If a child was born in the United States, he or she automatically receives US citizenship by birthright regardless of the parents’ immigration status, and a birth certificate is documentary evidence of this fact.
Things you need to know about U.S. birth certificate
This is an official document;
In order to make any changes to the birth certificate, you must submit an official written request for changes;
If it is necessary to change the name or make multiple changes to the certificate, an appeal to the court will be required;
Parents may have problems receiving documents, benefits, traveling with a child if incorrect data are indicated in the birth certificate;
It may take several weeks to make adjustments to the birth certificate;
It is recommended that you fill out everything correctly right away and carefully check the data before entering it on the birth certificate;
The birth certificate application also includes a confidential medical questionnaire for the Department of Health. This information will be used anonymously for various government programs to prevent maternal and child mortality.
How do I get a birth certificate in America?
Each state may have its own nuances, but in general the procedures are very similar. We’ll tell you about this as an example of Los Angeles County, California.
If the child was born at the hospital / medical center:
STEP 1: fill out a birth certificate form. A nurse will bring this paper immediately after the birth of the baby.
STEP 2: a registration specialist will come to your ward in the hospital with a computer and transfer the data from the questionnaire to the state Department of Health system.
Important: we recommend that you ask the registration specialist to check the correctness of the data on the computer screen before entering the system. Even if you filled in the questionnaire correctly, a specialist may make a mistake when transferring to a computer. In case of an error, it will be possible to correct the birth certificate only by making adjustments, which will take an additional 2-3 weeks of your time.
STEP 3: The birth certificate appears electronically in the state health department system a few days later. In some states, this may take longer. For example, in the state of California, the usual procedure for preparing a birth certificate takes up to 3 months, and the fastest – up to 10 working days. In Miami, Florida, this is one of the shortest periods – a birth certificate can be obtained immediately after it has been issued.
To receive a birth certificate, one of the parents with a valid ID must go to the Vital Records office and request the number of copies of the birth certificate. A printed memo with addresses, phone numbers and opening hours will be provided by a specialist in birth registration at the hospital. The presence of a second parent and child upon receipt of a birth certificate is optional. Advance registration is not required; birth certificates are issued in a live queue. You can get as many copies of birth certificates equivalent to each other as you want (for each you need to pay a fee). We recommend that you obtain a minimum of 2 copies. It is not necessary to receive 10 copies for future use – because you will always have the opportunity to order additional copies online by paying the fees and mail delivery by credit card on a single VITALCHECK service.
If the child was not born in the hospital (in a birth center, at home, etc.):
STEP 1: call or visit the nearest VITAL RECORDS office, find out the procedure with a list of documents and make an appointment for registration of the birth not in the hospital. This procedure is called OUT-OF-HOSPATAL BIRTH REGISTRATION.
To register the fact of birth, you will need to prepare medical extracts from the doctor / midwife who monitored the pregnancy, and from the pediatrician, as well as bring a person who will attest in writing to the fact of the birth of the child.
Got a birth certificate? Congratulations! This is the primary proof of US citizenship for a child.