birth certificate faq

Birth Certificate FAQ

When it comes to vital records, it’s easy to recognize our birth certificates are the very first and most important document we will obtain throughout our lives. Knowing why this vital record is so important for so many reasons may not be understood completely, so we’ve put together this birth certificate FAQ to help answer any questions you may have! 

Birth Certificate FAQ

FAQs related to birth certificates are numerous, ranging from when you will need certified copies to how to order a copy. Our birth certificate is the number one form of identification and proof of citizenship we have from birth. It’s used for many of life’s biggest events so hopefully we’ve compiled some answers to any questions about birth certificates you may have.

Q: What is the purpose of a birth certificate?

A: Your birth certificate is the first form of ID you’ll obtain.  Issued by an official government vital records agency, it serves as a certified record of your birth with the date, place and information about your parents. It also provides proof of your existence and your initial citizenship. 

Q: What are some reasons I may need to provide a birth certificate?

A: While there are many reasons you might need a certified copy of your birth certificate, the most common and obvious reasons include enrolling in school, obtaining secure government-issued forms of photo ID, or being on-boarded at a new job. They may also be beneficial if you’re working on genealogy projects or attempting to flesh out a family tree.

Q: I submitted my new baby’s paperwork with the hospital and they told me they would file it with the vital records office. I haven’t yet received the birth certificate – what do I do?

A: The hospital or center where you gave birth is only responsible for submitting the paperwork to register your baby’s birth with the vital records office. You will need to visit the vital records office, or check if your state offers online ordering for vital records. This varies state to state so utilizing services like VitalChek.com can be convenient – especially if you currently reside in a state other than the one you were born in. 

Q: Can I order anyone’s birth certificate?

A: Not in most cases – unless you are ordering for immediate family members or yourself, or you have a documented legal right to the document (such as being the appointed executor of an estate), you typically cannot order an official certified copy of anyone else’s birth certificate. However, the rules about who is authorized to order a birth certificate vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the agency responsible for issuing the certificate ahead of time.

Q: There is incorrect information on my birth certificate, what do I do?

A: If you’ve noticed incorrect or missing information on your birth certificate, the issue is not necessarily hard to rectify. Things like incorrect dates and times, wrong locations and even misspelled parents’ names should be modified as soon as they’re noticed. On occasion, parents may even fail to put a child’s name on the certificate. Please note that in the case of adoption the process may be a bit lengthier. Click here for the steps to take to correct or modify your birth certificate.

Q: What do the terms long and short form birth certificates mean?

A: When it comes to things like applying for a passport, or enrolling in school – you will typically need what’s commonly referred to as a long form birth certificate. The difference between the two is minimal but important: long form copies contain all legally-pertinent information like location of birth, parents’ names and should have official signatures, etc., while short form versions may leave out parental information. These short form birth certificates may be accepted for some purposes, but for other processes you may need a long form version. 

Q: Can I just take a photocopy of my original and use that?

A: For some basic applications, you may be able to do this. However to apply for any sort of government issued ID, or for other legal purposes, you will need an official copy.

Q: How do I obtain adoption birth records for myself or my adopted child?

A: Every state is different when it comes to accessing pre-adoptive birth records. Your best line of action is to contact the vital records office in the location where the birth occurred. You can visit this link to find the vital records office you’ll need. 

Have any further questions pertaining to birth certificates or ordering your vital records online? Please don’t hesitate to comment below for more assistance!

40 Comments

  1. Hi I need birth certificate of Nikita Prasad
    Dob 0X/0X/95

    1. Hello Rohini. There are several different ways you can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate assuming you are entitled to obtain the birth certificate in question.
      Order In Person: If going to the Vital Record Agency in person is convenient for you, this is usually the quickest and least expensive way to obtain the record – which will most likely be processed while you wait.
      Order By Mail: The Agency’s website will generally have the application form you will need to download, complete and mail in along with a check or money order and, if necessary proof of your identity. This tends to be the slowest ordering method, taking anywhere between 2-6 weeks depending on the agency.
      Order By Phone: If the agency accepts phone orders, calling in your order can be a convenient way of obtaining your certificate. To make the process as smooth as possible, you should have all the pertinent information readily available before placing the call.
      Order Online: Ordering vital records online, from the Agency’s website or their authorized online ordering service (like VitalChek) is fast and convenient, available 24/7, 365 days a year, and generally ensures you receive your vital records quickly – in some cases within just a few days. Online orders are typically handled in an expedited manner, ensuring your order is processed before any non-expedited requests (like those by mail). We hope this has been helpful.

  2. hi, so i was born at a place but not a house. my parents leave me which i doesn’t know. As i reach 10 i was abandoned and live on my own since then…so i just reached 18 is there a way i could make my birth certificate.

