FAQs Vital records

Vital Record Information

Everything you need to know about vital records and why you may need them. The difference between long and short forms, as well as, how you can obtain a certified copy. All this and more answered in this section.

A Vital record is a document which records life events, kept and issued by governmental authorities, in this case by the state of birth or death. Some vital record jurisdictions also include records of civil unions or domestic partnerships. In the United States, vital records are typically maintained at both the county and state levels.
A birth certificate is an official notation that includes personal identifiable information that is issued by your state of birth. A birth certificate is often required as a means to legally prove your identity and/or age. Situations when you'll likely be asked to provide your birth certificate include, but are not limited to:
  • Applying for a passport
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Enrolling in some schools
  • Joining the military
  • Claiming pension or insurance benefits
  • Getting your driver's license
  • Getting a replacement Social Security card
  • Genealogy information
  • International use
  • Court proceedings
  • Social security
A death certificate is an official document that records a person’s cause of death along with personal identifiable information (like place of birth, name of parents, address, age at time of death,) that is issued by the state where the death occurred. A death certificate is often required to legally prove the identity of the deceased in order to request certain benefits or for genealogy purposes. Situations when you'll likely be asked to provide a death certificate include, but are not limited to:
  • Estate settlement
  • Pension / Retirement
  • Property transfer
  • Stocks / bonds
  • Genealogy
  • Insurance
  • Benefits (including Veterans benefits)
  • Legal purposes
  • Amendment of a vital record
  • Social security
  • Discharge loan
  • Tax purposes
Birth certificates have two common versions, the short and long form. Both versions contain important information (like place of birth and parents names) and the quantity of amount shown varies from state to state. Depending on the reason for needing the certificate, you may be required to provide a long form.

Short Form Birth Certificate Format

A short form birth certificate contains almost all of the important information that is on a long form birth certificate except it may not have signatures or detailed parents information on it depending on the state location. It is usually used as proof of identity or citizenship. However, some states may not accept this version and require you ro request the long form. If you need the long form you will need to specify that in your application.

Long Form Birth Certificate Format

A long form birth certificate, which is often referred to as the official version, typically has all the information regarding an individual's birth birth. However, the information included varies from state to state (e.g.; time and place of birth, parent’s names,address, signatures of those present at birth, etc.) A long form is often used to start an adoption process, if you are applying for a dual citizenship, or to obtain a passport.

O.V.U.S. (Onlinevitalus) is the fastest and most reliable way to acquire a certified copy of either a birth or death certificate. All vital records ordered through O.V.U.S. (Onlinevitalus) are certified copies and are generally acceptable for proof of citizenship, obtaining a passport, driver's license renewal, etc.

A certified copy of a birth certificate will usually include the following information (valid for obtaining a passport):

  • Issued by the office of vital statistics of the state, county, or city where the birth occurred
  • Show the full name at birth
  • Show the parent's full name(s)
  • Indicate the date and place of birth
  • Bear the embossed, impressed, multi-colored, OR raised seal and signature of the issuing authority (the state that you are ordering the certificate from decides on what type of certification seal to use)
  • Indicate a registration / file date within one year of the birth.

It is very important that if you need your certificate for a Passport application that you select this as the 'Reason' for ordering the record. If you require a certified document for use overseas (Marriage abroad, International Adoption, Dual Citizenship, etc.,) you will need a separate certification referred to as an 'Apostille' or 'Certification Certificate'.

O.V.U.S. (Onlinevitalus) makes the process of requesting vital records easy, safe, and fast! Our application assistance services guarantee you get the right certificate.

Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates have no expiration date. However, if your copy is any way degraded or not all information is clearly visible, then you should consider requesting a new one.

About requesting your birth / death certificate

Everything you need to know about the process of requesting a certified birth or death certificate. All about eligibility and ID requirements and how to request your certified copy of a birth or death certificate.

