Did you like how we did? Rate your experience!



46 votes

Is a birth certificate a legal document?

Birth certificates should never be used as an ID because there is nothing on the certificate that identifies the bearer of the certificate as the person named on it. The only identifying characteristic about a birth certificate is that the holder has it, and states require identification before giving someone a certificate although family members can get certificates for each other. Most birth certificate fraud in the US consists of someone using a real birth certificate that belongs to someone else. (Some birth certificates in the past had infant footprints on them, but those change over time and cant be reliably used for identification.) With that said, various state regulations allow a birth certificate as a form of ID, as a feeder document to get something that is really an ID. This is because of the basic problem in the US that we dont have a national ID system. For example, to get a drivers license in Virginia (which IS a photo ID), one has to provide proof of identity and legal presence, proof of residence, and proof of social security number if you have one. This is what the rules say about proof of identity: Official birth document issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory (birth documents issued by a hospital; notifications of birth registration; and Puerto Rico birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 are not accepted). The reason that those Puerto Rican birth certificates are not accepted is because of rampant fraud where people had certificates that werent theirs. To obtain a US passport one usually needs a birth certificate too, but in addition there must also be proof of identity. For more on birth certificate fraud, see: Birth Certificate Fraud | Report of the Inspector General DHHS

Loading, please wait...