How to Get a Birth Certificate

The Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records holds birth records dating back to 1906. The most common reasons a person may request a certified copy of a birth certificate include the following:

  • To serve as proof of identity
  • To apply for a passport
  • For employment purposes

Pennsylvania allows individuals to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate in three ways: online, in person or by mail.  Find the method that is most convenient for you below.

Online – The state of Pennsylvania uses VitalChek as its only service provider for birth certificates. In order to obtain a certified copy, you must visit the VitalCheck website and follow the steps on the screen.

In Person – In Pennsylvania, you can order a certified copy of a birth certificate at six different public offices. You will need to present proper photo identification, as well as payment for any fees and a completed application. You can currently obtain a certified copy at any of the office branches listed below:

  • Harrisburg
  • New Castle
  • Pittsburgh
  • Scranton
  • Philadelphia
  • Erie

By Mail – To make your request by mail, your must complete an Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record. On the application, you will be required to enter information about the person requesting the record, as well as information about the person on the requested record. Additionally, you must attached a copy of a photo ID, such as your drivers license, and include the appropriate fee. For your form to be considered valid, you must also provide your signature.

Send your application for birth certificates in PA to this address:

Division of Vital Records Attn: Birth Unit P.O. Box 1528 New Castle, PA 16103

Who May Request a Copy of a Birth Certificate

Pennsylvania only releases a certified copy of a birth certificate to persons that are deemed eligible. If you fall under the list below, you can make your request online, in person or by mail. Eligible individuals include the following:

  • Person on birth certificate
  • Spouse
  • Child/Children
  • Maternal or paternal grandparent or great-grandparent
  • Grandchild or great-grandchild
  • Biological sibling or half-sibling
  • Parent or step-parent (Step-parent must present marriage record to confirm relationship)
  • Power of attorney for person on birth certificate
  • Legal attorney

Correcting Birth Certificate Information

In order to properly request a modification to a birth certificate, an Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record must be filled out. Additionally, the person requesting a correction on birth certificates must submit a copy of his or her photo ID, along with payment for fees. The Pennsylvania Department of Health encourages individuals to enlarge their photo identification copy by at least 150 percent, so it is fully legible.

If you would like to mail out your Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record in Pennsylvania, note it can take up to three months to process. Online birth certificate orders take two to 20 business days. You may also submit a correction request in person by visiting one of six public offices in Pennsylvania. For further information, go to the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.