Virginia birth certificates are overseen by the Division of Vital Records under the state Department of Health (VDH). As a vital record, residents must retain a copy of their certificate of birth in case they need to present it when applying for a job, traveling abroad or when applying for a Virginia drivers license. Even though a birth record is not a document that residents use regularly, a certified birth certificate is an essential record that residents should replace if stolen or lost. Fortunately, customers can order a certified birth certificate in Virginia by mailing a request for a replacement birth certificate to the Division of Vital Records, by applying in person or by ordering records online here. For additional information on birth records and how to obtain a duplicate of birth certificate documents, review the information below.
What is a Virginia birth certificate?
A Virginia certificate of birth is a government-issued vital record that documents the birth of a baby. An original birth certificate displays the full name, age, race and sex of the child, as well as the ages and names of the child’s parents. However, a birth certificate is more than a special keepsake for the child and his or her parents. While hospitals or midwives often provide parents with a keepsake birth document after a child is born, original VA birth certificates are printed on security paper and contain an official government seal. These official certificates of birth serve as proof of identity during situations such as the following:
- Applying for a job
- Obtaining a U.S. passport
- Applying for a Virginia driving license or identification card
- Applying for government benefits (including unemployment insurance)
- Enrolling a child in school
- Obtaining a marriage license
- Requesting a duplicate Social Security card
Since a birth certificate form is an important legal document that contains personal and sensitive information, residents can only order birth certificate copies from trusted sources. To easily apply for a birth certificate in Virginia, residents may order a birth certificate copy online here.
The Importance of Ordering a Duplicate Birth Certificate in Virginia
If residents lose, misplace or damage their Virginia birth certificates, then it is important that they apply for a copy of birth certificate records as soon as possible. Failure to replace birth certificates as soon as they sustain damages or go missing may result in unexpected delays when residents need to prove their legal identity, apply for a job or enroll in school. However, customers can avoid delays by ordering a replacement birth record as soon as the incident occurs. Furthermore, reasons to obtain a copy of a birth certificate may include the following:
- The original birth document requires a name change.
- The current certificate of birth contains a spelling error.
- Residents undergo gender reassignment surgery and wish to update their birth records to reflect their new gender and/or name change.
- A certified birth certificate is needed.
- The original birth record requires an amendment due to adoption or paternity establishment.
If residents need to obtain birth certificate documents or modify the information on their current documentation, then they can conveniently get a copy of birth records here.
How to Obtain Virginia Birth Certificates
Whether applicants need to order a duplicate Virginia birth record, change the name on their original birth record or obtain a certified copy for legal purposes, they may complete the process using one of three different methods. As such, customers can order a certified birth certificate in person at the Office of Vital Records, by mail or they may order a birth record online.
Note: Only certain family members can obtain birth certificates for others. These family members include parents or legal guardians (with proof of custody papers), spouses, children, siblings and grandparents.
If residents prefer to order a birth certificate in person, then they may do so at the VDH Office of Vital Records in Richmond to receive same-day service. To apply for a certificate of birth in person, claimants must complete an application, provide proof of valid photo identification and pay the required fee via cash, money order or check. Applicants who wish to order a VA birth record in person must visit the office during business days and hours, which may prove inconvenient. The Office of Vital Records receives approximately 9,000 walk-in vital record applicants each month. While the office works to keep waiting times as short as possible, you may need to plan your visit accordingly.
If residents wish to apply for a Virginia birth certificate by mail, then they may submit their request to the Office of Vital Records P.O. box. To order a certified birth certificate by mail, applicants must include the following information in their request:
- The birth name, date and place of birth
- The mother’s maiden name
- The father’s name
- The applicant’s relationship to the name of the resident on the certificate
- A reason for the birth certificate order, replacement or amendment
- A contact phone number
- A return address and signature
Additionally, applicants who wish to obtain a birth certificate copy in Virginia by mail must submit a photocopy of their identification document (such as a drivers license or ID card) and payment in the form of a check or money order. However, when ordering a birth certificate by mail, the turnaround time is approximately two to four weeks from the day the Office of Vital Records receives the request. Likewise, the turnaround time for amending birth certificates or changing the name on a certificate of birth by mail takes approximately 12 weeks to complete.
If residents cannot apply for a new VA birth certificate in person or by mail, then they may order a certified birth record online without long processing times. To get a copy of a birth record in Virginia, customers can complete the online birth certificate application and submit payment via a credit card right here for the most convenience.