Birth certificates are used for many official purposes such as Social Security, passport applications, and school enrollment.
For birth certificates involving an adoption or legal name change, please contact the State of California Department of Health Services at (916) 445-2684.
Who Can Request and Receive an Authorized Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate?
The law is very strict about who may request and receive authorized, certified copies of birth certificates. Its intent is to protect an individual’s privacy and keep their personal information safe from identity theft. Only those listed below are authorized to obtain certified copies of birth certificates.
- The registrant or a parent/legal guardian of the registrant
- A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant
- Person (s) entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code
- An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant’s estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant’s estate
- A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business
Application Process, (Note: For requests pre 1966 records, contact County Clerks Recorder’s Office at 650-363-4500.)
A completed application and a notarized Certificate of Identity form signed under penalty of perjury by the authorized requestor are required for all orders sent by mail. Mail the notarized application, a self-addressed envelope, and the required payment by a check or money order only (payable against a USA bank) payable to Office of Vital Records.
Office of Vital Records
P.O. BOX 5127
Redwood City, CA 94063
Mail processing time is 3-5 days. If you wish to have us expedite your request, please enclose a pre-paid priority envelope with the required completed mailing forms from the US Postal Service along with your notarized application and check or money order. We are unable to expedite mail using UPS or FedEx.
In person processing time is 5-15 minutes. If you are an authorized individual, you may come into our office to purchase a certified birth certificate. You must complete the application form online at the Kiosk in our office, which includes a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, in order to receive an authorized certified copy.
Office of Vital Records
1600 W. Hillsdale Blvd. #203
San Mateo, CA 94402
Customers with Disabilities
Please call the Office of Vital Records at (650) 573-2395 to make an appointment with one of our staff members if you are unable to utilize the lobby elevator to reach our suite on the second floor. An appointment will be scheduled and we will assist you at your vehicle.
For the public and non-public agencies – For mail in requests only
Please note if you are requesting a fee exempt birth record for a homeless person you will need to complete the Affidavit of Homeless Status for Fee Exempt Certified Copy of Birth Certificate form .
For government agencies – For mail in requests only
Public and non-public agencies: $34
Government agencies: $31
Payment types accepted are cash, checks, and credit cards (Visa and Mastercard only).
Informational-Only Copies of Birth Certificates
Those who do not meet the criteria for an authorized certified copy may receive an informational only copy. The words “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” will be imprinted across the face of the copy.
The Office of Vital Records provides authorized certified or informational only birth certificates for birth dates from 1966-present. For certificates prior to 1966, you must contact or go to the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.
The California Secretary of State provides an Apostille to authenticate California public officials’ signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. These requests are processed and issued by the California Secretary of State office located in Sacramento.
Note: If a birth or death certificate has the signature of a Health Officer or County Registrar (e.g. Local Registrar, Registrar of Vital Records), prior to presenting to our office for authentication, one of the following will be required:
- have that birth or death certificate certified by the county clerk’s office in the county in which it was issued; or
- obtain a certified copy of that birth or death certificate from the county recorder or State of California Department of Public Health.
Other Places to Get Birth Certificates
Clerk-Recorder’s Office (note: only certificates prior to
555 County Center, First Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665
PO Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899
1501 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814