Replace Your Vital Records | USAGov (2022)

Find out how to replace vital documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and more.

On This Page

  • How to Replace Lost or Stolen ID Cards
  • Vital Records Issued in the United States
  • Get a Copy of Your Birth Certificate
  • How to Get a Copy of a Marriage Certificate or a Marriage License
  • How to Get a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate
  • Divorce Decrees and Certificates
  • How to Find Adoption Records

How to Replace Lost or Stolen ID Cards

Rules for replacing government-issued ID cards vary. Many require you to show an official document, like your birth certificate. This proves your identity or citizenship.

Replace a Driver’s License or State ID Card

Contact your state motor vehicle agency for a replacement license or state ID card.

Replace a Social Security Card

Visit the Social Security Administration website to replace your card online, by mail, or in person.

Replace a Medicare Card

Request a replacement online with your my Social Security account. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227 TTY 1-877-486-2048).

Replace a Medicaid Card

Contact your state Medicaid office to get a replacement.

Replace a U.S. Passport

Report your lost or stolen passport to the State Department. Then request a replacement in person.

Replace a Permanent Resident (Green) Card

Apply through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to replace your Green Card.

Replace a Federal Employee or Contractor ID Card

Notify your supervisor, your agency’s security office, and the IT service desk if your federal employee or contractor ID was lost or stolen.

Replace a Military ID Card

Report the missing card to your unit security officer. Then find an ID Card office and make an appointment.

(Video) How you can replace lost vital records

Vital Records Issued in the United States

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. State government vital records offices issue these documents. To get a copy of a vital record, contact the vital records office in the state where the event occurred.

Get a Copy of Your Birth Certificate

As a U.S. citizen, your birth certificate may be your most important document. It proves your identity and age. You'll need it to:

If you need a copy, where you were born will determine how to get it.

Birth Certificate Copies: Born in the U.S.

Contact the vital records office in the state or territory where you were born to get a copy of your birth certificate. Follow the instructions for requesting copies and paying fees. If you need a copy fast, ask about expedited service or shipping when you place your order.

Birth Certificate Copies: Americans Born Abroad

If you were born to American parents abroad, they should have registered your birth with the country's U.S. embassy or consulate. If they did, they would have received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). You can get a copy of this report from the U.S. Department of State. Depending on the country, a vital records office in the nation may also list the birth.

What if the State Department cannot locate your CRBA? If you were born on a military base abroad, your parents might not have registered your birth with the U.S. embassy. In that case, you may have to contact the hospital where you were born.

Birth Certificate Copies: Born Abroad and Adopted by U.S. Parents

If you were born in a foreign country and adopted by a U.S. citizen, you would not have received a U.S. birth certificate. The country in which you were born would have issued one. To get a copy, contact the nearest foreign embassy or consulate for that country. If you need an authenticated copy and it's not in English, ask the embassy for help to get it translated.

If you were adopted from another country by a U.S. citizen, you should have copies of your naturalization/citizenship papers. If you don't, submit an application for the replacement of a naturalization/citizenship document. For help, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

(Video) What Documents Are Required For A Birth Certificate Replacement?

How to Get a Copy of a Marriage Certificate or a Marriage License

A marriage license legally allows you to marry. A marriage certificate proves you got married. How you get copies depends on whether you married in the U.S. or abroad.

Married in the U.S.: How to Get a Certified Copy of a Marriage Certificate

Contact the state vital records office. They may direct you to the clerk of the city or county where the license was issued or to another local office. They will tell you the cost, what information you need to supply, and if you can get a copy online, by mail, or in person.

How to Get a Copy of a Marriage License

County governmentsissue marriage licenses. It may be a clerk of court, probate court, or a marriage license department that issues them. Contact the county government where you'll be married to apply for a license.

  • Most marriage licenses expire within 30 days to a year, depending on the issuing state.

  • If yours expires or gets lost before you get married, apply for a new one.

Married Abroad: How to Get Marriage Records

Contact the embassy or consulate of the country where the marriage took place. Its staff will help you get a certified copy of the foreign marriage document.

