FAQs About Certificates

Visit our frequently asked questions about required information, identification documents, fees, and more below.

  • What is a birth certificate?

    Birth certificates serve as official documents printed on certified security paper and used for legal purposes to prove a life event. Uses include providing identity, citizenship, and relationship to others in order to get a passport or driver's license, adding a child to health insurance, enrolling a child in school, or obtaining social security or other benefits and services.

  • How long does it take?

    It depends on the shipping method you select. Most "regular shipping" orders ship within four to six weeks. "Expedited shipping" orders may take three business days after processing is complete. These timeframes start after we receive full payment and all required documentation. Missing information or documentation will delay orders.

  • How do I get a birth certificate if I filled out paperwork at the hospital or birth center?

    If you have not submitted a request for a birth certificate by placing an order online, phone, mail, or in person and submitted ID and proof of eligible documentation, you will not receive a birth certificate.

    New parents complete a birth form at the hospital or birth center after delivery, not an application to order a birth certificate. The first birth certificate issued for a birth is not free, and hospitals and birth centers cannot order a birth certificate on your behalf. The hospital may have provided you with your local county health department birth certificate order form, which requires a fee.

  • Does the ROVER service provide certificates for individuals born in states other than Georgia?

    No. To obtain contact information for vital records in other states, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/.

  • Do you provide an original certificate or a certified copy?

    Customers may order only certified copies through the Request Official Vital Event Records (ROVER) service.

  • What if I have only some of the information required to request a search for a vital record?

    Please contact the state of Georgia's Vital Records Call Center at 404.679.4702 prior to placing your order.

  • Who is authorized to order a birth certificate?

    The person whose name appears on the birth certificate as the registrant may order a birth certificate. Additionally, a legal spouse, parents named on the certificate, grandparents, adult children or adult siblings, and legal guardians or legal representatives may do so.

  • Who is authorized to order a death certificate?

    The spouse, adult children or adult siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren, or those with a "tangible interest," such as a beneficiary or insurance company, may order an official death certificate. Members of the public may order the death record of anyone who has died in Georgia and will receive plain paper copies of the record with the Social Security number redacted.

  • Whose responsibility is it to upload identification documents?

    It is the certificate requestor's responsibility to upload a valid photo ID in a standard format, along with any required documents in a legible format. Any unclear documents will delay the processing of the certificate request and no refunds will be granted. Acceptable image formats are pdf, jpeg, jpg, png, or gif.

  • What information do I need to have before I can order a certificate online?
    • The full name of the individual on the certificate
      • Middle names are requested but not required
    • The date of that individual's birth or death
    • The city or county where the birth or death took place
    • The full name of the father if one is listed on the birth certificate
    • The full maiden name of the mother if one is listed on the birth certificate
    • Your current state-issued driver's license or ID card
      • You will need to be able to reference the actual card
    • Your social security number
    • Your date of birth
    • Your address
  • What type of photo ID is required to receive a certificate?
    • Driver's license issued by a state, jurisdiction or territory of the United States
    • Identification card issued by a state, jurisdiction or territory of the United States
    • U.S. Passport
    • Foreign Passport
    • U.S. Military Identification, Military Dependent Identification, Veteran Identification
    • Consulate card
    • Transportation ID
    • Voter registration card
    • Employer ID card
    • School, university or college ID
    • DMV ID card issued by a state
    • Department of Corrections ID card issued by a state

    The requestor may be asked to provide additional documentation at the time the order is processed.

  • How should I submit my required proof of identification?

    An upload of the photo ID will be required during the ordering process, so please have your photo ID available along with any additional, required documentation when placing your order.

    Non-family members of the registrant will be required to provide two separate forms of ID; these include a photo ID as well as documentation verifying legal guardianship or legal representation, such as court records.

    Follow these steps to prepare your photo ID and additional documentation for upload.

    1. Scan and save the documents to your computer in a pdf, jpeg, jpg, png or gif format. You may prefer to use your smartphone or digital camera to take a picture of your ID, then upload it to your computer, and save it in one of the formats indicated above.
    2. If you have documentation, save it in a pdf format.

    Follow these steps to upload your documents to the ROVER application when prompted.

    1. In the “Upload Primary Photo ID” section, select your relationship to the registrant from the drop-down menu. If you are ordering your own certificate, select “Self”.
    2. Next, select the type of identification you will be providing from the “ID Type” menu.
    3. Enter your photo ID number. For example, if you are uploading your driver’s license as the primary photo ID, you will enter your driver’s license number.
    4. Click “Choose Primary Photo ID file to Upload” to upload your image from the saved file on your computer, or you may drag the image to the screen where it indicates “Drag and Drop Photo ID Image Here”. Once you have uploaded your image, you will see a confirmation that your photo ID was uploaded successfully. Please ensure that the image you have uploaded is clear and legible. If necessary, you may delete the image and upload a clearer one.

    Complete the additional steps below only if you are not a family member of the registrant and you are the legal guardian or legal representative of the registrant.

    1. Below the primary photo ID, add your supporting documentation where it indicates “Click Here to Add or Upload Another Document.”
    2. Under “Add Support Document”, select your ID type as “Other”. Enter your ID number/description in the fields below.
    3. Click “Choose Support Document to Upload” to upload your saved pdf file. The first page of your pdf document will display on the screen as well as a confirmation to let you know that your file(s) was successfully uploaded.

    Click “Continue” at the bottom of the screen and you will be taken to the “Order Summary Page” to complete your order.

  • What are the fees associated with ordering a birth or death certificate online?

