Everybody has one, but you may not know where your birth certificate is located. Did you put it in your safe deposit box in the bank? Is it tucked inside an old photo album? If you’ve misplaced yours and need a certified replacement birth certificate of your original document, you’re in luck because the process has never been easier.
However, it is important to know what type of birth certificate you need. There are key differences between a short-form birth certificate and a long-form certificate, as well as certain circumstances where it is beneficial for you to be in possession of one type versus the other. How do these two types match up against the other?
Understanding the Short-Form Birth Certificate
A short-form birth certificate is just that: a shorter version of your original. Rather than including every piece of information as your official certificate, the short-form document omits some details in order to be briefer and more convenient.
Essentially, the short form is a notarized document that states that a long-form birth certificate exists and is on file with the local agency that processed it at birth. While it will not include information about your exact place of birth, such as a hospital versus a home, or the parents’ birth dates, the short form will have a file number printed on it that refers back to the original.
What’s on the Long-Form Version?
Your long-form birth certificate will include your place of birth to help establish citizenship. It will also have information such as the attending physician or midwife, the nationality of your parents, and their birth dates. The long form is the more detailed of the two options and was filed with the local applicable agency—such as the county recorder’s office—when you were born. It will also have the signatures of those present during the birth, although the overall format may be different from state to state.
When Would You Need Each Type?
Both a short-form and long-form birth certificate are used to establish legal proof that a person was born in the United States and is, therefore, an American citizen. As such, they can be used by someone to obtain an identification card and driver’s license, as well as a Social Security card and a passport. However, it is important to note that there are some instances that require your full, long-form birth certificate. These include beginning the process of adopting a child and certain issues relating to immigration.
If you are interested in tracing back your family line, experts recommend using your long-form certificate because it paints a much more detailed picture of your parents and can open new paths to follow. It can take a longer amount of time to obtain a copy of your long-form birth certificate, but both the long form and short form are officially certified as valid and should be seen as such.
To learn more about the differences between a short-form and long-form birth certificate and for help obtaining an online birth certificate replacement read through our site or call (415) 528-2585.