Differences Between Birth Certificate and Certificate of Live Birth

Every child born receives a birth certificate for identification or other purposes. The standard form for a birth certificate issued by the United States government is the “Birth Certificate.”

Did you know that there’s also a certificate of live birth, usually issued by hospitals? Here are the differences between a birth certificate and a certificate of live birth.

What is a Certificate of Live Birth?

Certificate of Live Birth

A certificate of live birth, or Certificate Birth of Live, is the document first created for a newborn baby. Typically, hospitals issue the certificate of live birth as a record of the baby’s birth.

So, the certificate of live birth is not an official document as it’s created by a nurse or medical personnel for hospital record-keeping purposes. Each hospital or birthing facility may issue different certificate of live birth formats.

However, generally, a certificate of live birth includes some basic information such as:

    • Baby’s Name
    • Parents’ Names
    • Gender
    • Date of Birth
    • Hospital Name
    • Doctor’s Name
    • Name of Recording Personnel

If childbirth doesn’t occur at a hospital facility, a certificate of live birth can be issued by a licensed midwife or nurse. During the issuance process, parents must verify and ensure that the information on the form is correct.

It’s essential to be meticulous because errors in recording can occur during form completion or data entry by hospital staff. Ensure that the data is accurate and doesn’t require any corrections before submission to the government agency. The process might be more cumbersome if corrections are needed after the official birth certificate is issued.

What is a Birth Certificate?

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate is an official document issued by the United States government. This document is signed by the respective state’s official recording officer.

The birth certificate has a registration number that facilitates identification or data retrieval. You should keep it safe because an official birth certificate will be needed for school, driver’s license, passport, taxes, and other official records. The official birth certificate contains several pieces of information, including:

    • Child’s Full Name (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name)
    • Child’s Place of Birth (City and State)
    • Child’s Date of Birth (Day, Month, Year)
    • Child’s Gender
    • Birth Details (Single or Twin Birth)
    • Father’s Full Name (Mother’s Name if Unmarried)
    • Father’s or Mother’s Place of Birth
    • Father’s or Mother’s Date of Birth
    • Official Seal of the City or State

The information details on a birth certificate may vary depending on the issuing state.

Differences Between Certificate of Live Birth and Birth Certificate

In the United States, parents receive both a birth certificate and a certificate of live birth for their child. Typically, for proving a child’s identity, a birth certificate is required. But how does a certificate of live birth differ from a birth certificate?

1. Issuance Process

A certificate of live birth is a quick way for hospitals to create a record for a newborn baby. The birth information is recorded in the hospital’s database, then verified and sent to the Vital Registration Office or State Registers Office where the birth certificate is issued. The information is recorded and stored by the United States Department of Health.

So, the certificate of live birth is issued by the hospital and must be authenticated by the attending medical professional involved in the childbirth process. Meanwhile, a birth certificate is issued by the state government and authenticated by authorized officials.

2. Legal Status

A certificate of live birth is not an official document but rather a hospital record. On the other hand, a birth certificate is official and valid as a child’s identity document. Birth certificates are commonly used for various purposes requiring proof of identity. This document also has a registration number indicating registration in the government system.

3. Function

A birth certificate serves the purpose of hospital recording. For parents or children, a birth certificate serves as a supporting document for obtaining a birth certificate. A certificate of live birth cannot be used for legal purposes. Meanwhile, a birth certificate has a broader function as it is a legal and valid document. It serves as valid proof of a person’s identity, birth, and citizenship.

4. Form

Differences between a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate can also be seen in their appearance or form. Generally, a certificate of live birth issued by the hospital has a simpler appearance. It is usually a single sheet of paper with authentication from the relevant hospital.

Meanwhile, a birth certificate appears more formal with thicker paper and may also have a watermark. Birth certificates have a state or city seal indicating the issuing authority and are typically accompanied by the signatures of parents and recording officials.

Things to Know About Birth Certificates

A birth certificate is an official record of birth and carries greater legal weight. Here are some important things to know about the standard birth certificate in the United States.

1. Birth Certificate Registration in the United States

Slightly different from other countries in general, the United States does not have a national (federal) birth registration system. This is because the United States uses a decentralized system where the issuance of birth certificates is done by each state.

Each state is required to report annual statistical data to the federal government of the United States. If a child is born outside of the United States, it becomes the duty of the Department of State to report it.

The United States has more than 14,000 types of birth certificates, with most being merely informational. The United States government only provides birth certificate application forms, and each state is free to create its own documents.

So, you may encounter different forms of birth certificates. All birth certificates issued by the state are official and valid documents.

2. What Information is on a Birth Certificate?

Although each state has its own format for birth certificates, at least the following information must be included:

    • Full Name of the Child
    • Place and Date of Birth of the Child
    • Baby’s Gender
    • Names of Both Parents
    • Official Seal of the State, County, or City

Other important information may be found on the birth certificate. This depends on the state that issues it.

In addition to the child’s data or identity, the birth certificate also includes a registration number. You can find it in the upper right corner or it may vary depending on the state issuing the birth certificate.

This registration number consists of eleven digits separated by spaces. Birth certificate registration numbers usually begin with two letters before the numbers.

