Getting a replacement birth certificate is a routine procedure for individuals born in any of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, or one of the current US territories. Replacement birth certificates are also obtainable for US citizens born in US former territories. It is important to know there are certified and non-certified birth certificates. The non-certified version is for informational purposes only while the certified version is used for all legal purposes. The certified certificate will have a raised registrar’s seal, the registrar’s signature, and the date the birth certificate was filed in the registrar’s office. The document needs to show it was filed within one year of the date of birth.
Replacement Birth Certificates Within the 50 States, DC, and Current Territories:
Birth certificates must be obtained from the state, territory, or district where a person’s birth was originally filed. Current US territories are Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The contact information for the vital statistics office in each location can be found at www.cdc.gov. Each office has its own policies for required information when requesting a replacement plus any associated fees.
There are three ways to get a replacement birth certificate; in person, online, or through the postal system. Online certificates can be available within a few hours. The postal system takes longer, usually one to two weeks. Seasonal backlogs, like during summer travel times or just before the start of a school year, may delay the replacement certificate process for several months. Going in person to the issuing office is the most expedient approach. In most cases, a person can get a replacement certificate within an hour.
US Citizens of Former Territories:
Replacement birth certificates can be obtained from the office of vital statistics for US citizens born in the following former US territories:
The Panama Canal Zone prior to October 1, 1997
The US Trust Territories of the Pacific between 1947 and 1986
The Philippines prior to July 4, 1946
The Northern Mariana Islands before 1986
Contact information can be found at www.cdc.gov.
A certified birth certificate is the recommended replacement document to request because of its function as a legal document. A person should make several copies of the replacement birth certificate to keep in a secure location for any future occasions where this document may be needed for passports, professional licenses, and marital situations.