The State Department has documents on file confirming marriages that:

  • Occurred before November 9, 1989

  • A U.S. consular officer witnessed

If those facts apply, contact the State Department to get a copy of the Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad.

How to Get a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate

Many organizations require a certified copy of the death certificate when someone dies. How you get copies depends on whether the person died in the U.S. or abroad.

Death in the U.S.: How to Get a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate

Contact the vital records office of the state where the death occurred to learn:

(Video) To change your birth certificate, you need to obtain a legal name change

  • How to order a certified copy of a death certificate online, by mail, or in person
  • How to get a copy fast
  • The cost for each certified copy

You will need to know the date and place of death. The state may also ask for other details about the person, how you are related to them, or why you want the certificate.

When to Use a Certified Copy or a Photocopy

You will need to purchase a certified copy of the death certificate for tasks such as:

  • Notifying the Social Security Administration and other government agencies
  • Closing or transferring credit cards and bank accounts
  • Claiming a person’s life insurance or pension

You may only need a photocopy for other tasks, such as canceling a subscription. Check with the agency or organization handling each account.

Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad: How to Get Death Records

When a U.S. citizen dies in another country, the U.S. embassy or consulate should get a death certificate or notification from the foreign government. It will then issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRDA). Use the CRDA in the U.S. as proof of death for closing accounts and handling legal tasks.

  • You can get up to 20 certified copies at the time of death for free.

Divorce Decrees and Certificates

A divorce decree is an official document from the court that grants the termination of a marriage. It includes specific details of the divorce.

A divorce certificate is issued by a state vital records office. It shows that a divorce occurred but not allthe same information as a divorce decree. You can save time and money by determining which document you need before requesting a copy.

U.S. Divorces

How to Get a Copy of a Divorce Decree

Contact the "county clerk's office" or "clerk of the court" for the county or citywhere the divorce occurred.

How to Get a Copy of a Divorce Certificate

Contact thevital records officeof the state where the divorce occurred.

Overseas Divorces

If the divorce occurred in another country and you're in the U.S., contactthat country's embassy or nearest consulate. They can tell you how to get a copy of the divorce decree.

United States law does not require U.S. citizens to register a foreign divorce decree at an embassy. But if thecountry in which your divorce took placeis a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Authentication of Documents, you may bring your divorce decree to a U.S. embassy or consulate to have it certified.

How to Find Adoption Records

Once an adoption is finalized, the state seals all records to protect the privacy of all involved parties. To obtain adoption records, adopted persons must make arrangements through state agencies. Find out what records are available and how to obtain them.

Contact a State Agency to Obtain Adoption Records

You may be able to get identifying or non-identifying information about your adoption. What information you can obtain will depend on state statutes. Some states have age restrictions or require court proceedings to get information about an adoptee’s birth.

(Video) BIRTH CERTIFICATE HOW TO ORDER

Non-identifying information includes:

  • The adoptee’s birth date and place of birth
  • The birth parents’:
    • Ages
    • Physical descriptions
    • Race
    • Religion
    • Medical history
    • Education
    • Occupations
  • Siblings’ gender, age, and other non-identifying information depending on the state
  • The reason why the child was put up for adoption

Identifying information includes:

  • Current or past names
  • Addresses
  • Employment history

By searching the Child Welfare Information Gateway, you can find out which state agency to contact to get adoption records.

Access Adoption Records Through Consent

In some states, you may be able to access identifying information through a mutual consent registry. Using these registries, all involved in an adoption can declare what information may be disclosed. Some states may require the consent of both the birth parents and adoptive parents for the release of records. However, the release of information varies by state.

If your state does not maintain a mutual consent registry, there are other ways to obtain records through consent. Public or private agencies can locate birth parents in some states. When an agency contacts birth parents, they can find out identifying information through:

  • Confidential Intermediary System ‐ The court gives permission to a court-certified confidential intermediary. This permission grants them access to sealed adoption records. They can also contact the birth parents to obtain consent for the release of identifying information.
  • Affidavit System - Birth parents can officially file their consent or refusal to be identified or contacted.

