The Federal Birth Certificate Authentication Process, Explained

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The Federal Birth Certificate Authentication Process Explained

Finding out that the regular certified copy of your birth certificate you received as a newborn or got to replace a lost original is not valid outside the United States may be stressful. But DoNotPay can help you navigate the process of figuring out how to get an alternative that serves this purpose. Here's how we can help you make the process a bit less stressful.

Understand The Difference Between an Authorized and Informational Birth Certificate Copy

Most states allow individuals to obtain two versions of a birth certificate, including:

  1. An authorized copy
  2. An informational copy

It is important to make sure you get the correct option to make sure you will be able to use it for its intended purpose. An authorized copy of a birth certificate can be used as a valid form of identification to obtain a passport or for other official purposes. So these copies can only be obtained by specific people that have a legitimate reason for doing so to protect the integrity of this purpose.

Although informational copies of birth certificates contain the same information and look similar, they are not considered to be a valid form of identification because anyone can obtain them in states where they are offered. If you need an , you will first need to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate.

What Is Federal Birth Certificate Authentication?

An authenticated birth certificate is NOT the same thing as an authorized copy. This type of birth certificate is typically used for limited official uses outside the United States, and it can be much more difficult to obtain than a typical authorized copy that is only valid within the United States.

Although a certified copy of a birth certificate is good enough to help you get a passport, it will not do much for you once you actually leave the country. Some reasons you may need an authenticated birth certificate are explained in the table below.

Reasons one might seek federal birth certificate authentication
  • Getting married in another country
  • Enrolling a child in school in another country
  • Getting an international driver's license
  • Going to university overseas

You will need an for any of these purposes, in any country that is not part of the Hague Convention. For use in Hague Convention countries, you will need to obtain an apostille certificate. The purpose and process for obtaining both types of certificates are similar.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Authenticated Birth Certificate?

This is not a fast process when you tackle it by yourself. Much like applying for a passport, applying for an authenticated birth certificate can be a lengthy process. Getting anything processed by the Department of State can typically take several weeks or longer.

However, the Department of State is still working through a significant backlog of applications, which means that wait times are currently longer than usual. Therefore, it’s more important than normal to start the process as soon as you determine you will need an authenticated birth certificate.

You may be able to get an urgent authenticated birth certificate within 2-3 days by calling the office if you are able to present proof that you are traveling within 24-48 hours or you are traveling because of a medical emergency.

How to Get an Authenticated Birth Certificate By Yourself

Getting an authenticated birth certificate is much more complicated than getting an authorized copy of a birth certificate. Much like getting a passport, getting an authenticated birth certificate can only be done through the Department of State. You will need to locate Form DS-4194 online and submit it, along with a certified copy of your birth certificate and a fee of $8 per copy, to:

Office of Authentications

U.S. Department of State

CA/PPT/S/TO/AUT 44132 Mercure Cir

P.O. Box 1206

Sterling VA 20166-1206

Under limited circumstances, you may also be able to obtain an authenticated birth certificate:

  • By phone
  • In-person

Next Steps for Getting an Authenticated Birth Certificate If You Can't Do It Yourself

The US Department of State provides very strict requirements for when a birth certificate that is to be used for travel purposes can or cannot be authenticated, and it can be difficult to determine exactly what you need to do on your own.

Most Department of State services can also take several months to process, which means that it is not uncommon to not have enough time to complete the process prior to needing your authenticated birth certificate for travel or a similar purpose.

Having DoNotPay on your behalf is a faster, easier, and more likely to be a successful alternative to attempting to do it yourself.

How to Get an Authenticated Birth Certificate With the Help of DoNotPay

If you want to order/get a birth certificate authenticated but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 8 easy steps:

  1. Go to the Birth Certificates product on DoNotPay.
  2. Select who the certificate is for (you or a loved one). If you are requesting a copy of someone else's certificate, enter their personal details, and upload evidence that proves your relationship.
  3. Enter the location you or your loved one was born in, so we can complete the form specific to your state.
  4. Enter the name(s) of the parent(s) as displayed on the certificate.
  5. Indicate what you will be using this certificate for, and choose whether you need an authorized or certified copy.
  6. Enter your contact information and shipping address. Upload copies of your government-issued identification, such as a driver's license.
  7. Choose whether you would like to electronically sign this form or not. Once we generate the form, verify that all of the information is correct.
  8. If you need the document to be notarized, schedule a notarization appointment using our Notary product. Otherwise, proceed to our Mail Checks product and let DoNotPay mail-in your request form with a check on your behalf.

Why Use DoNotPay to Get an Authenticated Birth Certificate

Authenticating a birth certificate is a complicated process. Although we cannot actually authenticate your birth certificate for you, as this can only be done through the Department of State, we can handle the majority of the work on your behalf to make it easier and more convenient for you.

At DoNotPay, we know that obtaining the type of birth certificate you need may be more difficult than you want it to be, and we are here to simplify the process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get an .

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