Ordering a Birth Certificate
What is a birth certificate?
A birth certificate is an official legal document that summarizes a person's birth record. In Pennsylvania, a birth certificate is printed on specialized security paper and contains a raised seal. This document is frequently used to prove identity when applying for a passport, employment, driver's license, social security card and school enrollment.
Our office only issues birth certificates for births that occurred in Pennsylvania since 1906.
You will receive a certified
"No Record Certification of Birth" if you request a certificate and we cannot identify or find a record using the information you provided. Therefore, please provide as much information as possible to assist us in locating the requested birth record.
For birth certificates from other states: If you need a certificate for someone born in another state, see the
National Center for Health Statistics' website for contact information.
How do I apply for a birth certificate?
For online services: You may order a birth certificate online (24 hours/day, 7 days/week) from Pennsylvania's
only authorized vendor at
mycertificates.health.pa.gov. In addition to the standard birth certificate fee of $20, a $10 processing fee also applies. Payment is by credit card. Delivery options are first class mail through the United States Postal Service or pick up at a Vital Records Office.
Please note that the Department of Health processes requests for all orders. Online service providers collect your order and submit it to our office for processing. VitalChek is the only authorized vendor who collects orders on our behalf. All other online service providers convert your orders to a paper application. Therefore, expect a delay in service if you use an online service provider other than VitalChek.
If you ordered through another online vendor and have experienced a problem in obtaining the certificate, you will need to contact that vendor directly for resolution. If you believe a vendor provides inaccurate information about our services or fees, you may contact the consumer protection office in the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office or the consumer protection agency in the state where you reside or the state where the vendor is located for further assistance.
For walk-in services: Please see our
Public Office page for office locations and hours of operation.
For mail services: You may complete an Application for Birth Certificate (PDF) and mail it to the address listed below. All certificates are mailed using First Class Mail®.
Division of Vital Records
Birth Certificate Processing Unit
PO Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103
Who can apply for a birth certificate?
You must meet the following requirements to receive a birth certificate.
- You must complete an
Application for a Birth Certificate.
- You must show
- You must sign your application.
- You must be an eligible applicant. Eligible applicants must be 16 years of age or older for in-person and mail applications. Online applicants must be 18 years or older due to online payment and identity requirements. Eligible applicants include the following:
- Person named on the birth certificate
- Parent or step-parent. A step-parent must also submit a marriage certificate to support the relationship to the person named on the birth certificate
- Brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister
- Son or daughter
- Step-son or step-daughter (must submit the parent's marriage certificate to support the relationship)
- Grandparent or great-grandparent
- Grandchild or great-grandchild
- Power of Attorney
- Attorney or legal representative of the person named on the birth certificate (must provide supporting documentation)
- If the person listed on the birth certificate is deceased, a family member who is not listed above must also submit a copy of the death certificate to be eligible to receive the birth certificate
- You must pay a fee of $20 for each birth certificate ordered unless you meet fee waiver requirements. Fee waivers are available for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and through specific fee-waived paper applications available under the “Forms” section. If ordering online, you must also pay a non-refundable $10 service fee.
How long does it take to get a birth certificate?
If you need a birth certificate quickly, make your request in person at one of our six
Vital Records Branch Offices
or online at mycertificates.health.pa.gov.
Processing Times for current processing times for applications placed online, by telephone or by mail.
Processing times are based upon application receipt date and do not include delivery time. It may take longer if we need to resolve application issues, for genealogical requests, or if your application involves a subpoena, court order or power of attorney. Requests for changes to your birth record may also require additional processing.
What is the cost for a birth certificate?
The cost for a birth certificate is $20 each regardless of the quantity that you order.
This fee is established in accordance with Pennsylvania's Administrative Code of 1929. Payment is deposited upon receipt of your application and is not refundable.
If ordering online, you must also pay a $10 service fee. Fees are non-refundable. Payment may be made by credit card if ordering online or in person at a Vital Records Public Office. If applying by mail, please submit payment in the form of a check or money order made payable to "VITAL RECORDS". Cash is
To qualify for the fee waiver for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, you or your spouse (includes widow/widower if not remarried) must be in active service or was honorably discharged from service. The fee is only waived if you are applying for your birth certificate, your spouse's birth certificate or the birth certificate of a dependent child. Please provide supporting documentation if applying for the fee waiver for a dependent child over 18 years of age. This fee waiver only covers the cost of the birth certificate. The fee waiver does not apply to the online service fees.
How do I get a Report of Live Birth?
The Report of Live Birth is often referred to as the original birth certificate. This is the original report filed with the Department of Health regarding an individual's birth. In accordance with the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, this document is not classified as a public document until 105 years after the individual's birth. As such, this document is not available for disclosure under Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law.
Pennsylvania's statewide vital records program began in 1906. Once a Report of Live Birth has reached maturity (at 105 years of age), the record becomes available through the Pennsylvania State Archives.
Where can I get more information?
If you have questions about Pennsylvania birth certificates, contact the Division of Vital Records using one of the following methods:
Online contact form – Allow two to three business days for a response.
- Call 724-656-3100 or toll-free at 844-228-3516, Mondays through Fridays 7:15 am to 10:00 pm.