How Long Does It Take to Get a Baby’s Birth Certificate?

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • A birth certificate records a person’s name, birth date, place of birth, and sometimes the time of birth.
  • It is essential for obtaining identification documents and serves as the first official record of a person’s existence.
  • The process of obtaining a birth certificate varies, with processing times ranging from same-day to several weeks.

Birth certificates are very simple but very important one-page documents (and sometimes two-page documents). Now that you welcomed another family member into your life, it’s time to make it official with a birth certificate.

But how long does it take to get baby’s birth certificate? It depends on the situation, so read on to find out.

What Is a Birth Certificate?

A birth certificate, as the name suggests, is a document that records a person’s name, birth, as well as their place of birth. If the birth happened after 1997, then the document will include the time of birth as well. Sometimes, the birth certificate is often referred to as the “breeder document.”

A birth certificate is a fundamental right, as well as the first legal document of a person. For someone to receive other documents such as their ID, a birth certificate is necessary. For children, a birth certificate doubles as an ID.

For instance, a foreign child immigrating with their parents to the U.S. will need a translated version of a birth certificate, as well as the original. If you don’t know how to get a birth certification translation, then you may want to discuss it with your attorney.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate?

You may get the birth certificate at different times, depending on the method that you choose. Parents should go for the method that is most convenient for them.

When Ordering In-Person

There are multiple timing factors to keep in mind when you order a birth certificate in person. For one, you need to spend time visiting the records office where your old birth certificate was recorded. You can’t order it from any other office, which makes it troublesome if you now live in a different state.

Plus, since the waiting time can last for several hours, it can take a good chunk of your day. This can be very problematic for those on a tight work schedule, as you will need to take the day off. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can also be very tiresome.

The advantage is that once you show the documents to prove who you are along with your application, you may receive your birth certificate on the same day. If you have a lost birth certificate case and need a replacement fast, this option may work best for you.

When Ordering Online

Some may think that ordering online is the fastest method, but it depends on how you look at it. Indeed, ordering online takes only about 10 minutes, so you may easily do it in the evening hours when you have time. It might take 2-3 days until the registrar’s office receives your application.

The rest of the waiting time will depend on the volume of requests and the availability of the officers. Plus, each state may have different processing times. You should be able to receive the birth certificate within 1-2 months.

How to Check the Status of a Birth Certificate Application

Usually, you should receive the birth certificate within the appointed processing time. Each method of application will have its own time, as specified above.

That being said, if the processing time passes and you still don’t get your baby’s birth certificate, you may call 724-656-3100 and ask for assistance. You should ask for the canceled check information as well, while you are at it.

How to Order a Birth Certificate Online

Before you order a birth certificate online, you first need to be eligible for it. If it’s your name on the certificate, then you are already eligible for it. Parents, who are also listed on the birth certificate can also request a copy of it at any time.

Spouses or children may also make an application, but since their name is not on the birth certificate, there will be extra complications. They will need to explain why they are ordering the birth certificate and provide documents that prove their identity, as well as their relationship.

The simplest way to order a birth certificate is the online method. You will need some essential details, such as the name of the child, as well as the date and place of their birth. Here are the steps that you must follow:

1. Obtain the Birth Certificate Form

Go to the main page for the civil registration system and download the birth certification form. You may also get it from the office of the registrar. Around 1.6% of the births happen at home, so if this is your case, this is your only option.

If the birth occurred in a hospital, then the medical officer in charge of your birth will provide you with a form or the exact website where you can download it. Sometimes, it may depend from state to state, and from hospital to hospital.

2. Fill In the Form

Once you have obtained the form, it is time for you to fill it in. Bear in mind that you should apply for it within the 21st day of a child being born. Wait longer and it can lead to further complications or even a fine. Send it to the registrar’s office.

3. Wait

The registrar’s office will check your birth records (time, date, birthplace, the ID of the parents, etc.) in the Vital Statistics System, and they will issue a new birth certificate. You will receive it based on the delivery method of your choice.

The entire ordering process should take no longer than 10 minutes. Choose the shipping option, and in 4-8 weeks, the birth certificate should be in your hands.

Birth Certificate Processing Time FAQ

Certain situations may occur when making an application for a birth certificate. Here are some of the most common questions, along with their answers.

What Should I Do If I Have Received a No Record Certification of Birth?

If you received a No Record Certification of Birth, it means that the Department of Health was unable to find the birth records for the date that you provided in your birth certificate application. This means that the birth took place in a different state or that the birth was not filed with the health department office.

Can I Obtain the Time of Birth on My Certification of Birth?

Yes. In fact, most births that took place after 1997 will automatically have a birth certificate. The older certificates will only show the time of birth the moment it gets added to the Electronic Birth Registry.

More and more people are opting to replace their birth certificates with digital IDs, which means they can get their time of birth to show up as well.

Is a Raised (Embossed) Seal Required to Make a Birth Certificate Official?

Nowadays, to meet legal requirements for a birth certificate, you must have a raised (embossed) seal. Many of the birth certificates that were issued before 1975 did not have this seal – and as a result, are not legally accepted. People would have to apply for a new birth certificate, to get a replacement for the old one.

Read More

Final Thoughts

The waiting time for birth certificates will depend on the method you choose. If you have the time to spare, you may go to the registrar’s office yourself, get in line and receive the certificate on the same day. If you can’t take the day off and don’t mind waiting several weeks, then the online option is better for you.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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