How Long Does it Take to Get a Birth Certificate?

It typically takes 4 to 8 weeks to receive your certified birth certificate copy in the mail. If you need your replacement sooner, premium services such as offer a Rush Package with expedited shipping. Some states may even be able to provide a copy within 2-3 business days.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Birth Certificate

Birth certificates are only one page long, which can make them easily misplaced or destroyed. If you need one urgently, you might be wondering: how long does it take to get a new birth certificate? The length of time between applying for a new birth certificate and receiving it can vary depending on whether you apply in person or online, and where you live. Those that live in a state other than where they were born may not have easy access to a vital records office in the state they were born, and, therefore, it may be easiest to apply online. 

If you’re looking for the quickest option to submit your application, applying online will be the best since you may not receive your birth certificate on the same day you physically go to the vital records office.  

Birth certificates are essential documents. They are often required when applying for identification, such as a passport, and should be protected carefully especially if lost, stolen or misplaced. Birth certificates are most commonly initiated at the hospital following a birth, where the parents fill out the information, such as the baby’s legal name. This provides proof of citizenship and is the first form of identification and legal recognition a child is given. Even the original birth certificate may take a few weeks to be generated, so it’s understandable why a replacement may take even longer.

Where you were born will greatly impact whether you choose to apply online or in person. You must apply for your birth certificate at the same state vital records office where the birth was originally recorded. State processing times vary and it’s best to research your specific state’s time in order to gain an accurate picture of when your birth certificate may arrive.

In order to request a birth certificate, you must either be the individual in need of the new documentation or have close relations with them, such as their parents. You will also need to have personal information available and other forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and other documents to prove your identity. Addresses will also need to be noted, as well as any and all names which you’ve ever used. Family questions, such as names, may need to be answered, as well as information about the birth place given. Through all of this gathering, the vital records office keeps your private information safe.

When Ordering in-Person

Many may assume that applying for a birth certificate online is easier, but that isn’t always the case. Birth certificates are important pieces of legal documentation and should not be taken lightly. Applying in person is the fastest choice, but you’ll need to consider a few factors and have legal proof in order to qualify for a new birth certificate.

You must first physically travel to the vital records office where the birth was registered, which means you’ll most likely need to live in or near the state in which you were born. Applying in person gives you the peace-of-mind that working with a professional brings, though you will need to take into account how busy or understaffed the office is and how wait times. Waiting lines may take a few minutes or a few hours, so it’s recommended to block out a large portion of your day. If you’re able to travel to the place where you were born, it may be rewarding, as you can possibly get your birth certificate on the same day.

When Ordering Online

The simplest way to get an official birth certificate is to order it online. This way, you can skip any lines and place your order from anywhere in the world. It only takes 10 minutes to file online. Different states may have varying request procedures and processing times, but the majority will have a form available on the vital records website. Once the form is filled out, you can request to receive the birth certificate in the mail. It’s always best to submit your application quickly and allow for 2-3 extra days to ensure you’re meeting any deadlines and will receive a response as soon as possible.

There are some private companies which can provide birth certificates, but they are not allowed in every state. is a reliable option which will assist in gathering the required documents, and provides a rush package option to send your application to the necessary state within one business day. The cost for a new birth certificate varies, depending on if you were born within the US, adopted or born abroad. It can cost between $20-$55, but will most likely be on the cheaper end of that spectrum.

Once the vital records office has received your request, the wait time varies depending on their availability and volume of requests. You can visit our Processing Times page to find the average wait times for your state. It will most likely be between 4-8 weeks from when you request the new birth certificate and you receive it. However, some vital records offices may take up to six months depending on the circumstances.

Birth Certificate Processing Times by State:

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