How to Find a Birth Certificate for Free

Updated November 21, 2016

Birth certificates are an essential form of identification needed for obtaining a social security number, enrolling in school, getting a driver's license or passport, and even proving citizenship. Free birth certificates are issued to newborns. The best advice is, after a baby is born, do not lose that record.

Procuring another official copy of a birth certificate in the United States must be done through the state in which the person was born. The state does charge a fee for the certificate and, if you use an online service, an additional fee will be charged by them, as well.

Find the mailing address of the Department of Vital Records in the state where the person was born. Many websites offer lists of addresses free of charge. Most of the time you will be asked to make your request by fax or mail.

Complete the birth certificate request form, including legal name at time of birth, birthdate, year, city, state and, if possible, the name of the hospital. You will also be asked for the names of the birth parents: the mother's maiden name and father's name.

Mail your application following the directions written on the form. Include payment according to the instructions.


Requesting an official birth certificate will be honoured only if the request comes from the person to whom the birth certificate belongs, or from one of his or her parents. Unofficial birth certificates, as mementos of a child's birth, can be created from a template online or using word-processing software. These keepsakes can be produced for free but cannot be used as legal certification.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Mailing address of vital records office
  • Birth information
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