I Lost My Birth Certificate, What Should I Do?

Lost birth certificates are commonly exploited for identify fraud. Follow these instructions on how to quickly get your certified replacement.

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I Lost My Birth Certificate

Lost birth certificates are a common occurrence, but can create bigger problems than expected, especially if it ends up in the wrong hands. Unfortunate incidents such as theft, fires, or simple misplacement are often the cause, so here we provide instructions to help you know what to do if you lost your birth certificate, and how to quickly get a certified replacement

A birth certificate is extremely important since it’s your first form of identification you receive in your life, and it’s commonly required for proof of identity to replace important documents or access important services such as:

• Social Security Cards
• Passports
• Proof of Citizenship
• Marriage Licenses
• Marrying Abroad
• Government Benefits
• Drivers Licenses 
• School Enrollments
• Join the Military
• Applying for government benefits
• Voting in certain states
• Certain types of financial agreements or transactions
• Claim a pension or insurance benefits
• Overseas for Apostille
• Dual Citizenship

  1. What To Do If You Lost Your Birth Certificate?

    Whether you lost your birth certificate or you are certain it was stolen, you will need to report it to your state’s Vital Records Office and order a certified Birth Certificate Replacement as soon as possible. The Vital Records Office is likely part of your state’s Department of Health. In cases of a stolen birth certificate, it’s advised to take additional measures to protect yourself from identity fraud. Identity thieves may use your birth certificate to obtain additional valid forms of ID, including a driver's license, passport, and even your Social Security number. It’s vitally important that you report your stolen Birth Certificate to a local police station, Identity Theft Government website, and credit monitoring service. Once you’ve taken these precautions to protect yourself from the threat of identity fraud, you will need to request a replacement Birth Certificate.

    If you lost a birth certificate for your child, grandchild, or other family member, the laws of the state in which the person was born define who can request a replacement. When replacing a birth certificate for someone else, most states only allow parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and spouses to request a third-party’s birth certificate. In these cases, you will also need to state your relationship to the person whose birth certificate is being replaced.

  2. How To Replace a Lost Birth Certificate?

    You can easily order a replacement Birth Certificate online & by mail or by placing a request in-person at a local Vital Records Office in your county. If you currently reside in a state other than where you were born, visiting the Vital Records Office may not be a possibility for you. This is when services like VitalRecordsOnline.com provide the convenience of online ordering to save you the hassle of filling out complicated forms — all from the comfort of your own home. 

    The replacement birth certificate you receive will be what is known as a Certified Copy. This means it's a copy made by the state agency that stores your original birth certificate and it includes a stamp or embossing that indicates it's a correct, true copy of the original document. You will need a certified copy, not a regular copy, for many purposes such as applying for a passport or a driver’s license

    Not only does processing times vary between states, there is no guarantee you can avoid waiting in long lines at the local vital records office. VitalRecordsOnline.com is a reliable and quick way to get a birth certificate — providing a secure application service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and with overnight, rushed delivery options.

  3. What Documents Are Required for a Birth Certificate?

    Depending on the state or county in which you were born, you may have to meet unique requirements such as a notarization or the need for an additional proof of identity. However, the basic documents you will need for requesting a certified birth certificate include, but may not be limited to: 

    • Forms of ID such as a passport or a state issued photo-ID card, driver's license, or passport.
    • Your full name at birth.
    • Parents' names (including your mother's maiden name). Depending on the state, you may have the option of not providing a father's name as it may not be listed on your birth certificate or you may not know the father's name. In some states, you will be asked if your parents were married at the time of birth. 
    • Date of city/town of birth.
    • Hospital of birth (in some states).
    • Your sex at birth.

  4. Are There Any Special Circumstances?

    Under special circumstances such as if you were adopted, born abroad, or if your parents are deceased or separated while you were young, obtaining the required documents and information can be more complicated. However, services such as VitalRecordsOnline.com are equipped with the tools necessary to help you in these, and all, circumstances..

    Note that if you were adopted, you actually have two birth certificates: the original birth certificate created at birth and an amended birth certificate created when the adoption is filed. In most cases, the vital information such as the date, time, and location of birth should be the same on both documents. 

    As an adopted individual, you will request and receive the amended birth certificate, not the original. Access to the original birth certificate is very limited in most states. However, some states moved toward unsealing records upon request by the adoptee.

    For the vast majority of adoptees, the same documents are needed to request the replacement amended birth certificate as anyone else would need for a replacement birth certificate.  

    If you were born abroad and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, or born on a military base outside of the United States, you can request a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) from the country of your birth. If you have friends or family who live in that country, they can help you obtain a replacement, however the embassies or consulates can also assist you if you don’t have someone to help.

    If you need help with acquiring the required documents for your birth certificate replacement application or have additional questions, visit Vital Records Online FAQs or Support to find answers to frequently asked questions. Our specialists have the experience to answer any questions related to your vital records.

  5. How Do I Submit My Application for a Replacement?

    When you’re ready to submit your application, you will also need to include a check or money order (not cash) in your package with the amount required by your state fees. Be sure to type or print your name, address, and personal info for legibility purposes. When you’re finally ready to mail your application to the Vital Records Office of the county you were born, ensure to include all photocopies of each required document, and a notarized sworn statement if your state requires you to prove legal right to the information. 

    Alternatively, your other option is to physically travel to your state’s Vital Records Office to wait in a long line to submit your application. In the current age of social-distancing, it is wise to avoid long lines and government offices entirely.

    Many people will find it easier to use services like VitalRecordsOnline.com. When you order your replacement birth certificate with us, you will be asked to verify your identity before finalizing your order. This is to prove you are who you say you are, or prove you are actually related to the person whose birth certificate you are requesting. This verification process usually requires your Social Security number, date of birth, and a copy of your passport, driver's license, or other form of ID. A sworn statement may also be used. These documents can be scanned or faxed. Overall, this process is much quicker and more efficient than mailing in your application package or hand-delivering it in-person to your state’s office.

Keep Your Birth Certificate Safe

When ordering your Birth Certificate online, ensure you use a reliable source like Vital Records Online where the entire application process is secure and guarantees the complete privacy of your data. After you receive your Birth Certificate replacement, it’s ideal to keep it safe with other important vital records such as a fireproof safe, or a safety deposit box.

Related FAQs

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How To Know If a Birth Certificate is Official?
Next FAQ
What Documents are Required for Birth Certificate Replacement?
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