A birth certificate is one of the most important documents your baby will need in their lifetime. With your help providing the necessary information, the hospital will prepare and send a completed certificate to the Department of Public Health for proper registration in the state of California.
Here’s how to obtain a copy of your baby’s birth certificate:
- Email, write or visit your county Department of Vital Records for an order form.
- Some hospitals may provide you with an order form during your hospital stay.
- Provide your baby’s full name, birth date, parents’ names, mother’s maiden (birth) name, and the address to which the certificate is to be sent.
- Be sure to enclose a check or money order as noted.
There's no limit to the number of certificates you can buy. It's recommended that you buy a copy of your baby’s birth certificate as soon as possible, usually about one month after the birth, as it takes about a month for the information to be officially recorded. Please don't send your money or check to the hospital or pay any hospital employee. The money must be paid directly to the Department of Public Health.
If you're not married, California state law requires both parents to sign a Declaration of Paternity form before the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate. If the father is not present, you may add his name to the birth certificate at a later date, after you obtain the proper forms from the department of vital records or county clerk's office.
If you don't name your baby before you leave the hospital, you must request a Supplemental Name Report form from the Department of Public Health. When you've chosen a name, complete the form and send it directly to the mailing address listed on the form. If you submit the form within one year following birth, there's no charge. If you wait more than one year, you'll be charged a fee.