How Long Does it Take to Get a Birth Certificate?

The birth certificate is an essential document that allows us to prove our identity. A birth certificate is often needed when we need to obtain a passport, a drivers’ license, register a child in school, and much more. However if you need one urgently you might be wondering: how long does it take to get a birth certificate?

There are a few options available, but bear in mind that you will need to get a certified copy of the birth certificate. Informational birth certificates are not accepted for official purposes. Below we explain the different ways that you can get a birth certificate and how long it will take you to get it.

Picking up your birth certificate in person might be one of the quickest ways available. However, this depends on a few factors. You would need to go to the vital records office where the birth was registered. If you don’t live in the state where you were born, then probably going in person will consume more of your time and will be more costly as well.

Going in person to the vital records office will work to your advantage if you live in the state or county where the birth certificate was issued. Though, bear in mind that to order and pick up your birth certificate you might need to wait in line and the speed at which you get the birth certificate will depend on how busy your vital records office is. The positive aspect of this option is that you may get the birth certificate on the same day.

Getting your birth certificate online

The simplest way to get an official birth certificate is to order a copy online. You will need a few essential details to request your birth certificate or your child’s, including the full name, place and date of birth. The online process of ordering a birth certificate will take you around 10 minutes.

Once you have ordered a birth certificate online, the times it takes for the vital records office to process your request will vary depending on your city, county or state of birth.

Generally speaking, it will take from 4 to 8 weeks between the day you order the certificate and the day you receive it. The certified copy of your birth certificate will be sent by mail. Please check birth certificates processing times for detailed information.

For people who need to get a copy of their birth certificate as soon as possible, there is a rush service available. This is a service offered to expedite a birth certificate. The service carries an additional fee but in many states, the birth certificate will be processed within 5 business days.

Shipping options when ordering online

If you have decided to order the copy of your birth certificate online, you can choose between different shipping options. If you need it with urgency, instead of first class mail, you have the option of selecting express shipping, like UPS Air, for an extra fee. Not only will you get the certificate faster, but express shipping offers more security. You’ll be able to track the status of your certificate until it arrives. However, do note that if you choose express shipping, you will need to sign for it when it is delivered.

In case that you are not in a rush, the certified birth certificate is shipped using first class mail and it can take up to 10 days before you receive your order. You won’t be able to track it in the same way you would with express shipping.

Eligibility to order a birth certificate

If you are not ordering a birth certificate for yourself, you need to determine whether you are eligible to request it on another person’s behalf. The person who is named on the birth certificate can request a copy at any time. The person listed as a parent on the certificate may also request a copy. A wife, husband or child of the birth certificate holder might be able to request a birth certificate through state court, but they will need to provide an explanation for it as well as documents that prove their identity and relationship.

Read more: What is a rush service for Vital Records