What Is a Certified Birth Certificate and Why Do You Need One?

A certified New York birth certificate is an official record that is needed to require proof of personal identification. In order to be used by government agencies, it needs to be certified and official, and not a photocopy or informational birth certificate.

Many new parents are given a copy of the birth certificate in the hospital, which can sometimes include the child’s footprints. This is not valid for proof of identity but instead can serve as a keepsake for them. The original form of your birth certificate is under lock and key at the record agency office after it is submitted for registration by the hospital. Technically, there is only one original copy. When you request a birth certificate from an official government agency or through a company that you can order one from, you are getting an official copy.

Only those who are related to the person named on the birth certificate, or the actual person named, can request a copy of a certified birth certificate. Those who don’t meet the requirements to request a certified copy can request an informational birth certificate. An informational birth certificate can be used for genealogy or for family history, but it won’t be useful for any legal reason.

What Makes It Certified?

A certified birth certificate should include an official seal. The registrar will notarize it and it will have the state, county or city registrar’s information on it. You will find the full name of the individual and the place of the birth. Birth certificates that are used to apply for passports need to include the full names of the parents as well.

Why Do You Need It?

Only a certified copy can be used for official identification. If you need a New York birth certificate for any reason, including registering in school, marriage, international travel, or getting a Social Security card, you will need a certified copy and not an informational one.

When ordering your certificate, make sure you give the specific reasons why you need it to make sure that it’s certified and is the right copy for your needs.

Can You Use a Photocopy?

If you have an official certified copy of a New York birth certificate, a regular photocopy won’t do for proving identity. A certified copy is needed to help prevent identity theft. If the birth certificate fell in the wrong hands, photocopies could be distributed much easier than the actual document.

Make sure you have a certified copy on hand because you never know when you are going to need it. If you need to obtain a passport, make sure you build in enough time in the process to get a copy of your birth certificate if you don’t have it already.