How to Get Your Birth Certificate in the Mail

Birth certificates are often needed for obtaining licenses, getting government benefits and registering for school. While many people turn to the Internet to order additional or replacement birth certificates, ordering your birth certificate in the mail can save a lot of money and is easy once you know who to contact and what information you need to provide.

How to Get Your Birth Certificate in the Mail

Contact the vital records department of the state and/or county in which you were born. They will be able to mail you a copy of the form needed to officially request a copy of your birth certificate. Mailing this form is usually free and, if you have Internet access, these forms can often be printed at home.

Complete the birth certificate request form. This form will ask you for details regarding your birth, including your parents' names (mother's maiden name is needed). Most states also require someone who is requesting his birth certificate to sign documents verifying that he has the authority to obtain the birth certificate in question. Only you or your authorized representatives (including lawyers and often parents) can legally order a copy of your birth certificate.

Obtain certified funds to mail for processing and mailing fees. The majority of local governments will not accept cash, personal checks, or even debit/credit cards. Money orders and cashier's checks are often the only forms of payment accepted. Banks provide account holders with either cashier's checks or money orders for little or no fee. Postal money orders require small fees.

Some state governments will accept debit or credit cards by phone. If debit or credit cards are accepted, they usually must be in your name.

Double-check all forms to avoid delays. Failure to include a valid mailing address for the requested birth certificate can result in extreme delays. Sign and initial all forms to avoid getting the forms sent back to you with instructions for corrections.

Mail all forms and fees to the appropriate government vital records department. Allow three to five business days before calling to verify receipt and ask when you can expect your birth certificate in the mail. You usually have to wait seven to 10 business days for receipt.