The idea of having a registered birth database began in the United States in 1902, and became fully integrated and used by all states from 1930 and onward.  Today, birth certificates are one of the most common forms of identification and are required to obtain several government documents, licenses, and identification.  Sometimes though, birth certificates can become damaged or lost and it may be necessary to order birth certificate replacements.  In every state you are allowed to order a replacement birth certificate for yourself and in most states you are able to order a certificate for a direct family member.

Before ordering, it is important to understand that the federal government is not responsible for issuing birth certificates.  All birth certificates and replacement certificates are granted by the state in which the person was born.  The birth certificate must be requested from and issued by the state where the person was born and not where the person may currently be residing.

One of the easiest ways to order birth certificate replacements is through an online source.  Make sure that you are on the correct website and are requesting the birth certificate from the state of birth.  On the website, there will be a form to complete.  Some states will allow you to digitally sign the form once the information is completed.  Other states, however, require the form to be printed and physically signed.  Once the form is signed, scan the document back into the computer to upload or attach to an email.

The next step is to provide some sort of acceptable identification to have the replacement birth certificate issued.  Typically, you will have to show one form of primary identification and a secondary identification in two forms.

  • A driver’s license
  • A state-issued non-driver photo ID card
  • US Military issued photo ID
  • Passport

An example of secondary identification might be:

  • Current lease for an apartment
  • Health insurance card
  • A personal credit card/statement
  • Utility bill or telephone bill
  • Personal checkbook or bank statement
  • Recent government issued letter

If submitting your request online, you will need to digitize these forms of identification so they can be saved and attached to your birth certificate request.  You can do this by making copies or scans of the form of identification.

An important thing to consider when ordering a replacement birth certificate online is to make sure you have a valid credit card for payment.  When ordering online, you may not mail payment in.  Ordering a new birth certificate online does have its advantages.  You will have a record of the request and usually the process is much faster than the alternative of mailing a birth certificate request.  While each state is different in the time it takes to process the request, most birth certificates that are ordered online arrive within one to two months.