Why do I need a Birth Certificate?
A Birth Certificate is one of the most important vital documents that any person should have and will be required at several points through a person’s life. The general purpose a Birth Certificate serves is to identify a person. The document tells the person's name, date of birth and where they were born. A Birth Certificate also serves as basic proof of citizenship and is often required as identification for government services or applying for other personal documents. Because a Birth Certificate is such a valuable document, it should always be kept in a safe place where it can be easily accessed when needed. It is highly recommended that you do not carry your Birth Certificate in your wallet or purse as thousands of certificates are reported lost or stolen every month.
A Birth Certificate is required to identify children when they enrol at a new school. This may be important when registering for kindergarten or if a family moves to a new district.
If a person desires to travel outside of the country, he must have a valid passport. Birth Certificates are required to identify the traveler in order to obtain a passport.
Social Security Card
A Birth Certificate contains the required information necessary to obtain a social security card. If a card is lost or stolen, a certified copy of the Birth Certificate is needed to get a replacement.
When someone wishes to be issued a driver's license, a Birth Certificate is usually one of the forms of identification required to complete the process and gain the privileges of a licensed driver.
What is the new security enhanced Alberta Birth Certificate?
On February 1, 2008, Alberta introduced a new, more secure and durable
Birth Certificate. The new Birth
Certificate is made from a strong polymer material and has more than 20 visible
and concealed security features to help prevent identity theft.
Experts in identity theft discourage carrying a Birth Certificate in a
purse or wallet. The size of the new certificate is 12.5 cm wide x 17.6 cm
high, which makes carrying it in a wallet or purse prohibitive. The wallet size Birth Certificate is no
Individuals may choose to include or exclude parents' information on
their Birth Certificate.
Those born in Alberta are not required to obtain a new Birth Certificate
as the old ones remain valid. However,
in some instances, where identity security is of utmost importance, citizens
may be asked by other agencies to provide the new more secure document as proof
of identity or citizenship. Alberta
Vital Statistics will not exchange previous certificates free of charge.
How do I order a first time Alberta Birth Certificate?
Every child born in Alberta must be registered before applying for
a Birth Certificate. The
Birth Registration should be left with the hospital where the child was born,
so that the document can be forwarded from there to Vital Statistics. The Birth Registration must be sent to
the Vital Statistics office within 10 days of the date of the child's
birth. Only under special
circumstances can the parent(s) mail this registration directly to Vital
The Registration of Birth form becomes a permanent legal record of
the birth event. It is very important that it be completed fully and
accurately. The information
recorded on the Registration of Birth is used to produce Birth Certificates,
Due to new legislative requirements, Alberta Birth Certificate
applications cannot be processed using our online service.
Alberta Vital Statistics services are provided through
privately run registry agents. If
you are an Alberta resident, you must apply for your Birth Certificate in
person through an Alberta Registry Agent. For additional information about
registry agents, please contact:
Other Areas (Alberta only): 310-0000, then dial 780-427-7013
Outside Alberta: 780-427-7013
Yellow Pages: under Licensing and
Application for Ordering
Birth, Stillbirth and Marriage Documents (pdf)
If you currently reside outside of Alberta, you may apply for a Birth
Certificate through Registry
Registry Connect Application for Vital Statistics Documents (pdf)
How do I order a replacement Alberta Birth Certificate?
You may order a replacement Birth Certificate in the same way as a first
time Birth Certificate (see above). The
application is the same for both types of orders.
How much does an Alberta Birth Certificate cost?
For Alberta residents, Birth Certificates must be obtained through the Registry Agent Network. In addition to the government fee of $20.00,
registry agents are authorized to charge a service fee.
For non-Alberta residents, Birth Certificates must be obtained through Registry Connect. There are three options:
- Bronze Service: $39.64
- Silver Service: $39.64 + $25.00 priority processing
- Gold Service:
$39.64 + $25.00 priority processing service fee + courier delivery
How long will it take to receive my Alberta Birth Certificate?
Once a registry agent submits a request or the Vital Statistics office
receives an application, it is usually processed within two to three business
days provided there is no additional information required.
