delayed birth certificate

What is a Delayed Birth Certificate

Having a new baby is exciting! There’s so much planning that goes into your journey, and we totally get it – most of it is a ton of fun! Nursery colors, baby toys and blankets. But somewhere along the line, you’ll need to consider some important  legal aspects that go along with adding to your family. We’ve helped you with information on things like how to get baby’s social security card and what type of ID will your little one need to fly, but one question we haven’t addressed covers just what a delayed birth certificate is. Luckily it’s not a super complicated topic, but it’s one that’s important. 

What is a Delayed Birth Certificate?

It’s common for people who’ve just had a new baby to overlook obtaining copies of their newborn’s birth certificate. In fact, sometimes, if it’s a matter of physically heading into the vital records office, that can be a daunting task with a new baby at home. Rest assured however, that this isn’t a huge deal. If you gave birth at a birthing center or hospital, the staff there most likely provided you with the documentation and paperwork necessary to file your baby’s birth with the appropriate government office. The same goes for in-home doulas and other midwife services – part of their job responsibilities when advocating for your birth experience is to ensure your birth is registered appropriately. 

It may suprise you to hear that birth certificates are a relatively new form of official documentation. In fact, birth certificates were not common in many locations until the first part of the 20th century! Currently, any person born in the United States needs a birth certificate on record as their initial form of identification and proof of citizenship. 

While it is most common for the facility or midwife to submit registration of  a baby’s birth to the proper vital records office, occasionally, this registration process may not take place. Home births or births at  less traditional facilities may not always provide that facilitation and it might fall on the mother or parents to submit the documentation. 

A delayed birth certificate, or delayed birth registration signifies that the birth of an individual was not filed with proper vital records office within the first year after the child’s birth. This doesn’t mean you are now unable to register your new baby’s birth, it just means you must complete different forms and submit them to the correct government agencies. 

Why Might Delayed Birth Registration be Necessary?

Applying for a delayed birth certificate for newborns is not that common these days – it happens but typically the people responsible for a mother during labor and delivery are the ones who ensure this paperwork is appropriately filed. It’s more common now, however, for people interested in genealogy projects, or older individuals seeking passports or Real ID to attempt to obtain certified copies of their birth certificate to realize their birth was never officially registered with the government. 

No matter the reason, needing to obtain a delayed certificate of birth happens more often than you’d think. Obtaining a late or delayed birth certificate isn’t a huge ordeal. If you’ve discovered you or your child needs a delayed birth certificate, you must first contact the vital records office in the county where the birth occurred. From there, they can help direct you to other institutions you may need to contact. If you have more questions about obtaining certified copies of your birth certificate, please visit our Birth Certificate FAQ for more information!


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