QUESTION:  I will need to get a passport as soon as possible. First, will I need to obtain a certified copy of my birth certificate? How can I get this document?

ANSWER:   Any documentation necessary to process a U.S. passport must accompany the passport application. When a certified copy is on the list, then it is the only way the document is acceptable. In this case, a birth certificate should be a certified copy. If it is not a certified copy, then the application process is going to stop until they receive a certified copy. Worst case scenario, the applicant may need to start the process over.

A certified copy of a birth certificate will have a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal. It will also have the registrar’s signature and the date the certificate was filed at the registrar’s office. The filing date must be within 1 year of the person’s date of birth. A birth certificate is an important requirement for proof of identity.

If at some point you need a copy, mail an application to the NYC Health Department. The application must be notarized and processing time is at least 30 days. The first copy is $15.00 and any additional copies are $15.00. You can place orders for a certified copy through the state or county where you were born or through a third-party company that expedites the process. The federal government does not provide copies of birth certificates. Copies of birth certificates and other personal vital records can be obtained from the Health Department.

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