To request a birth certificate you are required to complete your state’s application form, attach a copy of a photo-ID, pay the state fees, and mail it to Health Department office. Please note, that in some cases the state requires that you have your application notarized.
The request a birth or death certificate you must be eligible (some states’ records are sealed and only provided to direct family members like parents, children, and siblings,) facilitate a copy of a valid photo-ID, that must also include your address and signature (e.g.: photo drivers license, State photo-ID, US Passport,) some states will require that you prove your identity by having your application notarized and mailing the sworn letter along with your application. Instructions on how to have your application notarized are included in our customized instructions package.
To complete your States’ application form you will be required to provide as much information as possible so that the Health Department is able to locate the birth certificate. Information required may include:
  • Full name of person at birth
  • Date of birth
  • Date of Death
  • State of birth or death
  • Sex
  • County or city of birth / death
  • Hospital where birth or death occurred
  • Full maiden name of mother
  • Full name of father
  • Your name
  • Your signature
  • Your relationship to the person whose certificate you are requesting
  • Reason for requesting the certificate
  • Address where the certificate is to be mailed
  • Your daytime phone number
A certified copy of a vital record (birth, death certificate) is issued to an applicant who has a direct and tangible interest in the record. All direct family members, and those with legal interest (court order) may request birth or death certificates.
Yes. Most States offer the possibility to complete and send your application form in Spanish. If you need to send your application in Spanish, or if you want to know if your State offers this service, please contact us so we can help you.
If you can't find your original copy, you will have to apply to get a new certified copy of a birth / death certificate. To replace a birth / death certificate you will have to complete an application form, make a copy of the ID required, pay the government fees and mail in your application to the Health Department. Please note that some States may require that you verify your identity by having your application notarized.
A birth certificate is a common form of identification your child will use throughout his life. The process of getting a birth certificate for your newborn begins at the hospital when you provide information to a nurse or midwife so she can complete the birth certificate application for you. If you do not apply for the certificate in the hospital, you may do so by using our services. We will provide you with all of the instructions on how to submit your application to your local Vital Records Office. In either case, because many states will not automatically send you a copy of the birth certificate, taking proactive steps to get a certified copy now can save time when you need require it for identification purposes.
If you have changed your name due to adoption, you may be required to have a court order to successfully change your name. This just means you’ll be required to prove who you are, and in most cases you’ll have to include why you’ve decided to rename yourself. Please note that, a name change due to marriage doesn’t require a legal name change on your birth certificate.
When a child is born, the state of birth issues an original birth certificate (also known as OBC). However, when a child is adopted, a new certificate is issued, an amended birth certificate (or ABC). An ABC shows any or all of the information on the original but replaces the birth parents’ names with those of the adoptive parents, as well as the child’s name if it is being changed. The OBC is usually sealed by the court along with the other adoption papers. The original birth certificate is generally not available to the adopted person. Please keep in mind that not all birth certificates are equal, some states may change information when issuing amended birth certificates, for example showing place of birth as the residence of adoptive parents, even if that differs from the actual place of birth. The information included and format can vary greatly from state to state.

About birth / death certificate processing times and fees

How long it takes and how much it costs to request a certified copy of a vital record. Everything you need to know about your state fees and processing times and rush services.

The fees for birth and death certificates vary from state to state. Check all the information regarding the vital records fee of your state.
O.V.U.S. (Onlinevitalus) charges a transparent service of $49 fee for our filing assistance service.
Our fees include :
  • All 50 states forms that guarantee the fastest, easiest, and most reliable services
  • Our filing assistance service includes the filled out form as well as a verification process from one of our expert team members
  • Dedicated Customer Service 24/7
  • Customized instructions
  • Your certificate in your hand guaranteed!.
Processing of vital records applications varies from state to state. Each state’s turnaround time depends on number of applications received. Check all the information regarding the processing times of your state.
Some states offer Rush Service, this may include rush processing or expedited mailing service, or only one of the two. If your state offer this option and you wish to request it but didn’t at the time you submitted the form you can contact us and we will amend it for you.
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