If you were born in the United States, you should have your birth certificate at home. That is because this is one of your most important identifying documents. It is necessary for validating your citizenship and often required for functions such as applying for higher education. You also need it to get or renew photo identification such as a passport, and to get married or change your name. Most parents go home with a hospital birth record and are required to register for a complete one. However, many people do not have a certified copy of their birth certificate at home. Unfortunately, this often means trouble later on, when you need this document for travel, school, or verifying your own identity.
Why Do I Need a Birth Certificate at Home?
Are you wondering, “Why do I need a birth certificate?” Here are five reasons why you should have your birth certificate at home:
1. Applying for Identifying Documents and Licenses
A certified copy or the original copy of your birth records serves as your best proof of your citizenship. These also prove your age and your identity. Your certified birth records won’t work in all cases as proof of your identity. For example, you will often need a photo ID. However, it is an important document for establishing your identity when applying for photo identification.
You will also likely need your birth records when applying for documents such as a driver’s license, social security card, or marriage certificate. It is necessary in order to get a court order to change your name too.
2. Keeping Good Records
Keeping a copy of your birth certificate at home in a safe and accessible place gives you an easy way to verify your identity. You can also use it to restore many types of lost identity cards and establish your genealogy for your children. If you are traveling 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 records are a form of identification that never expires. Therefore, 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 asked to provide your birth records. This confirms your identity, your age, and that you are a legal U.S. resident. This is especially important for younger children and minors, who need birth certificates to participate in sports.
4. Traveling Abroad
To travel outside of the United States, you will have to provide your birth certificate to get your passport. A certified copy of your birth records functions as proof of your citizenship.
5. Using the Birth Certificate for Genealogy
Having a copy of your birth certificate at home enables you to ask for copies of birth certificates for your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. With their birth records, you can establish your genealogy or family tree. While not important to everyone, your birth certificate also functions as irrevocable proof of your parentage. That means it gives 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 order one online. You can choose to contact your local vital records office and fill out the paperwork yourself and pay the fee there. Or, you can use Vital Records Online to get certified copies of your birth records 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 why you may need a copy of your birth certificate. That is why many people keep a secondary copy in a secure place such as a safe or safety deposit box.
If you don’t have a copy of your birth records, it’s always a good idea to get one. Hopefully, these five reasons to have your birth certificate at home will convince you to do so.