- Introduction: Your Child’s Birth Certificate
- Completing the Birth Certificate
- Filing a Birth Certificate
- Correcting a Birth Certificate
- Obtaining a Copy of a Birth Certificate
- Birth Certificate Order Form
Introduction: Your Child’s Birth Certificate
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS BORN, you will be asked to provide information for a very important document—your child’s birth certificate.
The birth certificate is used throughout a person’s lifetime. It is the chief legal source of information on your child’s proper name, place of birth, and parents. It will be used to provide proof of age and identity for many events in life: entering school, getting a driver’s license, passport or marriage license, tracing family history, receiving retirement benefits, etc.
In most cases, your physician or midwife will complete the birth certificate from the information you give, and from your medical records. The information provided on this page will help you provide the correct information. If your baby was born without a medical professional present, you may call the Vital Records staff at 802-863-7275 or (within Vermont) 800-439-5008. They will assist you in completing your birth certificate.
If you have questions after reading this material or would like to know more, please call, visit or write to Vital Records, Vermont Department of Health, P.O. Box 70, 108 Cherry Street, Burlington, VT 05402-0070.
Completing the Birth Certificate
The following refers to blanks to be filled in on the Vermont Birth Certificate:
CHILD’S NAME: The mother has the legal responsibility for naming the child. It may be any name you choose. You can easily change the child’s first or middle name during the first six months. The baby’s last name does not have to match the name of either the mother or father. Once the birth certificate has been filed, changing the child’s last name will require an order from the Probate Court.
DO YOU WANT A SOCIAL SECURITY CARD ISSUED AUTOMATICALLY FOR YOUR CHILD? Taxpayers are required to list social security numbers for all dependents on their federal income tax forms. By answering “YES” here, you can have a social security card automatically issued to your child. There are no office visits, no forms to complete, and no fees for this service. The Social Security Administration will mail you the card in about three months. If you choose not to accept this service, you must visit your local Social Security office, with a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate, to complete an application.
MOTHER’S CURRENT NAME AND MAIDEN SURNAME: Mother’s current name is her name at the time of the baby’s birth. Maiden surname is the mother’s last name as it appears on her own birth certificate.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF PARENTS: Each parent is asked for his or her name, address, and social security number. This information is filed with the Vermont Health Department together with the birth certificate, as required by both Federal and State law. Social security numbers provided may be used by the U.S. Treasury Department only to administer those sections of the Internal Revenue Code that grant tax benefits based on support or residence of children. Social security numbers may also be used by the Vermont Office of Child Support, but only for child support enforcement.
MOTHER’S RESIDENCE—STATE AND CITY OR TOWN: The mother’s residence is the place where she lives, votes, pays taxes, etc. It is often different from her mailing address.
MOTHER’S MAILING ADDRESS: Give complete mailing address, including RD#, P.O. Box, and zip code.
OTHER INFORMATION: You’ll be asked for demographic information such as race, Hispanic origin, education, and marital status. The birth certification process is also used to collect medical information about the pregnancy and delivery, such as prenatal care, risk factors, birth weight of the child, delivery procedures and complications. Much of this information comes from the mother’s medical record.
This information is used by the Vermont Department of Health to monitor the health of newborns, to evaluate prenatal and childbirth programs, and to track annual vital statistics. If you are a resident of another state, this information may be shared with that state’s Department of Health for similar public health uses. Otherwise, this demographic and medical information is confidential. It will be entered into the Health Department’s statistical file and will not appear on your child’s birth certificate.
FATHER’S NAME AND OTHER INFORMATION: If the mother does not wish to identify the baby’s father, she is not required to do so. If the parents are not married, no record of the father will be entered until both parents complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage, or a court or agency has established paternity. The form must be signed and both signatures witnessed.
Filing a Birth Certificate
When a birth occurs, the physician, midwife, or other birth attendant is required to complete the birth certificate and file it with the clerk in the town or city of birth within 10 days. For hospital births, it is usually the medical records staff who complete the certificate. The municipal clerk receiving the original will send one copy to the clerk in the Vermont city or town where the mother lives, and another copy to the Vermont Department of Health.
Correcting a Birth Certificate
You may make corrections by contacting the clerk of the city or town in which the birth occurred. Also, the Vermont Department of Health will send you a Notification of Birth Registration approximately three months after your child’s birth. This is not the actual birth certificate, but it shows the basic information that appears on the birth certificate. If you find a mistake, cross it out, print in the correct information, sign the form and return it to the Health Department or to the clerk of the city or town in which the birth took place. The corrections will then be made for you.
ALL CORRECTIONS MUST BE MADE BEFORE THE CHILD IS 6 MONTHS OLD. After that time, changes can be made only by order of the Probate Court.
Obtaining a Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate
You will not automatically receive a copy of your child’s birth certificate. To get a certified copy, you may send a written request along with $10.00 to the clerk of the town or city where the birth took place, to the clerk of the mother’s Vermont town or city of residence, or send $10.00 to the Vermont Department of Health (you may use the birth certificate order form ). We recommend that you get a copy as soon after the birth as possible. This will help you make sure that the birth was registered properly and that the information on the certificate is correct. Any changes or corrections after six months may require a court order.