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When applying for a passport, license, or most types of government-issued identification, you usually need the original or a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you have lost the original copy of this document, you will need to apply for a new birth certificate. In the United States, when applying for an official birth certificate, the process and fees vary, depending on where you were born. The steps that you must take, along with the offices that you must contact, are clearly outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
To find out what you must do to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate, you can go to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Enter the term "vital records" into the search box, and click search. The first search result should come up, and it will read "Where to Write for Vital Records." Clicking on this link will bring up a list of every US state and territory, as well as a link for US citizens who were born overseas.
Clicking on the area where you were born will bring up a screen listing addresses and instructions on how to obtain a new birth certificate. From this page, you can also get information on how to get copies of other vital records, such as death certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce certificates. Most states require you to fill out an application and send it in along with the required fees.
When filling out the application for a new birth certificate, you will usually have to include your full name, along with both of your parents' names. Women should use their full maiden name, and most of the time, their mother's maiden name will be required instead of her married name. The exact location and date of your birth is also needed to get a copy of your birth certificate. Many states also require that you provide a reason for request.
Many times, these forms can be downloaded and printed out for you to fill out and mail in. Some states, however, also allow individuals to fill out the form online. When filling out an online form, the fees to obtain your new birth certificate can be paid using a credit card. When mailing in a form though, a check or money order is usually required. Fees to get a new birth certificate vary greatly, depending on where you were born.
My current state, not my birth state, has recently required drivers to switch over to a new kind of license with a "star" endorsement. Without this new security endorsement, I can't board a plane or do other things that require legal identity. The requirement doesn't technically go into effect until next year, but a lot of people will now have to present a certified birth certificate the next time they renew their drivers' licenses.
I'm going to have to go through the process of getting a new birth certificate from another state just to verify my identity. I'm also going to have to renew my current driver's license early, since it doesn't expire until after the new law goes into full effect. I need to order a birth certificate and store it with my other important papers somewhere.
I had to get a copy of my birth certificate in order to enter Aruba, even though I didn't need a passport at the time. I was living in Alabama at the time, but I was born in Akron, Ohio. I was hoping all of this could be handled online, but instead I had to send a request for a certified copy to a county-level records office. It took a few weeks, but I think it was much better than having to get a US passport.
I carried around a different document for years that I thought was my official birth certificate, but it was more of a ceremonial birth record. My middle name was illegible, so it couldn't be used as legal proof of birth I had to order a new birth certificate before we could leave the country.
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