If you were born in the United States, your birth certificate is one of your most important identifying documents, necessary for validating your citizenship and often required for functions such as applying for higher education, getting or renewing photo identification such as a passport, and getting married or changing your name. While most parents go home with a hospital birth record and are required to register for a complete one, many people do not own a certified copy of their birth certificate. Unfortunately, this often means trouble later on, when you need this document for travel, school, or verifying your own identity.
Here are 5 reasons you should have your birth certificate at home.
1.Applying for Identifying Documents and Licenses
A certified copy of your birth certificate or the original copy of your birth records serve as your best proof of your citizenship, your age, and your identity. While your certified birth certificate won’t work in all cases as proof of your identity (for example, you will often need a photo ID), it is an important document for establishing your identity when applying for photo identification.
You will also likely need your birth certificate when applying for documents such as a driver’s license, social security card, marriage certificate, and in order to get a court order to change your name.
2.Keeping Good Records
Keeping a copy of your birth certificate in a safe and accessible place gives you an easy way to verify your identity, restore many types of lost identity cards, and establish your genealogy for your children. If you are traveling or out of the country, your birth certificate serves as an important document verifying your U.S. citizenship in case you lose your passport. Most importantly, your birth certificate is a form of identification that never expires, so you’ll have proof of your identity even if your other cards expire.
3.Registering for School
If you’re registering for a class, school, or any form of higher education, you may be required to provide your birth certificate. This assures that you are who you say you are, are a legal U.S. resident, and are the age you say you are. This is especially important for younger children and minors, who need birth certificates to participate in sports.
If you intend to travel to any country outside of the United States, you will have to provide your birth certificate to acquire your passport. A certified copy of your birth certificate functions as proof of your citizenship.
Holding an existing copy of your birth certificate will make it easier to request copies of birth certificates for your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, so that you can establish your genealogy or family tree. While not important to everyone, your birth certificate also functions as irrevocable proof of your parentage, giving your parents the ability to take legal action and request documentation on your behalf should you lose your vital records.
How Do I Order a Copy of My Birth Certificate?
If you don’t currently have a copy of your birth certificate at home, you can go about ordering your birth certificate online. You can choose to contact your local vital records office and fill out paperwork yourself and pay the fee there or use VitalRecordsOnline to request certified copies of your birth certificate online. You will need a copy of your photo ID to apply. If you are under 21, you will have to have your parents or legal guardians apply on your behalf.
There are many reasons you may need a copy of your birth certificate, leading many people to keep a secondary copy in a safe place such as a safe or safety deposit box.
If you don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, it’s always a good idea to acquire one. Hopefully these 5 reasons to have your birth certificate at home will convince you to do so.