    1. Hello Tess. You may want to contact the Vital Records agency in the city/state where you were born to find out more about how to go about getting your birth certificate.

  24. Hi
    I have a query regarding name change,on my daughter birth certificate my wife name is of her father so is there any problem for my daughter in life. In future we are not able to change name on birth certificate so it will create any problem for my daughter?

    1. Hello Tushar. This should not cause any problem as it is typical for a mother’s name on her child’s birth certificate to be listed as the maiden name.

  25. Hello, I’m wanting to order a birth certificate for my oldest daughter in order for her to go to school. There’s a drop box that lists several reasons of useage of the birth certificate. Do I click on “personal use” or should I use something else?

    1. Hello Shana. Thanks for reaching out with your question. Generally speaking, if you select travel or legal reasons from the drop down, the birth certificate you receive should be acceptable for most uses. That being said, if you would like further assistance, you can contact us at 800-255-2414, vitals.research@vitalchek.com or by private message through our facebook page.

  26. I plan to travel abroad in September and have been searching for my birth certificate unable to find it. I recently found out through a family friend that I was adopted. Both my parents are deceased and there is no paperwork that they have that states anything. I am not interested in finding out about my birth parents now but do need to get a passport and don’t know how to go about it since I have no paperwork other than a certificate of baptism and my drivers license. I have never left the US. but have been married twice and do not remember needing it for that. Whom should I contact.

    1. Hello Stephanie. We are sorry to hear about your predicament. More than likely you would have needed your birth certificate as proof of identity to get your driver’s license and marriage certificates. That being said, if you know where you were born, you can contact the vital records agency in that area for assistance with obtaining your birth certificate. If you were legally adopted, your birth certificate on file will reflect your adopted name and list your adoptive parents. Good luck in your search.

  27. Hellow. My problem is my birth certificate?
    The name I use in school are different in my nso or
    Birt certificate
    My meddle name is not desim in..
    What will I do?

    1. Hello Yasmin. We suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued your birth certificate originally to find out what their procedure is for correcting your middle name so that it matches your other documents.

  28. Hello Guys i am really confused here ,
    i am from india and living in cambodia with my french girlfriend.

    I and my girlfriend plained to get married in France,
    The french embassy asked for the Birth certificate less than 3 months old. Is that mean i need to make new Birth certificate.
    Because i already have my birth certificate but its old, i made it in 2011.

    So any one can make me clear.?

    1. Hello Chand. It means that you will probably need to order a new certified copy of your birth certificate. More than likely, something has changed recently regarding the type of information that needs to be displayed on the certificate for it to be deemed official hence the requirement that it be less than 3 months old.

  29. My sons grandmother has asked for a copy of his birth certificate so she can open up a savings account for him. Is there anything she can do with his certificate such as take him out of the country?

    1. Hello Jade. Birth certificates can be used as a means of identification for everything from setting up accounts to registering for school and youth sports to applying for a passport. You will have to use your best judgement with regards to your son’s grandmother’s intentions when deciding whether to provide her with his birth certificate.

  30. Hello, my name is Tia and I’m 19 from Barbados. I would like to know if I need to carry my original birth certificate to the USA for I’m moving there in a days. My mother is requesting that I leave it here in Barbados with her but I’m not sure if I should. Do I need my birth certificate for anything important or are copies okay?

    1. Hello Tia. We suggest you obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate to bring with you when you move to the United States. You will more than likely need it for many things in the U.S. including verifying your identity, opening a bank account, registering for for school, etc.

  31. I am a minor and I have no documentation to prove who I am. I moved in with my dad but my grandma still has legal guardianship and can’t find anything.
    My dad has a paternity test proving he is the father and a legal state ID. Can we use this to request my birth certificate?

    1. Hello Bernie. If your Grandma has legal guardianship of you, it may be necessary to consult with the court that issued that guardianship to determine how you can go about getting your birth certificate.

  32. I recently moved and have to change school do I need show the school a copy of the birth certificate or need the original one?

    1. Hello Singh. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We suggest you check with the school involved but more than likely a certified copy of your birth certificate will suffice.

  33. My birth name is my mom last name be cause
    Parents not married than father said got changed
    to his last names when think 3 yr old. Every time
    Got question about birth name leads to my mom
    Last name on FBI check name is mom last name
    Now IAM divorce want to find out what my rear
    Last but I am okay with keep my birth name along
    With my dad last name .

    1. Hello Dori. Please note that it is important that your name be consistent on all your identity documents such as birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, passport etc. If you need to amend your birth certificate, we suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued it originally for more information on their requirements for corrections or amendments.

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