Birth certificates are very important for identification purposes. Anyone born in the US is issued one at birth. They are useful for getting a job, getting a driver's license and several other things requiring identification. However, they can sometimes become lost or damaged. If you need to obtain a copy of a California birth certificate, there are a few things you should know first.
All states, including California allow access to birth certificates, as well as other vital records, including, marriage, divorce and death records. However, the exact process for obtaining a certified copy of a birth certificate varies from state to state.
If you are trying to obtain a copy of a birth certificate in the state of California, you should keep in mind that birth certificate and other similar records, prior to July of 1905, are kept in the county where that event took place. All records since that time are kept in the office of the State Registrar, instead. So, it is important to know what year and what county you are looking for. That way, you will know whether you need to contact the county clerk to obtain the copy, or the State Registrar's office.
If you are looking for a certified copy of your own birth certificate or that of an immediate family member, chances are that you will want records from after 1905. If that's the case, you should contact the Vital Records Office in Sacramento, California. You can do so in writing, but, before you do, you may want to call them to check on things, such as fees involved and time it will take to obtain your copy. They can be reached at (916) 445-2684. You will want to have a notebook and pen handy, because you are likely to get a recorded message with such information. Once you are aware of the fees required to obtain a certified copy, you can make a check payable to the Vital Records Office.
Although that method is cheapest, it does take quite a while. It can take several weeks to obtain your certified birth certificate that way. Also, keep in mind that, as of 2003, you are required to sign a sworn statement, in order to obtain a copy. You must have the statement notarized and then mail it in, or it will be returned to you and you will not receive your copy.
If you are more interested in convenience or speed, you may prefer to order your certified birth certificate copy online instead. It is quick and easy. Simply log on to dhs.ca.gov/hisp/chs/ovr/ordercert.htm and follow the simple instructions there. By that method, you can have your certified copy in as little as a few days, depending on where you live.
If you follow all of the regulations that the State of California requires, obtaining a copy of your California birth record should be fairly simple. Once you have it, store it in a safe place, so have to worry about ordering one again.