How to register a birth and get your baby's Birth Certificate

The birth of a child is often one of the happiest times in a person’s life. When parents welcome a child into this world, they are probably not thinking about their baby’s birth certificate or to register their birth. However, it is really important to register a newborn and get their birth certificate.

According to the U.S. government a person’s birth certificate is “the most important document you’ll need to prove your legal identity and age”. At the same time, it’s a good opportunity to get your child’s social security number.

A birth certificate is necessary to obtain several other documents. A birth certificate is required to apply for a passport, government benefits, enroll in school, join the military, claim a pension or insurance benefits among many others. A birth certificate will not only be useful, but necessary in your child’s future.


Table of contents

  1. Certificate of Live Birth vs. Birth Certificate
  2. When will you get the physical copy of your child’s Birth Certificate
  3. How to get a newborn's Birth Certificate

Certificate of Live Birth VS Birth Certificate

At this moment, the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth looks like an application. The information required by the application includes full name, time and date of birth, the place of birth, and information about the parents of the child.

There’s an important difference between the birth certificate and the certificate of live birth. The Certificate of Live Birth is an unofficial draft that indicates when a mother gives birth to a child. When the information about a newborn’s is complete, this will be sent to the Office of Vital Records or state register to created the official birth certificate. The hospital usually assists the mother or parents with the forms and sometimes it will send the paperwork directly.

Obtain a copy of your baby's Birth Certificate

How to get a newborn’s Birth Certificate

Now that we have established how important a birth certificate for a baby is, we’re going to address how to get one for your newborn. Regardless of whether your child is scheduled to be born on a specific date or you are surprised with an unexpected delivery, you should carry your personal identification in order to register your child’s birth.

Usually, if you give birth at a hospital, they will provide you with the necessary forms before you are discharge to go home. Most often, a nurse or midwife will offer her assistance in completing the baby’s birth certificate form. If you have programed the birth at home or in a birthing center, a midwife generally has the required forms on hand.

You must complete the certificate of live birth and the birth certificate application. Note that most hospitals are required to register a birth within five to ten days after a baby is born. Following this registration, it can take up to 30 days on average for the birth to be fully registered with the local department of vital records.

When completing the form for the baby’s birth certificate both parents should provide information including their social security numbers, full name, maiden name, and a mailing address. Parents should have proof of identification, a driver’s license or a passport are both valid.

When will you get the physical copy of your child’s Birth Certificate

The time that it takes to get a physical copy of your baby’s birth certificate might vary from county to county. Generally, it ranges from a week or two to up to a month. Your vital records office can inform you about the waiting time. You can also call the local office to learn when you will be able to get the physical copy of your child’s birth certificate.

Once all of the paperwork has been filled out and mailed the physical birth certificate should arrive in the mail. Usually, the hospital will assist you with sending the paperwork to the vital records office. The format of the birth certificate that you get in the mail is determined by where you live. While there is one standard birth certificate application form for the U.S., there’s not a standard birth certificate physical document. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that there are 14,000 different birth certificate documents in the country.

Each state will determine the rules for their birth certificates. Each state has its own vital records office. Each state is responsible for keeping a birth registry and reporting annual vital statistics data to the federal government. Vital records offices have to keep track of births and work with parents to issue the birth certificates of their children.

As a new parent, keep in mind that after your child is born you should consider getting their social security number too. The social security number is the federal government’s way of identifying a person. Your child will need a social security number in order for you to claim child-related tax breaks on your income taxes. You also need this number if you wish to ad your child to your health insurance plan, set up a college plan or a bank account for your child. Besides the baby’s birth certificate, get the social security number too.