    1. Hello Clarissa. We are sorry to hear about your dilemma. We suggest you start by contacting the vital records agency in the city where you were born. (usually a county clerk’s office or health department) You should try to find out if there is a birth certificate already on file. This will require you to know certain basic information including birth date, parents names, etc. If it is determined that no record is on file, you can inquire about the agency’s procedure for a obtaining a “delayed birth certificate”

      1. but i doesn’t remember what is my parents name..so can i still make my birth certificate..

        1. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for you. The only thing I can suggest is for you to seek assistance from a legal service group in the state where you live.

  3. It has been more than a month and I am still waiting and I purchased the expedited shipping. Is this company legitimate. I am very disappointed.

    1. Hello. We apologize that you have not received your order yet. VitalChek is the order processing service for the vital records agency. This means we provide customers with the means to order records online. We process the application, confirm identity and entitlement to the record being requested, process the payment and assume any financial risk. (All things the vital record agency would have to do if we did not) Once that is done, we forward the order on to the vital records agency who searches for your record based on the information you provide, produces the certified copy of the record and ships it out to you. Once your order is sent to the vital record agency, VitalChek has no control over the processing time. If you need assistance, please contact us with your order number. The quickest way to reach us is by private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek where you will usually get a response in a matter of minutes. You can also call 800-255-2414 or email vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

      1. I agree on this. Your service is pathetic and I have over 20 emails to back my opinion up.
        Paul

        1. If you need assistance, please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is by private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also call 877-513-6364 or email vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  4. I was born in Puerto Rico. Grew up in NYC,
    ALL my documentation has the DAY 19
    .My Birth Certificatehas the wrong DAY on it.
    I have Elementary school Immunizations
    Records, I have my Military Papers, etc. to
    prove, I was born on the 19th, not the 18th.
    I live in Brockton, MA. If you can’t help me
    can you get me a phone number in
    Puerto Rico, where I can start this process.
    I HAVE TO RENEW MY LICENSE IN APRIL. I
    HAVE TOGET A “REAL ID”.
    Please help me.

    1. Hello Wanda. The contact information for Puerto Rico corrections and amendments is as follows:
      Customer Service Representative 787-765-2929 Ext 6100
      Email address regdem@salud.pr.gov

      Hope this helps.

  5. This is RIDICULOUS!!! I put in for a birth certificate for my husband on February 20, 2020. I have received emails stating insufficient info. I have tried to call the phone number on the website and get a fax machine tone. I try to put in for order status and receive a reply telling me sorry site is out of order. I try to email and get a generic response. It is now March 3 and I still don have status or order !

    1. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  6. Anyone there to help???? I agree with the post about this vitacheck is a scam!

    1. Hello Lori. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  7. This is the worst service. I would like to have my refund back so I can order from Vital Records.
    I ordered my Birth Certificate 2/06/2020. I called New York and they are saying it has not been processed as of yet.
    I have a temporary DL that is about to expire in 15 days.
    When I call a customer service representative at 1-866-203-2777- its a fax line
    Can someone please let me know something. PLEASE or PLEASE REFUND MY MONEY

    Processing: $8.30(USD)
    Shipping: $17.00(USD)
    Tax: $0.00(USD)
    Total $40.30(USD)

    1. Hello Rhonda. We are sorry to hear about your ordering difficulties. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  8. I will need a Long Form birth certificate for my due to be born daughter (11th March 2020)
    Do we request this at the hospital or through you guys?

    I’m not sure I understand the process yet as we are new to the States and our countries’ Consukate have requested that we provide long form birth certificates to apply for dual passports

    1. Hello Nilmini. You should be able to get assistance with your birth certificate request at the hospital. You can also contact the vital records agency in the area where the birth occurs, Keep in mind, it can take several weeks after a birth occurs for it to be registered with the state so it will take a little time to get a phsical copy of the birth certificate.

  9. Hey, my sisters birth certificate has been lost and she has never been able to get an ID. Wondering how to obtain her birth certificate. Would it be possible for me to send my photo id ? Or how would we go about this process. She’s now 25 and desperately needs a birth certificate

    1. Hello Rosalinda. More than like, you will not be entitled to order for her but it depends on what state she was born in. Your sister may want to contact the vital record agency that issued her birth certificate originally to find out if they will accept any alternative form of documentation from her.

  10. I recently legally changed my first name. When ordering a new birth certificate do I put my new name? It’s so confusing with no real answers.

    1. Hello Julissa. If you legally changed your first name, you will need to amend your birth certificate. Contact the vital record agency that issued your birth certificate originally for their requirements to amend the birth certificate.

