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​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 birth's registered with Pennsylvania's Vital Records Office.

You will receive a certified "Statement of No Birth Record Found" if you request a certificate and the Vital Records Office cannot identify or find a record using the information you provide. Therefore, please provide as much information as possible to assist us in locating the birth record you are applying for.

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 www.vitalchek.com.  In addition to the standard birth certificate fee of $20, a $10 processing fee also applies.  Payment is by credit card.  Select First Class Mail® or UPS as your shipping option.

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 collections 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 telephone services:  You may order a birth certificate by calling VitalChek, Pennsylvania's authorized service provider at 866-712-8238 (24 hours/day, 7 days/week).  In addition to the standard birth certificate fee of $20, a $10 processing fee also applies.  Payment is by credit card.  Select First Class Mail® or UPS as your shipping option.

For in-person services:  You may order a birth certificates in person (8 am to 4 pm weekdays, excluding state holidays) at one of our six Vital Records Public Offices.  Same day service is available at our Erie, Harrisburg, New Castle, Pittsburgh and Scranton locations if you apply by 2 pm. Bring along a completed Application for Birth Certificate (PDF) or complete an application upon your arrival.  Payment is only by check or money order made payable to "Vital Records".  Cash and credit cards are not accepted.

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®.  If you require expedited shipping, please apply online and select "UPS" as your shipping option.  

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 valid identification.
  • You must sign your application.
  • You must be an eligible application.  Eligible applicants include the following:
    • Person named on the birth certificate, if 18 years of age or older.  If under 18 years of age, an immediate family member listed below must apply.
    • Spouse
    • 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 the fee waiver requirements for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. If ordering online, you must also pay a non-refundable $10 service fee and applicable delivery fees if selecting UPS overnight shipping. 

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 www.vitalchek.com.  

See our 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 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 and applicable delivery fees if selecting UPS overnight shipping.  Fees are non-refundable. Payment may be made by credit card if ordering online or by telephone.  If applying in person or by mail, please submit payment in the form of a check or money order made payable to "VITAL RECORDS". Cash is not accepted.

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 to the online service fees or UPS delivery 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 8:30 am to 10:00 pm.