December 31

What Happens If You Lose Your Birth Certificate?

Everyone has an identity, registered within the system of their country, in order to prove who they are, and so that they are tracked as being a citizen of said country. It’s how you can get an ID to prove who you are, and your age, and it is how you are part of the system, in order to access all sorts of services and to be regulated.

There is no escaping this, and although it can sometimes be a hassle to deal with some of the paperwork, it is essential and vital throughout your life.

Your birth certificate is one of the most important documents you will ever have, as it is the first form of identification given to you as soon as you are born. It kinda proves that you exist, you know? Also, the birth certificate is needed for all sorts of things throughout your life, and it is the primary way of proving your right of citizenship in the country that you are in, amongst many other things.

That being said, the birth certificate is most often just a piece of paper (made official by its special design and proof of authenticity, of course), and therefore it can be pretty easy to lose. You could misplace it accidentally, or it could be damaged, or it could even be stolen!

Regardless of how you end up losing your birth certificate, the fact remains that you need to get a replacement because you simply can’t go through life without it.

But how do you get a replacement? And are there any specific things you should do when you lose the birth certificate? We can tell you everything you need to know about this.

Let’s get right into it!

Why Do You Need Your Birth Certificate?

First of all, you might not think it’s a big deal to lose your birth certificate, because maybe it was just forgotten in a drawer and you weren’t really doing much with it, so why do you even need it. Right? Well wrong. Your birth certificate is incredibly important, and losing it is most definitely a big deal and something that you have to resolve as soon as possible.

Your birth certificate is not only one of the primary documents that prove your identity and citizenship, but it is also vital and essential for many other things, and to get other important documents you will require throughout life.

Just so that you are aware of some of the important things and services that you need your birth certificate for, here is a list:

  • To get your social security card number
  • To get a passport
  • As proof of citizenship, and to request dual citizenship in certain situations
  • To apply for a marriage license
  • To marry abroad
  • In order to access government benefits
  • In order to get your driver’s license
  • In order to enroll in a school, college, or similar
  • To join the military, or apply to other government jobs
  • To vote (in some states)
  • To access certain financial transactions or agreements
  • In order to claim pension or insurance benefits

And many more, these are just the basics! Your birth certificate is the primary way to obtain any other form of identification or important paperwork and documents, and it is also a requirement in order to access some of the most essential and vital services that you need throughout life, as a citizen of your country.

So…yeah. Hopefully, we have now enlightened you as to why having your birth certificate is so important, and why you should keep it safe and on hand, for any occasion in which you might need to present it.

What To Do If You Lose Your Birth Certificate:

Okay, let’s get to the main question at hand. In one way or another, no matter the circumstances or reasons, you have lost your birth certificate. What do you do?

There are two main courses of action that you need to take: report the loss and request a replacement.

To report the loss of your birth certificate, you will have to report it to the vital records office within your state, by following the specific instructions they have on their website. It shouldn’t be too hard a process!

It’s important to report it, especially in case anybody ends up finding that birth certificate, so as to avoid anyone from using it for fraudulent purposes. The only valid birth certificate that soul be out and about in the world, is the one you have in your own hands, safe and protected.

Then, you will need to request a replacement of your birth certificate as soon as possible, so that you can receive it. That way you will go back to having a birth certificate within your grasp, to access any services you might need to access, and so that you can prove your identity when needed.

But on another note, if your birth certificate is stolen, and you know for sure that it has been stolen, or suspect that it has been, then reporting it as lost is not quite enough.

In order to further protect yourself from identity theft and fraud, (the birth certificate can be used by others to obtain all sorts of identification papers and services!), you should alert the local police of the theft. You should also report the theft of the birth certificate to the Identity Theft Government website so that authorities can keep an eye out for any use of that specific birth certificate, as it obviously will not be by you.

Another thing we’d like to talk about is getting a replacement birth certificate on behalf of someone else. Let’s say you lost the birth certificate for your child, or grandchild, or your parents. As a general rule, the law states that only the person on the birth certificate can request a replacement. However, there are cases in which parents, grandparents, children, siblings, or spouses (aka, immediate family), are allowed to request it for you.

If this is the case, you might need proof of being authorized by the person whose birth certificate you are requesting, as well as having to state the official relationship you have with that person.

Final Thoughts:

Losing your birth certificate is a big deal, because it is one of the most important official documents that you have and the primary way of proving your identity, and accessing important services within your country, throughout your life.

If you lose your birth certificate, you should report it as lost (in order to protect yourself from any possible fraud or identity theft, from someone who might have taken your birth certificate), and you should then request a replacement birth certificate, by following the appropriate steps.



Listen to the Ask a lawyer podcast 

We will answer all your questions by a lawyer - but not your lawyer