I lost my birth certificate

What to do if I Lost My Birth Certificate?

At the time of our birth, our birth certificate is our very first form of identification. It’s the first identifying document issued to us by the government through thevital records office where we’re born.

It will be needed for everything from enrolling us in school to getting a photo ID when we’re older. Often, the first time your birth certificate will be used is when your parents enroll you in school, but what happens after that? It’s not unusual for our parents to place our vital records like our social security card and birth certificate in a safe place like a lock box or safety deposit box. Sometimes however, these documents can be stolen or can get misplaced or even lost or damaged over the course of time. Since it’s common for these documents to be used once while you’re very young, and then not again for years, it is important to know what steps to take to replace them if they’re lost or stolen. Getting a replacement birth certificate doesn’t have to be a hassle, so let’s look at the steps below. 

I lost my birth certificate – What do I do?

Unfortunately, while a lost birth certificate is a more common scenario, and one that has lesser consequences, a stolen birth certificate is a whole different matter. A lost birth certificate in most cases is fairly simple to replace. If you reside in a state other than the one you were born in, it may be a bit tricky to physically go to the vital records office in the county you were born in. In these cases, you can utilize sites like VitalChek.com for convenient and secure ordering that will deliver right to your home. It can be a bit more involved however, if your parents separated while you were young or if either of your parents is deceased. Sometimes you’ll need to provide a bit more personal information in order to prove you are who you say you are, especially if details are forgotten or unknown. 

If some details are missing, don’t fret – reaching out to your vital records office or to help lines on sites like VitalChek can prove to be of great assistance and most questions can be resolved fairly easily. If you know that your birth certificate was in fact lost (ex: thrown out accidentally or lost in the shuffle of a move, perhaps buried in a box in the attic) or damaged, you can probably rest easy knowing that it’s not in the wrong hands. You may however want to report it if the loss is more recent and you just can’t be sure that it wasn’t stolen. 

What if I think it was stolen?

Because a birth certificate is your first government issued vital record, you should take action immediately if you think it was stolen. If a stolen birth certificate ends up in the hands of a person of similar age and other physical attributes, it can be used to obtain other forms of identification including a copy of a social security card. 

If you believe your birth certificate was stolen, it’s important to contact the vital records office in the place you were born immediately. From there, you can go about obtaining another certified copy, but notifying officials is an important first step. If someone chooses to use your stolen birth certificate in conjunction with a fake driver’s license, they can obtain other important documents which are the first steps of identity theft. You may want to follow up with a credit monitor or other type of identity monitoring service. You can subscribe to these types of services online for minimal fees. 

Caption: A stolen birth certificate can mean the beginning stages of identity theft may take place. If you believe your vital records have been stolen, be sure to report them to authorities right away. (alt tag: stolen birth certificate may lead to identity theft)

Due to the importance of your birth certificate as it pertains to your identity, it’s always important to keep it and other important vital records in a safe and secure place. As mentioned above, a lock box or safety deposit box is best. 


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