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Northwest Territories 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.  

How do I order a first time Northwest Territories Birth Certificate?

1.   Click "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 corrections.

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 Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories Birth Certificate cost and how can I pay?

Birth Certificates range in price according to the Province or Territory, whether you want a Short Form or Long Form version, as well as the service option chosen on the order form.  The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard).  

How will my Northwest Territories Birth Certificate be sent to me?

Your Birth Certificate will be sent to you directly from Northwest Territories Vital Statistics Agency.  It will arrive in the mail within 10-20 business days.  

How do I find the status of my Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories Vital Statistics at: 

Toll Free: 1-800-661-0830
Telephone: 867-777-7400  

What types of Birth Certificates are available to order in Northwest Territories?

Short Form Birth Certificate (wallet size):
The Short Form Birth Certificate is required when applying for an adult Canadian passport.  It contains basic information: full name of individual, date of birth, place of birth, sex, registration date and registration number. 

Long Form Birth Certificate (paper size 8.5 x 7”):
The Long Form Birth Certificate contains all the information as stated above, plus the names of parents and birthplaces of parents (province/country only).

Although a Short Form Birth Certificate is a valid legal document, most government agencies prefer the Long Form Birth Certificate as identification as it contains more information concerning your identity, especially in the case of children/minors. 

What is a Restricted Photocopy?

A Restricted Photocopy 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 court.  

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 Northwest Territories Birth Certificate for a birth that occurred a long time ago?

The Northwest Territories Vital Statistics office holds incomplete records from 1925, 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 and are input into a database available 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.  

Who is entitled to apply for a Northwest Territories Birth Certificate?

You can apply for a Northwest Territories Birth Certificate if you are:

  • The person whose name appears on the certificate (16 years of age or older);
  • Parents of the person named on the certificate (if child is under 19 years of age or incapable);
  • A legal guardian of the person named on the certificate if parents are incapable (must submit guardianship papers);
  • A person with a court order;
  • A person who required it to comply with a specific Act or regulation (proof required);
  • Next of kin or an executor, trustee or administrator of the estate for a subject that is deceased (must submit proof of death).  
What should I do in the event that my Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories Birth Certificate?

Yes.  You may choose to order a Short Form Birth Certificate which excludes the names of your parents on the document.  

Can I make an amendment to a Northwest Territories 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.  If you would like to correct an error or omission that was made in the original Registration of Birth, contact the Northwest Territories Vital Statistics Office by calling (867) 777-7400 or by sending an e-mail to hsa@gov.nt.ca.  In some cases, a change or correction to a person's name does not require a legal change of name under the Change of Name Act.  An agent of Vital Statistics will evaluate your request to find out whether your name can be corrected through the amendment process of the Vital Statistics Act.  

Can I laminate my Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories Birth Certificate?

No.  If you were born in Northwest Territories, you need your Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories?

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 Northwest Territories Birth Certificate expire?

No.  Birth Certificates do not expire as long as they remain in good physical condition.