Informational Birth Certificate definition

An informational birth certificate is a specific type of document that is usually easier to obtain than certified copies of birth certificates and can be used for different purposes.

Laws regulating birth certificates are under state jurisdiction. This means that the type of birth certificate you need and whether you are eligible to obtain it depends on the state that issues it — in other words, it depends on the place where the birth recorded on the document occurred.

The same can be said of other types of vital records like death or marriage certificates.

On this page, you will find general information and advice to help you figure out what an informational birth certificate is and how to obtain one.

What Is an Informational Birth Certificate?

An informational copy (also known as uncertified copy) of a birth certificate is a document that includes some essential data on the person whose birth is being recorded, such as:

  • The full name
  • The state and county/city where the person was born
  • The date of the birth

Often, informational birth certificates also present a stamp across the face of the document stating that it is an informational copy.

Again, the specific information included in an uncertified copy of a birth certificate depends on the State Health Department that issued it.

What Is the Difference between an Authorized and Informational Birth Certificate?

There are 2 main differences between informational and official birth certificates:

  • The purpose(s) for which they can be used
  • The individuals who can request them

Uses of a birth certificate: informational copy and official birth certificate

An informational copy of a birth certificate cannot legally establish the identity, age, or citizenship of its holder. Therefore, it cannot be used for the legal purposes covered by official birth certificates.

However, it can be used to carry out historical or genealogical research. Some states, like Texas, also issue informational birth certificates as heirloom copies so that they can be requested to celebrate a person’s life and state pride.

On the other hand, a certified copy of a birth certificate is a legal document and is necessary in several circumstances that require proof of identity and/or citizenship such as:

  • Applying for government benefits
  • Enrolling in a U.S. school
  • Signing up for the military
  • Obtaining a U.S. driver’s license, passport, and other forms of ID

Who Can Obtain an Informational Birth Certificate?

Since they are not considered legal documents, informational copies of birth certificates are easier to obtain than authorized copies.

In most states, to be able to obtain an official birth certificate, the applicant must prove to be:

  • The person whose birth is recorded on the certificate
  • An immediate family member or guardian
  • A legal representative of the certificate holder
  • An employee of a government agency on official business

Those who are not eligible to obtain an official certificate — like distant relatives or researchers — can usually apply for an informational copy.