Long Form Vs Short Form Birth Certificate

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Difference between long and short birth certificate

Have you heard about long form vs short form Birth Certificate? Long-form birth certificate is a copy of the actual certificate of birth on file at the facility where the birth took place. While, the short-form birth certificate is a notarized document stating that the long form certificate exists and is on file. 

What is a long form Birth Certificate? 

A long form birth certificate at times can be referred to as the official version. However, each state may call it something slightly different. It generally has all of the information you would expect to see on a birth certificate but can also vary by the location in which the person was born – time and place of birth, parent’s names, address, signatures of those present at birth etc. If you are looking to start an adoption process, applying for a dual citizenship, or are looking to obtain a passport you will need a long form birth certificate. 

It does not hurt to have several versions of a birth certificate, but they should be stored in a safe place. To be prepare for an unexpected life event you should have your vital records organized and accessible. For questions about how to obtain a birth certificate, refer to our Vital Records Services for America website.

What is a short form Birth Certificate? 

A short-form birth certificate is a shorter version of the original. It omits some details in order to be brief and more convenient.

Essentially, the short form is a notarized document that is used to state that a long-form birth certificate does in fact exist and is on file with the local agency that processed it at birth. Hence, it will not include information about your exact place of birth, such as a hospital versus a home, or the parents’ birth dates, the short form will have a file number printed on it that refers back to the original. 

What does a short form Birth Certificate look like?

birth certificate
Birth Certificate Image

This is a short form birth certificate (also called “Certification of Birth“). It is issued by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and signed by the City Registrar. 

How to get a long form Birth Certificate?    

Birth certificate records are kept in the state that the person was born in, there is no federal database for these records. There is typically one office per state and most of the time it is located in the state capital. You can locate your local vital records office by using onlinevitals.com directory. If you want to save yourself a tedious process you may do so by clicking the following link below and let us do the job for you!


Have you decided to use VitalRecordsOnline? here are the simple steps to submitting your application.

Step 1  

In order to prove your identity to the health department you will have to photocopy your ID (Not Expired) and depending on the state you are applying for you might need to notarize your application form.

Step 2    

Prepare a money order or a check for the total fee amount to the health department. The fee amount varies from state to state, so ensure to check the provided detailed instructions. We accept and process quicker money orders in all states.

Step 3

Gather all documents into the prepaid envelope provided to you. Locate the nearest USPS store and or drop box to mail your application.