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Request a birth certificate

There are three main ways to order a California birth certificate.

Visit a county office

  • You have to apply with the county where the person was born.
  • Cost: $28
  • Processing time: Varies, but could be as soon as the same day
  • You’ll sign a sworn statement in front of a county worker.
  • You may need to bring a driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID from the government that hasn’t expired.

Mail a request

  • You may have to find a notary to sign your application, depending on whether you want an authorized or informational copy.
  • Cost: $25 (plus the price of notarization)
  • Processing time: 3 to 4 weeks or more (expected to take longer in 2020 because of the demand for Real ID)

Apply online

  • You can apply online through the private companies VitalChek and Vital Records Now.
  • Cost: $31–$110
  • Processing time: 2 to 3 weeks

More about requesting a birth certificate.