Losing an official document is never a good thing, especially if you lose such a vital paper as the Birth Certificate. The consequences of such a situation can be really disastrous since this certificate is the actual proof that you are a citizen of the United States.
For instance, if you lose your child's Birth Certificate, you won't be able to enroll him or her even in the primary school. The Birth Certificate is the only document you will be asked to submit when applying for the identification card or driver's license. You won't be able to join the military and protect this country if you don't have the birth certificate or at least a certified copy of this document. Forget about getting a social security number if you have lost the Birth Certificate. As you can see, virtually all doors of social institutions will be closed if you fail to present the official proof of your identity, specifically the Birth Certificate.
What should I do if I lose my Birth Certificate?
But what if the worst has already happened and you lost this document? Most people will get frustrated because they don't know the answer to the question, “What should I do if I lose my Birth Certificate?”
First of all, don't panic: it is, certainly, an unfortunate situation which may have dire consequences if neglected, but it is not unresolvable.
Second of all, if you are sure that the Birth Certificate was irretrievably lost, start looking for any digital copies of this document on your home computer or laptop.
Perhaps you were foresighted enough to make a quick scan or a copy of the certificate and store it somewhere in the pile of personal photos. So, here is the tip for those who are reading this article but haven’t lost the Birth Certificate (yet): if you don't have a photocopy of this important document, make it right away! This applies to all of your personal documents: make several copies and store them in the safe location, such as a separate flash drive. Do not store them directly on the computer or, what's even worse, on some cloud service. No one should have access to them except you. Also, make copies of all personal documents of your family members. In case you, for some reason, will not be able to renew the Birth Certificate, your family members can do it for you, but they would also have to prove their identity to the authorities.
In case you lose the Birth Certificate but still have other documents that can help verify your identity: the driver's license, the personal ID or the military identity card (even a medical or a gym card will be sufficient in some cases), you will have no problem getting a duplicate of your Birth Certificate. In order to do that, you will have to contact the office of Vital Records or the Department of Health.
Remember that you need to apply to the governmental institution that is located in your native state. All birth records are kept there permanently, they are not transferred to the place of your current residence. If you live in another city, don't go to the local office, you will only waste your time. The procedure of restoration of Birth Certificate differs from state to state, so make sure to find out exactly what you need to do in order for your application to be successful. In some states, you don't even have to present any other documents because they consider the sworn statement to be a sufficient proof of identity. Visit the CDC's official website to find the exact address and contact information of the Vital Records offices or Departments of Health in your native state.
Once you do that, you can apply for the renewal of Birth Certificate directly on the website or by sending the completed application form by mail. Make sure to attach the certified copy of the document that verifies your identity to the application. You will also have to pay a processing fee of around $30 plus the shipment fee.
If you go directly to the Vital Records office, you will be able to fill out the form there, thus avoiding paying additional fees. Moreover, there is a good chance that you will receive a duplicate of your Birth Certificate on the very same day. If you choose other means of application, you would have to wait from 3 days to 3 weeks for your certificate to arrive, depending on the complexity of your situation and the workload at the given Vital Records office.
Once you get the renewed Birth Certificate, make its certified copy and store both documents in a safe place.