How to get your birth certificate in NJ

As you may know by now, I’ve worked in local government in New Jersey for about 15 years.  It amazes me how many people don’t know how to get their birth certificates.  I think they ought to teach a course in high school, called “life skills” that teaches people how to do important activities in life – like how to get their birth certificates, how to apply for a passport, or how to get a mortgage.  I mean, where would you actually learn how to obtain your birth certificate, unless you need one?

I receive many calls on a daily basis of people requesting their birth certificates.  My first question to them is, “Were you born in a hospital?”  If the answer is, “Yes,” then I know that they have the wrong location.  In New Jersey, there are basically two ways to get your birth certificate–assuming you don’t have any unusual circumstances, like an adoption or a birth abroad.  You can either go to the town where you were born or the State of New Jersey.  It’s filed in both places.  It’s not filed in the town where you currently reside nor in the town where you once lived.

Once you know the town where you were born, you can either contact the local registrar of vital statistics (which is sometimes someone in the health department and sometimes someone in the Municipal Clerk’s Office).

For a listing of local registrars in New Jersey, click here:

You will have to fill out a form and provide ID. There is a fee for each certificate you want, and there is no limit on how many you can have.  Registrars are not permitted to give out information over the phone.  Sometimes dealing with a local registrar is easier and quicker than going to the State of New Jersey.  You can usually get your copies either through the mail or in person, but not through the internet.

if you prefer to order through the internet, then you can order your copies from the State by clicking here and following the prompts:

In my novel, Red Tape, the main character Chelsey Alton, is the Registrar and Municipal Clerk.  She was worried about someone stealing the safety paper.  Your birth certificates are printed on this special safety paper to prevent identity theft.

In addition, to prevent identity theft, there are only certain people permitted to order birth certificates.  Further information on who is eligible to get a certified copy of a birth record can be found here:

Please keep in mind that this information is for New Jersey only.  I hope this has been helpful to you and I hope you are having a great week!


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