A birth certificate is a document that is completed for all births in the United States. By law, information about births and other statistics must be nationally collected and published.

Who Keeps Track of Birth Certificates?

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the individual states cooperate to compile birth statistics in the National Vital Statistics System. This project provides information from birth certificates. The States and NCHS create standard forms for the collection of birth data. Both the NCHS and the States share the cost of providing the data for national use.

Where Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate?

There should be an official certificate of your birth on file in the locality where you were born. These are State records and should located in a State vital statistics office or a local office. If you want to obtain a copy of your birth certificate, you should write to the vital statistics office in the area where you were born. Note that addresses and fees may be different depending on where you were born.

How Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate?

To obtain your birth certificate, follow these steps:

  • Write to the vital statistics office in the locality where you were born
  • For each copy that you ask for, make sure your check or money order is made out for the correct total amount (you may wish to call the office to make sure how much you need to pay)
  • All names and addresses should be typed or printed in the letter

What Facts Do I Need to Include?

You should include:

  • Your full name
  • Your sex
  • Your parents’ names
  • Your birth date
  • The reason why you need the copy
  • Your relationship to the person whose record is requested (if requesting someone else’s records)

Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Birth Certificate Issues?

A government lawyer would be able to tell you how to obtain a birth certificate and may provide guidance on how to deal with government agencies. However, the process is fairly straightforward as long as you know the locality where you were born.