Why do I need a birth certificate?

A birth certificate is the very first personal identification any one of us has. It will be used for the rest of our lives to establish our name, gender, citizenship, and birth family ties. You must have a birth certificate to achieve some of life’s biggest milestones, for example:

  • Enrolling in school.
  • Signing up for youth sports activities.
  • Getting a Social Security card, driver’s license, or passport.
  • Proving citizenship for a job or another reason.
  • Qualifying for state or federal public assistance or benefits.

You might also be asked to provide a birth certificate when you:

  • Get a marriage license.
  • Open a bank account or get a loan.
  • Apply for insurance.

Who fills out a birth certificate?

The birth mother’s doctor, midwife, or hospital is responsible for registering the birth with the proper government agency. There are two types of certificates:

  1. Short form or card: Includes the name, birth date and place, registration date and number, issue date, certificate number, and registrar’s signature. Important: The short form may not be accepted when applying for a passport.

  2. Long form: A document covering more detail about the newborn, parents’ full names (including mother’s maiden name) and signatures, and an official raised stamp or seal. Important: To avoid delays, it is a good idea to use the long form when applying for a passport.

Who says I have to have a birth certificate?

The federal government requires birth certificates to be issued to establish proof of American citizenship. Each U.S. state carries out the certification process and maintains its own birth registry. While states collect the same basic information, there may be differences in additional information they collect or how the certificates look.

In Texas, the Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit maintains birth records as well as other vital records such as death certificates and marriage and divorce verifications.

I need a copy of my birth certificate fast! What do I do?

Pro Courier Services can get your birth certificate to you within 24 hours, if you make contact before noon, Monday through Friday. Get started now!

Beginning April 1, 2011, all birth certificates must also include the full names of the applicant's parent(s). The US State Department has paid close attention to abstract certificates from both Texas and California. There have been reports of a high instance of midwife registration fraud along the border region between Texas and Mexico, and the Texas abstract certificate form does not list the name or occupation of the attendant.

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