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How to Replace a Lost Birth Certificate

Updated on September 28, 2013

When you need to replace a birth certificate that has been lost you will still need proper identification. If the case is that you have lost all of your identification or records than you will have to start with replacing a driver’s license or social security card. It is very hard to start from scratch but if you still have other forms of identification it shouldn't be too difficult to obtain your new birth certificate.

Professional Services

There are many companies that will get a copy of your birth certificate for you for a fee. You will want to read all of the information before you sign anything or give them any money though.

Many times you will see where it cost only $20 to get the certificate, but then as you read on there is another fee for the county where you were born and a very high fee for postage. There can be other hidden costs too and you’ll end up paying over $100 for the birth certificate. Make sure you are happy with the agreement first and then go ahead with the rest of the arrangements. You also want to be wary of scams. You should always check the business out with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had any complaints. You can also Google the name and if they've scammed anyone it will most likely show up there. Ever since Katrina there have been many scams to take advantage of the disaster and the people who lived through it. It is a shame that we have to watch out for this kind of thing, but we do.

Contacting the County Where You Were Born

The best way to find out if you can replace your birth certificate is to call the county where you were born. There are different offices in various counties that handle this. You may want the Registrar’s office or the Office of Vital Statistics. You may also find that they are held in the counties record room. Call the county Courthouse and ask which office handles birth certificates. In some cases they will direct you further to the township. Once you find the correct office, ask them how to go about retrieving a birth certificate. They will give you a list of information that they need. Sometimes you will be able to fax them the information and sometimes they want it sent in the mail.

Most Common Information Requested

If you are going to get a birth certificate for yourself you will need photo identification, most likely a driver’s license. One thing you will want to make sure of is that your identification address matches the address where you live or are asking them to mail the certificate to. If it doesn't it will raise a red flag with them and you will probably not get the certificate. They will want a letter of request if you are not there in person. In this letter you will need to state your name and date of birth. They will also want your mother’s maiden name and your father’s name. You will need to bring cash or a money order; the fee will differ in each location.

If you are sending the information by mail you will need to include your phone number and a self addressed stamped envelope. It normally takes from two to four weeks to get the birth certificate back from them. If you are trying to replace a child’s birth certificate or another family member they will want more information to prove you have the right to obtain the certificate, such as your birth and marriage certificate or a court order of custody. They will not release a birth certificate to just anyone asking for one.

Certificate of Birth for a United States Citizen Born Abroad

When a child is born to U. S. citizen abroad they need to report it as soon as possible to the nearest American Counsular’s Office. This establishes the official record of the child’s claim to United States citizenship. The official record is called Counsular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America. It is referred to as the Counsular Report of Birth or form FS-240. The original FS-240 is given to the parents when they have the registration approved.

The application for registration must be made at the American counsular’s office overseas before the child is 18. One of the documents that need to be included in the application is the official record of the foreign birth of the child. Because this form is proof of United States citizenship and you needed your foreign birth certificate to get it, it will normally be sufficient for anyone requesting to see your birth certificate. However, you can still contact the State Department to find out if they have a copy of your foreign birth certificate.

If you need to replace your Counsular Report of Birth you need to send a written request to: Vital Records Section, Passport Services, 1111 19th St., NW, Suite 510, Washington DC, 20522-1705. In this request you must include the full name of child at birth and adoptive names, date and place of birth, name of parents and the serial number of the original FS-240 if you know it. You must also include any available passport information, signature of the person requesting the information and a notarized affidavit for the replacement. The fee is $30 and must be a check or money order made from a United States bank to the “Department of State”. You must be the subject of the document or the parent of the person on the document. You may also be a guardian or a government agency requesting the document. You can go online to to check for foreign birth certificates. They don’t have every country but they do have quite a few.


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