How to get a copy of your birth certificate

Documentation Station: What You Need to Order a Birth Certificate Today

Knowing how to order a birth certificate online doesn’t have to be complicated. Ordering a copy of your own or your child’s official birth certificate online is pretty simple and won’t take much time. Before you order a birth certificate, you want to make sure you have all the details and information you need. Luckily, getting a birth certificate doesn’t require you to track down obscure details about yourself or your child. For security reasons, you simply need to prove that you are who you say you are.

How to Order a Birth Certificate – Information You’ll Need

Location of Birth

Since there might be multiple people with the same name and birthday, it’s essential that you know where the person was born when getting ready to order a birth certificate online. Some states ask you for the county of birth, if you can’t remember the exact city or town, and some states may even ask for the hospital name.

Important Details

You’ll need some basic information about the person for whom you’re ordering a certificate. While you don’t need his or her Social Security number, you do need to know the month, day and year of birth, the person’s gender and his or her full name.

When ordering an official birth certificate you also need to give a reason for the order. The reason helps determine what type of certificate you receive, either short or long form. Typical reasons for an order include applying for a passport, driver’s license or registering for school.

Lost Birth Certificate | Documentation Station: What You Need To Order a Birth Certificate Today

Parental Information

You also need to provide the names of the person’s parents when you order a birth certificate. While you typically need to know the mother’s first and maiden names, some states provide you the option of not listing the father’s name. This may be the case if the father wasn’t listed on the original certificate or if you don’t know who he is. Some states will ask you if the parents were married when the person was born.


For security reasons, you can’t order an official birth certificate for just anyone. You can typically order a copy of your own certificate and official copies of the birth certificates for people you’re related to. When ordering, you need to specify your relationship to the person, whether he or she is your child, your parent, or your sibling.


Depending on the state you’re requesting a birth certificate from, the address you provide for shipping and billing may need to be the same. For example, Pennsylvania requires your billing address, or the address connected to your credit card to be the same as your shipping address. Other states, such as Massachusetts, will allow you to list separate addresses for your home, billing and shipping. If you decide to have the certificate sent to you using UPS overnight shipping, you can’t list a PO Box as the shipping address.

Credit Card

To order a birth certificate online, you need to pay with a credit card. The name on the credit card should match the name of the person ordering. For security reasons, you’ll also have to provide the three-digit code found on the back of Visa, Discover or MasterCard cards or the four-digit code found on the front of American Express cards.

Proof of Identity

Document to Verify Your Identity

As you near the end of your order, you may be asked to answer some additional identity questions or perhaps send in an identity verification document. It’s easy enough for anyone to claim to be related to someone online. This identity verification process requires you to provide concrete proof that you are who you’re claiming to be. Typically, you’ll be asked to provide your Social Security Number and date of birth and/or provide a copy of your driver’s license, passport, or other valid photo identification to prove your identity, or a sworn statement proving your relationship to the person whose certificate you’re ordering. These documents can easily be submitted via a scan and upload process, or by faxing if that’s more convenient.


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