If you need a copy of your birth certificate for official use, you must get a certified birth certificate copy. This is an official copy made from the original document. It can only be issued by a Vital Records office in the state where the original birth certificate was filed. A certified birth certificate copy will include a raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored state seal and be signed by the registrar. It will also state the date the original birth certificate was filed, which must be within one year of the individual’s birth, for the document to be legally valid.
How do I get a certified copy of my birth certificate?
A certified copy of your birth certificate is a vital record that you can use to prove your identity and citizenship when applying for things like a U.S. passport or Social Security card. You must apply for certified copies of your birth certificate in your birth state through the agency that issued the original document. Application processes, fees, and processing times vary by state and county.
Certified copy vs. an informational copy
Vital Records offices are responsible for issuing authorized copies of birth certificates, both the informational and certified versions. Informational birth certificates, however, are not valid for any type of official use. They will clearly state that they are “informational, not a valid document to establish identity” and will not have the registrar’s signature or seal. So, you cannot use an informational copy to do things like apply for a passport or driver’s license or enroll in school. Regular photocopies of birth certificates are not acceptable for official use either.
See also: Birth certificates: long-form and short-form