WHY DO I NEED MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
A certified copy of your birth certificate may be needed to obtain your social security card, various social services, school enrollment, and obtaining a Maryland driver’s license or Maryland State ID.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A COPY OF MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
The following individuals may apply for a certified copy of a birth certificate :
- An individual requesting his/her own birth certificate.
- A parent named on the certificate.
- A court-appointed guardian of the individual named on the certificate. A foster care appointment is not acceptable; proof of guardianship must be submitted.
- A surviving spouse of the individual named on the certificate.
- A representative of: (1) the individual or a parent named on the certificate; or (2) the court-appointed guardian of the individual named on the certificate.
- The representative must have a letter signed by the individual, parent, or guardian, and certified by a notary public, stating that the representative has permission to obtain a copy of the certificate
You will need to fill out an application and pay a fee. If a record cannot be located, the fee is not refunded and a Certification of Record Search will be provided.
WHERE CAN I FIND A COPY OF THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE APPLICATION?
You can find the application for your birth certificate at this website:
Or download a copy here:
WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
In order to receive a certificate, you must have been born in Maryland.
If you want to receive your birth certificate the same day, you must present a valid, unexpired, government-issued photo ID displaying a date issued and an expiration date.
If you cannot provide a valid photo ID, you will not be able to receive your birth certificate the same day and you must provide two (2) different pieces of alternative documentation. At least one of these documents must contain your current mailing address. Acceptable documents are:
- Pay stub
- Current car registration
- Bank statement
- Letter from a government agency requesting a vital record
- Lease/rental agreement
- Utility bill with current address
- Copy of income tax return/W-2 form
WHERE DO I TAKE MY APPLICATION FOR MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
To Order In Person:
You can apply in person at the Division of Vital Records located at:
6764-B Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21215
Offices are located at the rear of the Reisterstown Road Plaza.
The Division of Vital Records is open 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Mon-Fri. Offices are closed on State holidays. (Click here to view State holidays.)
To Order By Mail:
To obtain a birth certificate by mail, complete and mail the application with your $10 payment, a self-addressed envelope, and a photo copy of your Identification to:
Division of Vital Records
6764-B Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 2121
To Order Online:
To order online, visit www.vitalchek.com and select the shipping option you prefer. When ordering on-line there is an additional shipping and processing fee.
To Order by Phone:
To order by phone, you may call 410-764-3170. When ordering by phone there is an additional processing fee.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
- Turnaround time for a certificate ordered by mail: 3-4 weeks.
- Turnaround time for processing certificate changes: 6-8 weeks.
- Turnaround time for processing birth certificate changes to sex designation: 6-10 weeks (customers applying in person will not receive a new certificate the same day).
- Exceptions: Records of births that took place in Baltimore City from 1875 through 1910 are not available for same day service. Copies of these records can only be mailed and take approximately two weeks to process. Birth records over 100 years are available through the Maryland State Archives located at 350 Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis. Telephone number 410-260-6400.
HOW MUCH IS THE APPLICATION FEE TO OBTAIN MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
There is a $10 fee that must be sent with the application. If a record cannot be located, the certificate fee is not refunded and a Certification of Record Search will be provided.
ARE THERE ANY CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THE FEE IS WAIVED?
Although it is not found on the Maryland Department of Health website, on October 1, 2016, HB 0280 was passed – the Birth Certificates Homeless Individual Prohibition on Collecting Fees. The Department cannot collect fees for homeless individuals.
According the State of Maryland Homeless Services Annual Report (2015) homelessness is defined as:
- “An individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family),
including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private
facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a
resident in transitional housing.”
- A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. [Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C., 254b)]
- An individual may also be considered to be homeless if they are “doubled up,” a term that refers to
a situation where individuals are unable to maintain their housing situation and are forced to stay
with a series of friends and/or extended family members
- In addition, previously homeless individuals who are to be released from a prison or a hospital may be considered homeless if they do not have a stable housing situation to which they can return”
*The Department also does not collect a fee for: (this is on the website)
- a copy of a certificate of a current or former armed forces member that is requested by the member; or
- a copy of a certificate of a current or former armed forces member or of a surviving spouse or child of the member, if the copy will be used in connection with a claim for a dependent or beneficiary of the member.
WHAT DO I DO IF I DON’T HAVE THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION?
If you do not have the required documentation to provide with your application, you will need to get some help with this. Take a friend or family member who has a valid ID and can vouch for you to The Adult Resource Center at the Living Classrooms. They will help you to obtain a copy of your birth certificate.
If you have contact with your parents, you can ask them parents to apply on your behalf.
HOW CAN AN ORGANIZATION WORKING WITH REENTRY HELP A CLIENT WHO DOES NOT MEET ID REQUIREMENTS GET A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
If you are an organization that helps returning citizens, you can apply on your client’s behalf. You will need a notary to do this. Here’s what you need to do:
If your client has no state ID, you can apply as the applicant on your client’s behalf.
- In the top half of the application form, you can write in your client’s information
- In the bottom half of the application will be your name, signature, and address.
You then need to write a letter on your organization’s letterhead, signed by you and your client, certifying the client’s identity, status, and willingness to have you apply on their behalf. You must have this letter notarized; a friend, family member or case manager can present their state ID to vouch for your client’s identity.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE LETTER TO REQUEST A BIRTH CERTIFICATE ON BEHALF OF YOUR CLIENT HERE