    There is a $25 search fee for one certified copy, plus an $8 processing fee. These fees are non-refundable. Additional copies of the same certificate are $5.00 when ordered at the same time.

  • What additional fees may be incurred with the online order of one birth or death certificate?

    Expedited processing and shipping is available for a fee of $10 per order. It takes up to five business days to ship an expedited order after all required documents have been received. Expedited service is not available to post office boxes or army (APO), diplomatic (DPO), or fleet (FPO) post offices.

    International expedited shipping is available.

  • How do I pay when ordering a certificate online?

    ROVER currently accepts all major debit and credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express). Follow the prompts to submit your payment and make sure to use the correct payment information when making a payment to avoid errors.

  • What is the explanation of "Pen in Hand"?

    A Pen in Hand certificate is a certified copy of a birth certificate with the original signature of an authorized staff member of the state of Georgia's Vital Records Office. Pen in Hand certificates are generally required for travel outside the United States and may be required to obtain an Apostille.

  • What happens if no record is located?

    You will receive an official letter indicating that we have no record on file. The search fee of $25 and the processing fee of $8 are not refunded.

  • For which legal proceedings are certificates available?

    Legitimating, corrections, amendments, paternity acknowledgments, delayed births, adoptions, and court-ordered changes.

  • Whom should I contact with questions concerning a certificate?

    Please contact the state of Georgia's Vital Records Call Center at (404) 679-4702.

  • What are the penalties for providing false information concerning vital records?

    In accordance with O.C.G.A. 31-10-31, a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both, shall be imposed on:

    1. Any person who willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in a certificate, record, or report required by this chapter, or in an application for an amendment thereof, or in an application for a certified copy of a vital record or who willfully and knowingly supplies false information intending that such information be used in the preparation of any such report, record, or certificate, or amendment thereof;
    2. Any person who without lawful authority and with the intent to deceive makes, counterfeits, alters, amends, or mutilates any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or a certified copy of such certificate, record, or report;
    3. Any person who willfully and knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, sells, furnishes, or attempts to obtain, possess, use, sell, or furnish to another, for any purpose of deception, any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or certified copy thereof so made, counterfeited, altered, amended, or mutilated or which is false in whole or in part or which relates to the birth of another person, whether living or deceased;
    4. Any employee of the State Office of Vital Records, or appointed local registrar or local custodian or special abstracting agent who willfully and knowingly furnishes or processes a certificate of birth, or certified copy of a certificate of birth, with the knowledge or intention that it be used for the purposes of deception; or
    5. Any person who without lawful authority possesses any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or a copy or certified copy of such certificate, record, or report knowing same to have been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
  • How will I get my certificate?

    All orders are shipped directly from the Georgia Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records by USPS or our expedited shipping vendor.

  • Are certificates shipped to post office boxes?

    Regular orders can be shipped to post office boxes; however, expedited orders cannot be shipped to post office boxes.

  • How long will the delivery take?

    We engage the service of the US Post Office and delivery vendors in an attempt to get the certificate to you as soon as possible. Once they have been processed and packaged, they are sent out for delivery.

    Typically, our shipping times are below:

    • Most regular orders take four to six weeks to be processed
      • They are mailed after processing
    • Expedited processing takes up to five business days to be completed and shipping takes two to three days after your order is shipped
  • Can I track the status of my request online?

    We do not currently have an online function for checking the status of a request. You will have to contact the office by calling (404) 679-4702.

  • How do I correct or amend a birth record?

    There are two types of corrections performed at the state Office of Vital Records. The correction request forms must be accurately completed.

    CYC

    Current year corrections (CYC) are defined as corrections made to the certificate within one year of the child's birthday. There is no charge for current year corrections.

    General amendments

    A general amendment is defined as a change that is made to a certificate after one year of age. Amendments can occur due to a legal name change, adoption, legitimation, adding of a spouse, and paternity acknowledgement.

  • How do I get an apostille certified birth certificate?

    If your documents are going to a country that is a member of the Hague Convention, please contact the Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Authority at (404) 327-6023 to find out the requirements for obtaining an apostille certification.

  • I adopted a child and would like to have the birth certificate changed to the new information. What do I need to do?

    A general amendment is defined as a change that is made to a certificate after one year of age. Amendments can occur to due a legal name change, adoption, legitimation, adding of a spouse, and paternity acknowledgement. If an adoption has been granted for a child who was born in Georgia, please complete the certificate of adoption form on the Georgia Department of Public Health website.

  • How do I file for an out of institution newborn birth certificate?

    In any case where a birth occurs outside a hospital or other recognized medical facility without medical attendance, and the birth certificate is filed by someone other than a health care provider, additional evidence in support of the facts of birth shall be completed and filed in the presence of the local vital records registrar in the county where the birth occurred. For the out of institution birth packet, consult the Georgia Department of Public Health website.

  • How else can I order vital records?

    Georgia vital records are available through other methods as described on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website.

  • My birth certificate was not registered when I was born. Can I get a delayed birth certificate?

    If you were born in Georgia and believe that you never had a birth certificate, you should still follow the instructions to request a certified copy from the Georgia Office of Vital Records. If no record of your birth is located, the Georgia Office of Vital Records will send you a letter certifying that no record is on file. Many agencies that ask for a birth certificate will accept this certified letter from the state of Georgia in place of a birth certificate.

    If you have received a letter certifying that no record of your birth is on file, you may ask that a delayed registration of birth be filed. You will be required to furnish old documents as evidence to prove the facts of your birth. Contact the Georgia Office of Vital Records for more detailed information.