Use the Child Welfare Information Gateway to find out about how your state allows access to your adoption records.

Obtain an Original Birth Certificate

When an adoption is finalized, the state issues a new birth certificate to the adoptive parents. The adoptee’s original birth certificate is then sealed and kept confidential by the state’s vital records department. Half the states in the U.S. require a court order to unseal an original birth certificate. However, many states allow access to original birth certificates through:

  • A request from the adult adoptee
  • A request by the adoptee unless the birth parent filed an affidavit denying access
  • Establishment of eligibility to obtain identifying information with the state
  • A record of consent from both birth parents

Find out how to obtain original birth certificates in different states.

Obtain International Adoption Records

When either the adoptee or the birth parents live outside the U.S., International Social Service USA (ISS-USA) can help both search for one another. The organization offers assistance with adoption-related cases in over 120 countries.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has forms that can assist with international adoptions. Form G-884 can be used to request original immigration documents.

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(Video) Order Your Vital Records From Home

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Last Updated: July 8, 2022

FAQs

How do I replace my US birth certificate? ›

Contact the vital records office in the state or territory where you were born to get a copy of your birth certificate. Follow the instructions for requesting copies and paying fees. If you need a copy fast, ask about expedited service or shipping when you place your order.

Are replacement birth certificates valid? ›

It is a valid legal document the same as your original birth certificate.

Can you get a birth certificate the same day in PA? ›

You may need to prove your relation to the person you're requesting a certificate for. It costs $20 per certificate. If you apply online or by mail, the process takes 2-3 weeks. If you apply in person, you can get it the same day.

What do I need to get a copy of my birth certificate in Missouri? ›

If requesting the birth certificate copy in person, have a valid driver's license, state identification card, or other acceptable government issued photo identification. Your address on photo identification and your address on the application (copy request form) must match.

Can I get a copy of my US birth certificate online? ›

You can get a certified copy of your birth certificate online or by visiting the birth certificate office where the person on record was born. Ordering your birth certificate online is the easiest way to order birth records.

How can I prove US citizenship without birth certificate? ›

Primary (Stand-Alone) Evidence of Citizenship
  1. U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card, current or expired (issued without limitation).
  2. Certificate of U.S. Citizenship. Form N-560. ...
  3. Certificate of Naturalization. Forms N-550, N-570.
  4. Documentary evidence issued by a federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native tribe.

Can I use birth certificate as ID? ›

Birth certificates are not evidence of identity, and are easily obtained. Although certificates issued at the time of birth may give more confidence that it belongs to the individual, unlike a recently issued certificate, they will not show if any information has been corrected or superseded by a new registration.

Do you need original birth certificate for passport? ›

You must send original documents. Photocopies are not accepted. If you do not have your original certificates (for example, your birth certificate), you need to get an official copy.

What is the difference between a birth certificate and a certified copy of an entry? ›

A certified copy of an entry is the proper name for a “full” or “long form” certificate. Despite being known as a “birth certificate” (or “adoption certificate”), at the top it will merely say “Certified Copy of an Entry”.

What is the quickest you can get a birth certificate? ›

It typically takes 4 to 8 weeks to receive your certified birth certificate copy in the mail. If you need your replacement sooner, premium services such as VitalRecordsOnline.com offer a Rush Package with expedited shipping. Some states may even be able to provide a copy within 2-3 business days.

How do I get my pa birth certificate from ASAP? ›

If you need a birth certificate quickly, make your request in person at one of our six Vital Records Branch Offices or online at mycertificates.health.pa.gov. See our Processing Times for current processing times for applications placed online, by telephone or by mail.

How long does it take to replace a birth certificate in Pennsylvania? ›

Requests to Modify a Birth Record

Child (Age 1 Year to Less Than 7 Years Old): Approximately 30 weeks. Child (Age 7 Years to Less Than 14 Years Old): Approximately 26 weeks. Child (Age 14 Years to Less Than 18 Years Old): Approximately 44 weeks. Adult (Age 18 Years Old and Above): Approximately 44 weeks.