  11. I have read in the site that to change a name for a person who is over 1 year old requires a court order. My daughter was born in Virginia in 2016, her father was not present. She just have my lastname as her lastname. We moved to my country in south america (Bolivia), because i am not US citizen, neither her father. So, the questions is: how can I modify (add the last name of her father) in the birth certificate, not beeing in the United States,? (because courts are just in the United States, and embassies don`t have a court s office) She is almost 4 years old.

    1. Hello Milenka. You can contact the court in Virginia to find out if there is any way you can submit the application for the name change remotely.

  12. I ordered my birth certificate on February 25, 2020, today is March 10th and I haven’t received anything. My Driver’s license are expired, I’m scheduled for a spring break vacation which i can’t board a plane without a valid driver’s license. Reading all the comments on this blog that states your company isnt responsible for anything after you submit the information to the state who holds your birth certificate, why are you giving and accepting payments for expedited delivery when it’s clearly not possible for your company to overnight the delivery of your birth certificate. This is false advertisement at the least. I’m on the verge of contacting the BBB and the Attorney general’s office because this is ridiculous. I’m typing this while being on hold for 26 minutes. I want to know how to receive a refund A.S.A.,P

    1. Hello Heather. We apologize for the misunderstanding but we offer an overnight delivery option for your vital record once the processing of your order has been completed by the appropriate vital record agency. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  13. when changing a minors surname, how long does it take to get the new birth certificate?

    1. Hello Bella. Processing times for amendments can vary from agency to agency. We suggest you contact the vital record agency involved for more information about their processing times.

  14. Please help. I placed my order on Feb 7th. It;s now Mar 16th. I tried Vital website. No update. I tried UPS tracking….They said a label was made,but have not reached any UPS facility? Both Vital, and UPS was saying that for 4 weeks.I need to renew my Drivers license, And get a job. I going to be homeless !!
    Thank you…. Detrick C.

    1. Hello Detrick. We are sorry to hear that you have not received your order yet. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  15. Over 50 years ago, I changed my name. I shortened my first name and also changed my last name to my middle name.

    Before I did this I consulted an attorney who said I could do it as long as I did not change my name for fraudulent or nefarious purposes
    The name change had to do with family issues and problems….
    I did not change my name through the court system…..

    Now with requirements for REAL ID, I have to provide my birth certificate which of course does not show the name change.

    What options do I have.

    1. Hello Jacob. We are sorry to hear about your dilemma. You may have to consult with the court to legally change your name to the name you have been using for the past 50 years. Once your name is legally changed, you can update your birth certificate to reflect your current name.

  16. Hey,I’m trying to scan my doc’s into the vital check here in Texas where I need my Birth Certificate to get an I.D. You can’t do any kind of business in Texas w/out a Texas I.D. This sucks & I wish They would get that fixed

    1. Please contact us with your order number so we can assist you. The quickest way to reach us is via private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  17. How can I get a copy of my long form birth certificate?

    1. Hello Angela. Thanks for reaching out with your question. The answer to your question may vary depending on where you were born. For more information, you can either contact the vital record agency that originally issued your birth certificate or contact VitalChek and we’ll be happy to assist you. The quickest way to reach us is by private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek. You can also call 877-513-6364 or email vitals.research@vitalchek.com.

  18. I see you do alot of apologizing, but I don’t see anything good about your service and I believe
    the person who said you were frauds might be right. None of your phone numbers work. So sorry I
    started with you!
    Paul

    1. Hello Paul. While the reviews may seem to indicate that nobody receives their orders, this simply is not the case. Last year alone, we processed more than 3 million transactions for more than 500 government agencies across the country. A vast majority of those transactions proceed without a problem and are completed within days and you never hear about them. Unfortunately, we have vital records agency partners that were already experiencing processing delays due to the impending implementation of REAL ID (which has now been moved out until 2021) and then COVID-19 shutdowns began and complicated matters further. VitalChek is the order processing service for vital records agencies across the country. For more than 30 years, we have provided secure remote ordering, payment processing, order tracking, 24/7 customer support, identity verification and authentication services for orders going to vital records agencies across the country. Once we process an order, we forward it on to the appropriate state or county vital records agency who then produces the certified copy of your record and ships it out to you via the order method you selected while placing your order. VitalChek has no control over processing times at the vital records agencies once the order is submitted to them and processing times vary from agency to agency based on workload, staffing and a number of other factors. While most vital records agencies process certificate orders in a matter of days, there are some that are unfortunately backlogged with orders for the reasons mentioned above. If you need assistance with your order, the quickest way to reach us is by private message at Facebook.com/VitalChek.

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