Why do I want an “authorized, certified” copy?
It is best to get an authorized certified copy of your birth certificate. Only an authorized certified copy of your birth certificate can be used as proof of your identity. An informational copy is not accepted as a government-issued ID and, therefore, you cannot use it to obtain other forms of official ID.
CERTIFIED COPY — A “certified” copy of your birth certificate is any official copy of your birth certificate issued by the Office of the County Recorder in the county where you were born, or from your state’s Office of Vital Records. These offices issue two types of certified copies — “authorized” and “informational.”
- Authorized Certified Copy — An “authorized” certified birth certificate bears the stamp or seal of the office that issued it. It is called authorized because only certain individuals, such as you and your immediate family members, are allowed to get it. Access to authorized birth certificates is restricted because they are considered a valid form of government-issued ID, and can be used to get other forms of ID. This is the type of copy you need to prove your identity.
- Informational Certified Copy — An “informational” certified birth certificate contains the same information as an authorized copy, but it is not considered an official record of your identity. It does not bear the stamp or seal of the office that issued it, and it must contain the disclaimer statement: “INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY.” Anyone can order an informational copy of your birth certificate. This is not the type of copy you want to get to prove your identity.