Why do I need a Birth Certificate?
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
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.
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 British Columbia Birth Certificate?
On January 2, 2008, British Columbia 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 British Columbia 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. British Columbia Vital Statistics will not
exchange previous certificates free of charge.
How do I order a first time British Columbia Birth Certificate?
"Select Certificate Type" or "Get It Now" button on home page. Follow
the prompts to select the proper certificate and Province/Territory you
were born in.
2. Click the "Apply Online" button.
3. Complete the information on the Online Application which will guide you through several Steps and pay using your credit card.
4. You will
receive an order confirmation email from us within an hour. We will then go on to process your
application according to the service option you have chosen. If there are any problems with
your application, a representative will contact you via email with the required
5. Your Birth
Certificate will either arrive in the mail, or by courier, depending on the
service option chosen.
How do I order a replacement British Columbia 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 a British Columbia Birth Certificate cost and how can I pay?
A British Columbia Personal Info Only / Personal Info & Parentage
- $62.00 with the Regular
Service option (15-20 business days)
- $95.00 with the Rush
Service option (5-10 business days)
A British Columbia Registration Photocopy costs:
- $85.00 with the Regular
Service option (25-30 business days)
- $95.00 with the Rush
Service option (5-10 business days)
The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and
How long will it take to receive my British Columbia Birth Certificate?
A Birth Certificate will take 15-20 business days with the Regular
Service option or 5-10 days with the Rush Service option.
A Registration Photocopy will take 25-30 business days with the Regular
Service option or 5-10 days with the Rush Service option.
How will my British Columbia Birth Certificate be sent to me?
Your Birth Certificate will be sent
to you by mail directly from British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency.
How do I find the status of my British Columbia 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 British Columbia Vital Statistics at:
Toll Free: 1-800-663-8328 (BC only)
What types of Birth Certificates are available to order in British Columbia?
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?
A Photocopy of Registration is a certified photocopy of the original
Registration of Birth, completed at the time of birth. It contains all the information appearing on
the Registration of Birth and is usually required for legal purposes. Photocopies are rarely needed by citizens and
are, by law, for restricted use only.
They are not recommended for use as identification. A restricted photocopy can only be issued if
authorized by the Registrar General of Vital Statistics or on the order of a
What if I am uncertain of my date of birth?
Birth Certificates are issued using the information from the original
Registration of Birth. If you are not
certain of your date of birth, fill out the estimated date of birth on the
Birth Certificate application. If no
record of the birth is found for that date, the fee will be applied to the
search process. If no record of the
birth is found during the search process, you will receive a letter advising
you that a record is not available.
Can I obtain a British Columbia Birth Certificate for a birth that occurred a long time ago?
The British Columbia Vital Statistics office holds complete records from
1872, when civil registration began.
Birth records remain there until they are more than 100 years old which
means they are no longer within the restricted period. These unrestricted death records are then
transferred to the Provincial
Archives of British Columbia 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 a British Columbia Birth Certificate?
Eligibility requirements vary by Province or Territory. Please select a Province or Territory where
the birth occurred to confirm whether you are eligible to apply on behalf of
What should I do in the event that my British Columbia 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 British Columbia 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 British Columbia Birth Certificate?
Yes. You may choose to order a British
Columbia Birth Certificate with Personal Information Only which excludes the names
of your parents on the document.
Can I make an amendment to a British Columbia Birth Certificate?
Yes. Occasionally birth records
need to be amended, when an error has been made or for another reason, such as
adding the father’s name. Proof, such as
a certified photocopy (i.e. Citizenship Cards and Birth Certificates) is
required to amend a birth record. To
change or correct an error to an existing birth registration, download and
complete the form called Statutory Declaration –
Correction of Error or Omission in Registration.
You may also get the forms at a Vital Statistics or Service BC office. You will need to have your signature
witnessed by a person authorized to take oaths.
This service is available at any Vital Statistics or Government Agent
The fee for making corrections to a Birth Registration (not including
certificate) is $27.00.
Can I laminate my British Columbia 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 British Columbia 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 British Columbia Birth Certificate?
No. If you were born in British
Columbia, you need your British Columbia 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 British Columbia?
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 British Columbia Birth Certificate expire?
No. Birth Certificates do not
expire as long as they remain in good physical condition.