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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate?
On December 3, 2007, Nova Scotia was the first province or territory in
Canada to introduce 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 Nova Scotia 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. Nova Scotia Vital Statistics will not
exchange previous certificates free of charge.
How do I order a first time Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate cost and how can I pay?
Service (15-20 business days):
- Short Form Birth
- Long Form Birth
- Certified Copy: $71.62
Service (8-12 business days):
- Short Form Birth
- Long Form Birth
- Certified Copy: $91.62
The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and
How long will it take to receive my Nova Scotia Birth Certificate?
It will take 15-20 business days with Regular Service or 8-12 business
days with Rush Service.
How will my Nova Scotia Birth Certificate be sent to me?
Your Birth Certificate will be sent to you directly from Nova Scotia
Vital Statistics Agency. It will arrive
in the mail with the Regular Service option, or by courier with the Rush
How do I find the status of my Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia Vital Statistics at:
Toll Free: 1-877-848-2578 (Nova Scotia only)
What types of Birth Certificates are available to order in Nova Scotia?
Form Birth Certificate (12.5 cm x 17.6 cm):
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, registration number and date issued.
Birth Certificate (12.5 cm x 17.6 cm):
The Long Form Birth Certificate contains all the information as stated
above, plus the names of parents and birthplaces of parents (province/country
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 Certified Copy?
A Certified Copy 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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate for a birth that occurred a long time ago?
The Nova Scotia Vital Statistics office holds complete records from
1864, 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. 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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate?
You can apply for a Nova Scotia 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 (must submit guardianship papers);
- Executor of the estate
for a subject that is deceased (must submit proof of death).
What should I do in the event that my Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate?
Yes. You may choose to order a Short
Form Birth Certificate which excludes the names of your parents on the
Can I make an amendment to a Nova Scotia 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 Nova
Scotia Vital Statistics Office by calling (902) 424-4381 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia 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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate?
No. If you were born in Canada,
you need your Canadian 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 Nova Scotia?
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 Nova Scotia Birth Certificate expire?
No. Birth Certificates do not
expire as long as they remain in good physical condition.