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How to Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate

If you need a copy of your birth certificate or someone else’s, these steps will help you get the record you need.


  • Step 1: Identify the state where the person was born Identify the state in which the person was born. The vital records or vital statistics department for that state will have the birth certificate on file.
  • TIP: Find contact information for the state's vital records department through an internet search or at your local library.
  • Step 2: Gather identifying information Gather important identifying information about the person, such as their full name, sex, date and place of birth, and parents' names.
  • Step 3: Learn about state requirements Contact the appropriate state vital records department to learn about any fees or additional requirements necessary to get a copy of the certificate.
  • TIP: Make sure that you are legally allowed to get a copy of the birth certificate. Requirements vary by state, but most require you to be a close relative.
  • Step 4: Send the necessary information Send the necessary information along with any required fees to the state vital records department. Include your full name, address, and phone number. If you’re requesting someone else’s birth certificate, you must state your relationship to the person.
  • Step 5: Receive a certified copy of the birth certificate Receive a certified copy of the birth certificate by mail. Delivery time will vary by state, but most states offer an expedited service if you need the birth certificate quickly.
  • FACT: Over 4.2 million births were registered in the United States in 2006 – up three percent from the year before.

You Will Need

  • Basic information on the person whose birth certificate you need
  • Internet or library access (optional)

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