California Birth Certificates

Identity theft is a common problem today. If someone obtains your social security number or birth certificate, they can open banking and credit card accounts in your name. You can end up in thousands of dollars of debt, with your credit status ruined. Many states are now making it more difficult to obtain a birth certificate to try to help prevent such identity theft.

As of July 2003, there are two types of certified copies of California birth certificates. One is a certified copy. This is issued only to certain individuals because it can be used to establish identity. In accordance with California Health and Safety Code 102430, the following may request this certified copy:

  • The person listed on the birth certificate.
  • Anyone entitled to a copy of the birth certificate due to a court order or an attorney or licensed adoption agency that needs the certificate in order to meet the terms of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code.
  • Members of law enforcement or a governmental agencies (as provided by law) who needs the certificate for official business reasons.
  • A child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, spouse, or domestic partner of the person listed on the birth certificate.
  • An attorney representing the estate of the person listed on the birth certificate.
  • Anyone appointed by court to act on the behalf of the person listed on the birth certificate.

If you have been given a power of attorney, you will need to provide a copy of that when requesting the certified copy. When requesting a certified copy, you must also submit a notarized Sworn Statement. This Sworn Statement includes your signature where you state that under penalty of perjury that you are authorized to receive this certified California birth certificate.

California birth certificates can also be a certified informational copy. This has the words "Informational, not valid document to establish identity" stamped across it and these California birth certificates cannot be used to establish identity. However, it contains the same information that appears on the certified copy and you are not required to sign a Sworn Statement in order to get it.

If you have additional questions about obtaining California birth certificates, call your local Department of Health Services.

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