3. What is the Purpose of a Birth Certificate?

Birth certificates help relevant institutions handle matters related to population censuses. Everyone should have a birth certificate because this document is quite important. You may need it for several purposes, including:

    • Obtaining or updating identification cards
    • Replacing lost birth certificates
    • Obtaining or renewing a driver’s license
    • Getting a social security card
    • Providing work authorization
    • Enrolling in school
    • Obtaining a marriage license
    • Joining the military or armed forces
    • Receiving welfare benefits, veteran benefits, and government allowances
    • Providing essential documentation for insurance
    • Providing evidence for legal proceedings
    • Managing taxes
    • Applying for a passport
    • And others

Usually, birth certificates for simple domestic purposes are in the form of a short form. This abbreviated birth certificate includes the child’s first and last name, place and date of birth, gender, and the first and last names of the parents.

For international purposes such as travel, dual citizenship, international marriage, and international adoption, what is needed is a long-form birth certificate. This birth certificate contains additional comprehensive information to prove identity and citizenship status.

4. How to Obtain a Birth Certificate?

Considering that the issuance of birth certificates is delegated to each state, the requirements for obtaining this document also depend on your state.

Usually, birth information from hospitals will be forwarded to the city government. After data collection and certification, the city government will print the birth certificate.

Data from the city government is then reported to the state and federal levels. From this data, the government can understand demographics, population diversity, births, trends, and health.

The process of obtaining or requesting a birth record can be done online, by mail, or directly at the local registration office. Birth certificates can be sent to the registrant’s home address.

5. Who Can Obtain a Birth Certificate for Someone Else?

Only certain individuals have the right to obtain a child’s birth certificate. You may be able to request the issuance of a birth certificate if you fall into one of the following categories.

    • Legal parents or guardians of the registered child
    • Child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, grandparent, or household relative of the registrant
    • Parties entitled to receive a birth certificate based on court decision, attorney, or licensed adoption agency authorized to request birth certificates to meet legal requirements
    • Attorneys representing the registrant or representing the registrant’s estate
    • Officials from law enforcement agencies or government institutions with an official order to obtain a birth certificate
    • Individuals or entities authorized by the court or law to act on behalf of the registrant

In general, those who can request a birth certificate for someone else are typically family members or relatives. Each state may have different rules regarding the family members referred to.

6. What Identification Documents are Required to Obtain a Birth Certificate?

To obtain certain IDs, you usually need a copy of an official birth certificate. When requesting such documents, you’ll need to verify your identity through scanned passports, driver’s licenses, or other photo identification.

If you don’t have government-issued identification, you may be able to use bank records or property documents. Some states may provide alternative verification methods with a notarized letter from biological parents.

Here are some types of identification documents that may be accepted to obtain an official birth certificate.

    • Driver’s License
    • Social Security Card
    • Passport
    • Employee ID Card
    • School ID Card
    • Bank Records
    • Property Documents
    • Bank Statements
    • Government-issued photo identification
    • Notarized Letter from Biological Parents

What if you don’t have any identification at all? You may be able to obtain it by signing a sworn affidavit.

7. How Much Does it Cost to Obtain a Birth Certificate?

There is no fee for obtaining a birth certificate for a newborn until a certain period of time. After this time limit, you’ll need to prepare a fee for obtaining the birth certificate.

The fees set by one state may vary from those of other states for processing birth certificates. However, the cost for obtaining an official copy of a birth certificate is usually around $25.

The cost may be higher if you order through unofficial vendors outside of each state’s health department.

After filling out the form, you’ll be asked to upload documents online as required. Then, you’ll need to pay for the online order using a credit card or other provided payment methods.

8. Can Birth Certificates be Changed?

Birth certificates rarely require changes. However, each city, county, or state has its own protocol for requests to change data. Regulations regarding which data can be changed and for what reasons may vary.

The most common request for data changes is simple corrections due to errors in the birth certificate. Another frequent change is for name changes or gender changes.

You’ll need to inquire because not all states may allow changes to the gender on a birth certificate. Typically, each state has a website providing information and contact details for the procedure to change an official birth certificate.

9. What If Born Outside of the United States to American Parents?

For a child born outside of the United States, they cannot obtain a standard American birth certificate. However, children of American parents can request a Consular Report of Birth Abroad from a consul.

If the parents have registered the child’s birth with the consulate, you can request a copy by contacting the Department of State. You may be required to provide a government-issued photo ID.

If the consular birth certificate is sent by mail, you’ll need to pay a fee of around $50 via money order.

10. How to Order a Birth Certificate Online?

Birth certificates for U.S. citizens can be obtained online. For those born in America and over 21 years old, you can easily apply for a birth certificate. You can order online with a requirement for a photocopy of a government-issued photo ID.

If you are under 21 years old, your parents can apply for your birth certificate. This also applies to American citizens who do not have the required proof of identity.

In conclusion, a birth certificate is an unofficial record issued by a hospital. Meanwhile, a birth certificate is an official record issued by the government. Official birth certificates last forever, so it’s important to ensure the information on them is correct and accurate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *