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Alberta Birth FAQs
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.

Education
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.

Passport
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.

Driver’s Licence
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 longer available.

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 Statistics.

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, when ordered.

Due to new legislative requirements, Alberta Birth Certificate applications cannot be processed using our online service.

Alberta Residents
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:

Edmonton:  780-427-7013
Other Areas (Alberta only):  310-0000, then dial 780-427-7013
Outside Alberta:  780-427-7013
Yellow Pages:  under Licensing and Registry Services

Application for Ordering Birth, Stillbirth and Marriage Documents (pdf)

Non-Alberta Residents
If you currently reside outside of Alberta, you may apply for a Birth Certificate through Registry Connect.

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?

Alberta Residents
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.

Non-Alberta Residents
For non-Alberta residents, Birth Certificates must be obtained through Registry Connect.  There are three options:

  1. Bronze Service:  $39.64
  2. Silver Service:  $39.64 + $25.00 priority processing service fee
  3. Gold Service:  $39.64 + $25.00 priority processing service fee + courier delivery fee 
How long will it take to receive my Alberta Birth Certificate?

Alberta Residents
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.

Non-Alberta Residents
For non-Alberta residents, there are three service options:

  1. Bronze Service:  document sent out by regular mail
  2. Silver Service:  Priority processing of application, document sent out by regular mail
  3. 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 Service option. 

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.

Birth 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?

Photocopy 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.

Registry Agent
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.

Vital Statistics
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?
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 details.

The following is a list of the three basic requirements needed to complete an amendment:

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

2.   Completion 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.

3.   Fees
There is a $20.00 amendment fee when correcting/altering a registration.
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 vary.

Adding Biological Father’s Name
There are two processes by which a father may be added to a birth registration.

1.   Paternity
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). 

2.   Legitimization
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 not apply. 

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.