For non-Alberta residents, there are three service options:
- Bronze Service: document sent out by regular mail
- Silver Service: Priority processing of application,
document sent out by regular mail
- Gold Service:
Rush processing of application, document sent out by rush courier
How will my Alberta Birth Certificate be sent to me?
Your Birth Certificate will be sent to you directly from Alberta Vital
Statistics Agency. It will arrive in the
mail with the Bronze or Silver Service option, or by courier with the Gold
How do I find the status of my Alberta Birth Certificate application?
If you are following up on the status of an already ordered certificate,
as the applicant, you will need to contact the government agency directly. They will only discuss the status of the
application with the applicant. Please
contact Alberta Vital Statistics at:
Alberta Residents: 780-427-7013
Non-Alberta Residents: 780-415-2225
What types of Birth Certificates are available to order in Alberta?
Birth Certificate with Personal Info Only (12.5 cm
x 17.6 cm):
The Personal Info Only Birth Certificate contains
basic information: full name of individual, date of birth, place of birth, sex,
registration number, and registration date.
Certificate with Personal Info and Parentage (12.5 cm x 17.6 cm):
The Personal Info and Parentage Birth Certificate contains all the
information as stated above, plus the names of parents and birthplaces of
parents (province/country only).
Although a Birth Certificate with Personal Info
Only is a valid legal document, most government agencies prefer the Birth
Certificate with Personal Info and Parentage as identification as it contains
more information concerning your identity, especially in the case of children/minors.
What is a Photocopy of Registration?
of Registration (21.5 cm x 28 cm):
A photocopy contains all the information appearing on the original
Registration of Birth. Photocopies are
rarely needed by citizens and are, by law, for restricted use only. They are generally only required for
genealogical, court or consulate purposes.
They are not for use as identification.
What if I am uncertain of my date of birth?
Birth Certificates are issued using the information from the original
Registration of Birth, completed at the time of birth. If you are not certain of your date of birth,
you may order a search letter. A search
letter only states that according to the Vital Statistics office, an event
either is or is not recorded. No actual
information is provided or confirmed. Each
search letter covers the year requested, the year prior and the year after, for
a total of 3 years.
Can I obtain an Alberta Birth Certificate for a birth that occurred a long time ago?
The Alberta Vital Statistics office holds complete records from 1898,
when civil registration began. Birth
records remain there until they are more than 70 years old which means they are
no longer within the restricted period.
These unrestricted death records are then transferred to the Provincial Archives of Alberta
which is available to the public for searching.
However, the Vital Statistics office cautions that not everything in the
original record has been transcribed. To
get all of the details, it is necessary to order a copy of the original
document. Also, the information which
was collected has varied over the years, with more recent records containing
more details than those which are older.
For example, the Vital Statistics office have some incomplete church
records that date further back than their civil registration records, which
their staff may be able to search if the applicant knows the denomination of
the person whose birth record they are seeking.
Who is entitled to apply for an Alberta Birth Certificate?
You can apply for an Alberta Birth Certificate if you are:
- The person whose name
appears on the certificate;
- Parents of the person
named on the certificate;
- A legal guardian of the
person named on the certificate.
What should I do in the event that my Birth Certificate is lost or stolen?
You may complete a Declaration of Lost or Stolen Birth Certificate
form. The filing of this Declaration
provides the authority for the cancellation of a certificate under Section 40.1
(2) (c) of the Vital Statistics Act.
This service is provided free of charge.
It is important to note the use of a lost or stolen Birth Certificate by
another individual cannot be prevented by the Vital Statistics Agency. However, Vital Statistics does electronically
verify Birth Certificate information with programs such as ICBC. In the event a verification request is
received, Vital Statistics will notify them the certificate is invalid.
You may also wish to contact the local police to report your lost
certificate in the event it has been turned in, or if you suspect you have been
a victim of identity theft. Contact RCMP
PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501.
If I have a French name, should I include the accents on my Alberta Birth Certificate application?
Yes. If the birth record contains
any French accents on the registered names, please ensure they are clearly
displayed on the Birth Certificate application form.
Can I exclude my parents’ names from my Alberta Birth Certificate?
Yes. You may choose to order an
Alberta Birth Certificate with Personal Information Only which excludes the
names of your parents on the document.
Can I make an amendment to an Alberta Birth Certificate?
Yes. When corrections need to be made to an Alberta birth
record, specific procedures must be followed because the records being amended
are legal documents. These legal documents are called registrations and were
created when the birth occurred.
How do I request an amendment to a registration?
Alberta amendments may be
requested through a registry agent or by writing directly to Vital Statistics.
Request the amendment
through the registry agent network if you notice an error on the registration
at the time you are ordering a Birth Certificate. As the legal registration documents are not
located at the registry agent office, all requests for amendment will be
reviewed by the Vital Statistics office.
Write directly to Vital
Statistics at Box 2023, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4W7 if you want to request only a
correction to a registration. Your
written request should include the following information:
- Full name of the person making the application
- The relationship between the person making the
application, and the person whose
document is being corrected
- Full return address of the applicant
- What type of correction is being requested
- Signature of the person making the application
- Date the application is being madePhone number or contact phone number of the
person making the application
- All pertinent event details pertaining to the
person who's record is being amended (e.g. full name, date of event, place
of event, parents full information)
What will Vital Statistics need to process the amendment?
The following is a list of the three basic requirements needed to
complete an amendment:
Once Vital Statistics
receives your request for a correction, they will review the original
registration and send you a letter outlining the requirements and documentation
needed to proceed. If all the required
information is not supplied, your request will be returned for the additional
1. Proof to
Support the Requested Correction
The type of evidence Vital Statistics will ask for
depends on the type of correction, for example, names, dates, places, etc. Proof to support a correction may include:
- Birth record for a parent
- Baptismal/christening certificate
- School/health records
- Immigration papers
of a Statutory Declaration
Vital Statistics will partially prepare a statutory
declaration. The statutory declaration
must be reviewed by you and signed in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths
or a Notary Public.
There is a $20.00 amendment fee when correcting/altering
Exception: A fee is not applicable when the amendment
request is made within 90 days from the date of the event.
Note: The process/requirements explained above are
often unacceptable when a request is made to change a last name. Correcting/altering a last name becomes more
involved. It is advisable to contact the
Vital Statistics office with your specific situation, as circumstances will
Adding Biological Father’s Name
There are two processes by which a father may be added to a birth registration.
If the biological parents of the child are not married to each other, the process is called a paternity. Vital Statistics will prepare and send you all the necessary documents to sign. Both parents must sign the documents unless one parent is deceased (Death Certificate required as proof).
If the biological parents of the child have married each other after the child is born, the process is called a legitimization. Vital Statistics will prepare and send you all the necessary documents to sign. You will be required to produce a Marriage Certificate as supporting documentation.
Through the paternity and
legitimization process, a child’s last name may be changed to the father’s last
name, the mother’s last name, or a combination of the two combined or
hyphenated (order optional).
Can I laminate my Alberta Birth Certificate?
No. You cannot laminate your Birth Certificate yourself because it will render it invalid. However some provinces, like Ontario, used to laminate certificates before the 1980s, and providing the provincial government laminated the document it remains valid. Today many provinces now issue laminated wallet sized Birth Certificates.
Can I travel to the United States using only my Alberta Birth Certificate?
No. This used to be possible, but
under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a Canadian Birth Certificate is
no longer considered valid proof of identity when traveling between Canada and
the United States. Children in school
parties can still use their Birth Certificates, but anyone else planning to
cross the border must have a valid travel document like a Canadian passport,
enhanced driver’s licence or a NEXUS card.
Can I get a Canadian Passport without my Alberta Birth Certificate?
No. If you were born in Alberta,
you need your Alberta Birth Certificate to obtain a Canadian Passport. In extremely rare exceptions will this rule
Is it possible for my child to travel before he is registered in Alberta?
Yes. If your newborn is required
to travel before the birth is registered, you may obtain a Temporary
Confirmation of Birth Letter through the city clerks’ office in the
municipality in which the baby was born.
You may travel using this document for up to 90 days after the date you
submitted the Statement of Live Birth document.
At least one parent must appear in person and provide identification to
obtain a Temporary Confirmation of Birth Letter. There may be fees for this
service, which are set and collected by individual municipalities.
Does my Alberta Birth Certificate expire?
No. Birth Certificates do not
expire as long as they remain in good physical condition.