How much does it cost to replace a birth certificate in Missouri? ›

The Vital Records Office can provide certified copies of Missouri birth certificates for $15.00 each with a cash, check, credit card (authorized signature required), or money order payment. Birth certificates are available for most births of 1920 to present. The birth certificate copy will be printed while you wait.

Where can I find US birth records for free? ›

National Vital Records Archives: https://www.archives.gov/research/vital-records.
...
Where To Find Public Birth Records
  • State Department of Public Health where the event was recorded (you can check here where to write for vital records)
  • Genealogy websites like Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org.

Does a social security card count as proof of citizenship? ›

If it is not possible to provide the required birth certificate, then an applicant must submit several forms of secondary evidence. A social security card is not considered adequate proof of citizenship.

What documents can be used as proof of US citizenship? ›

Proof of U.S. citizenship: You must either provide your most recently issued passport, an original U.S. birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240), a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship. You must also have photo identification.

What happens if I lost my US citizenship certificate? ›

If you need a Certificate of Naturalization, you may request a replacement by filing form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. You may request Form N-565 by calling the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Forms Line (800) 870-3676 or download via link.

How do I prove my identity? ›

Acceptable Documents for Identity Verification
  1. State identification (ID) card.
  2. Driver license.
  3. US passport or passport card.
  4. US military card (front and back)
  5. Military dependent's ID card (front and back)
  6. Permanent Resident Card.
  7. Certificate of Citizenship.
  8. Certificate of Naturalization.

What are legally accepted proof of age documents? ›

Acceptable forms of ID to prove you are over 18 include:

A photo driving licence. A passport. A proof of age card, such as the PASS card from the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme.

What can be used as photo ID? ›

Types
  • Passports, or Passport cards.
  • Driver's licenses, or state ID cards for non-drivers, issued by a state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Company-issued ID cards.
  • Native tribal cards.

What is the alternative of birth certificate for passport? ›

School leaving/Matriculation/ Transfer Certificate - The applicant can use either the college/university transfer certificate, school leaving certificate or the matriculation certificate to fulfil the requirement for proof of D.O.B. provided the certificate contains the D.O.B. of the applicant.

Which birth certificate do I send for passport? ›

their full birth certificate, or adoption certificate (the one with their parents' details on) proof your child has British nationality, e.g. British registration certificate or parent's passport or birth certificates.

What supporting documents do I need for a passport? ›

Proof of identity, proof of address and photo (all applicants)
  • a passport.
  • a valid driving licence (This cannot be used as both proof of address and proof of ID)
  • a birth/adoption or marriage/divorce certificate.
  • a civil partnership/dissolution certificate.

Is a certified copy as good as original? ›

Is the True Copy legally recognised? Yes, it is. A certified true copy issued by the concerned registrar or sub-registrar's office is as good as the original document.

Is a certified copy of an entry an original birth certificate? ›

An original Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth (which is the official name for a replacement original birth certificate) is fully accepted by the passport office. This is what is referred to as an Original Birth Certificate, and what is supplied by Vital Certificates.

What is a certified true copy of birth certificate? ›

An individual requesting for certification that the records are still existing and attest to the fact that the documents presented by the subject are authentic.

How can I see my birth certificate online? ›

How can I check my birth certificate online or not? Yes you can check birth certificate online you visite www.verify.bdris.gov.bd then you get a form enter your birth certificate registration number. then enter your official date of birth. everify.bdris.gov.bd website show you your birth certificate online.

How long does a birth certificate take to come through? ›

Payment of fee does not guarantee that a Duplicate Birth Certificate will be issued. The processing time is between 2-6 months.

How much is a duplicate birth certificate in PA? ›

Pennsylvania (PA) Birth Certificate Processing Times

In Pennsylvania, birth certificate requests are processed within $20. There are peak request periods, and it is possible that during these periods, the order takes longer to process.

How long does it take to get a new birth certificate in Missouri? ›

The standard mail-in request processing time takes approximately 8-12 weeks, while telephone and online orders through VitalChek take 5-7 business days.

› Birth Certificate ›

Obtain your Pennsylvania Birth Certificates Online & all Vital Records for passport, Visa, Employment, Driver's licence. New Birth Certificate, Replace ...

Birth Certificates

https://www.health.pa.gov › topics › certificates › Pages
https://www.health.pa.gov › topics › certificates › Pages
This guide will explain the process for requesting or correcting a birth certificate along with links, fees and exclusions, and frequently asked questions.
​Most people understand that their birth certificate is an important document—but it's also true that many of us don't own one. Why is this? In a lot of...

How much does it cost to replace US citizenship certificate? ›

$555. If you file your Form N-565 online, you may pay your fee online. If you file your Form N-565 by mail (paper), you may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, cashier's check, or by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

How much is a replacement birth certificate in NY? ›

Fees
ORDER TYPEFEES (per copy)
Online or Phone Orders$45 + $8 vendor processing fee per transaction (not per copy)
Walk-in Orders$45
Mail Orders$30

How can I see my birth certificate online? ›

How can I check my birth certificate online or not? Yes you can check birth certificate online you visite www.verify.bdris.gov.bd then you get a form enter your birth certificate registration number. then enter your official date of birth. everify.bdris.gov.bd website show you your birth certificate online.

What is a certified copy of a birth certificate USA? ›

A certified copy is a copy from a state agency that shows that it is a correct copy of the original and can be used for legal purposes like applying for a passport or a name change.

What happens if I lost my US citizenship certificate? ›

If you need a Certificate of Naturalization, you may request a replacement by filing form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. You may request Form N-565 by calling the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Forms Line (800) 870-3676 or download via link.

How long does it take to get a replacement US citizenship certificate? ›

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REPLACE A CITIZENSHIP DOCUMENT? After filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document, your N-565 processing time can take anywhere from 5 to 8 months. This is an approximation. It may be shorter for some and longer for others.

Can I use a copy of my Naturalization certificate to get a passport? ›

You may use a normal photocopy of your certificate for legitimate U.S. government business. For example, when you apply for a U.S. passport, you must submit the original Certificate of Naturalization, and you should also submit a normal photocopy that has not been authenticated.

How do I get a replacement birth certificate in NY? ›

The Health Department issues birth certificates for all people who are born in New York City. You can order a certificate online, by mail or in person. We recommend ordering online through VitalChek, which is the fastest way to receive your certificate.

How do you get a replacement birth certificate in NY? ›

You can order a birth certificate for yourself or your child online. If you need a birth certificate for any other person, you must request it by mail or in person at the Office of Vital Records. Order a birth certificate for yourself or your child online through VitalChek.

How long does it take to get a duplicate birth certificate in NY? ›

If you are requesting a priority handling, you must include a money order or certified bank check for $15. Processing time for mailed in applications typically takes a week to two weeks unless same day processing is requested. If you request expedited processing your order will be processed within 2 to 3 days.

How do I find my 17 digit birth certificate number? ›

Or, to solve this problem is to go to the union council or municipality office with your handwritten birth registration certificate and request to find out 17 digit birth registration number. If your Birth Registration data is not found in the database or online. Request them to add your birth registration again.

How can I know my birth certificate number? ›

You can generally find your birth certificate number in the top right-hand corner of your birth certificate copy.
...
Birth Certificate Number
  1. 3-digit area code number.
  2. 2-digit year of registration (usually the year of birth)
  3. 6-digit serial registration number (assigned sequentially)

How can I find the date of birth of someone? ›

How to Find Someone's Birth Date - YouTube

Is a state birth certificate the same as a US birth certificate? ›

The state-issued birth certificate document typically looks very different from the Standard Certificate of Live Birth form. It is usually more formal-looking, printed on thicker paper with the issuing state, county, or municipality's name and seal clearly visible.

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