If you are a US citizen in need of an urgent copy of a US birth certificate for a deadline-driven task such as enrolling in school or obtaining social benefits, you must be wondering:
- How long it takes to get a birth certificate
- How to obtain an overnight certified birth certificate
- How to get an official birth certificate issued the same day
Before we go into the fastest way to get a US birth certificate issued step by step, it is important to clarify the reasons why a birth certificate application may be delayed. That way, an applicant can avoid these setbacks and get their legally-valid birth certificate issued on the first try.
How to Avoid Rejected or Delayed Birth Certificate Applications
There are multiple situations that can cause your birth certificate application to take much longer than necessary to be processed. If your birth certificate was lost or stolen, you will need to be mindful of the following in order to get your document issued fast and reduce unnecessary setbacks.
Errors on a birth certificate application
Mistakes, typos, and inconsistencies in the data entered on a birth certificate application form more often than not result in rejected applications. This means that an applicant will have paid the issuance fees and waited for the necessary processing time (and sometimes shipping time as well) only to have their birth certificate request refused.
The best way to prevent this and save unnecessary setbacks is to carefully reread all the data you have entered in your birth certificate replacement application and then have an expert review your application before you submit it.
Your birth certificate application form will be verified and returned to you mistake-free in under 24 hours with personalized instructions that will help you obtain your vital record.
Whether you choose to submit your birth certificate request online, via mail, or in person at the vital records office of your choice, you will have the confidence that your application will be filled.
Incomplete birth certificate applications
Other reasons that may delay your birth certificate application being processed is presenting your request with missing documents. Incomplete applications cannot be filled, so making sure you present the appropriate identification documents, clearly photocopied on both sides, also helps ensure your request is processed directly.
Rejected applications due to missing or incorrect documentation can be easily avoided by following our personalized instructions once you receive your revised complete application package.
Incorrect vital records office
Another situation that often results in birth certificate applications being delayed or refused is applying at the wrong vital records office. It is essential to submit a birth certificate request to the vital records office in the state where the birth was registered.
That said, choosing the right office, amongst those in the appropriate state, can make a difference in birth certificate turnaround time as well.
The Quickest Way To Get a US Birth Certificate
Here is a quick step-by-step to get a birth certificate issued in record time:
- Fill out a birth certificate application —our experts will verify it and provide you with a mistake-free application package
- Print, sign and pack your birth certificate application package with the appropriate fees as well as clear photocopies of the acceptable government-issued photo identification documents, as per our personalized instructions
- Submit your application by mail, where rush service is available (details below) or in-person, where walk-in same-day birth certificate issuance is available**.
Fast mail-in birth certificate application
A few states, including Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota, as well as the District of Columbia, have rush service available wherein birth certificates can be issued either on the next business day or within 1 to 3 business days. Then, birth certificates are shipped back overnight to the applicant by expedited courier service for an additional fee.
Some states that issue same-day or next-day birth certificates may require applicants to submit proof of urgency. Call the bureau to ask whether this is necessary and make sure to send in the adequate documentation to support your urgent birth certificate request.
Make sure to include a self-addressed stamped expedited envelope for the agency to be able to quickly return your birth certificate once it is issued. Using a trusted express shipping service allows you to not only receive your birth certificate faster but also to track the envelope until it safely reaches your door.
Although the state vital records office may be closer to your place of residence, certain smaller local bureaus may have shorter waiting times. This could be due to a lower number of birth certificate requests or other factors, so do check city offices or county recorders first.
Getting your birth certificate in person
States such as Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, amongst others, offer same-day walk-in birth certificate issuance.
Quick birth certificates can be issued on the spot or in a few hours if you:
- Arrive sufficiently early within office hours and are willing to patiently wait in line
- Are eligible to obtain the birth certificate
- Carry all the necessary documents —including correctly filled-out birth certificate application form, acceptable photo identification as well as clear photocopies of the necessary IDs
- Pay the appropriate fees in a payment form acceptable by the bureau —some offices do not accept credit cards
- Are requesting a birth record that is stored on-site —some may be stored in a separate location, which would lengthen the processing time
It is advisable to contact the local health department in the county where the birth occurred to get information on service hours, current turnaround time and walk-in service availability.
Obtain a US Passport Overnight or on the Same Day
Follow these steps to quickly have a new passport issued or to renew your passport in the United States of America:
- Make an appointment at the Regional Passport Agency for the following day —you may have to inquire at more than one office to find the earliest available slot
- Download and fill out Form DS-82 for a passport renewal or Form DS-11 for a first-time passport from the Passport, Applications, and Forms section of travel.state.gov
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to your appointment carrying the form, passport photos, old passport (if renewing), government-issued identification document, fees (expedited fee applicable for urgent passport issuance), and proof of urgency (flight tickets will suffice)
For more information on how to apply for a passport, read our quick guide on birth certificate requirements to obtain a passport.