Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I need to register my baby’s birth?
- What will I need to register my baby’s birth?
- Who should register my baby’s birth?
- When should I register my baby’s birth?
- How can I make sure the certificate is completed correctly?
- What if there is a mistake on the birth certificate?
- What if part (or all) of the baby’s name was left off the birth certificate?
- How can I get a certified copy of the birth certificate?
- How do I get a Social Security number for my child?
- Who collects the information on the birth certificate?
- Am I required to complete every part of the worksheet?
- What is the information on the birth certificate used for?
You need to register your baby’s birth to comply with State Law. For children not born in a hospital, California law requires the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth; or in the absence of a physician or midwife, either one of the parents to register the birth of your baby born in California. (Health and Safety Code Section 102415)
You also need to register your baby’s birth so that your baby can obtain an official birth certificate. During the course of your baby’s life, he or she will need an official birth certificate on many occasions. For example, an official birth certificate (a certified copy of the birth certificate) may be required to:
- Obtain a Social Security Number
- Apply for a driver’s license
- Enroll in school
- Obtain a passport
- Register to participate in sports
- Apply for various benefits (Social Security, military)
Birth certificates are also valuable to establish:
- Proof of parentage
- Inheritance rights
A certified copy of a birth certificate is a legal record of your child’s birth. Certified copies are recognized in any court.
The out of hospital birth packet tells you everything you need to register your baby’s birth, including worksheets and detailed instructions. This packet is available from your local health department (only Riverside County births prior to child’s first birthday). The Riverside County Office of Vital Records is located at 4065 County Circle Drive, Room 103, Riverside, CA 92503. Our telephone number is (951) 358-5362.
When a baby is born at home or other wise outside a hospital, the physician or midwife, who attended the birth, or in the absence of a physician or midwife, either one of the parents is responsible for registering the baby’s birth with the local health department.
By law, you must register the birth of your child within 10 days of the birth. There is no fee to register your baby’s birth. However, you will be charged a fee if you do not register within the child’s first year. Any birth registered on or after the child’s first birthday must be processed by the State Office of Vital Records as a Delayed Registration of Birth. If you cannot meet the requirements for a Delayed Registration of Birth, you will have to apply to your local superior court for a Court Order Delayed Registration of Birth. Out of hospital births are harder to register the longer you wait after the date of birth.
Please be sure to review your child’s birth certificate for accuracy before signing it. Never sign a blank birth certificate. If you sign a blank birth certificate, the person filling it out may make errors. Once the record has been filed, any corrections, such as corrections of misspellings or omissions, must be made through the State Office of Vital Records, and a fee may be charged.
After your child’s birth certificate has been registered, the original certificate, with the exception of gender error, cannot be changed. Errors may be corrected by filing an Affidavit to Amend a Record (form VS 24), which is available from your local health department or the State Office of Vital Records. When accepted, the affidavit will be attached to the original certificate and will become part of the legal birth record.
If there is a gender error on your child’s birth certificate, please contact your local registration district to speak with someone about how to correct it.
After your baby’s birth certificate has been registered, the original certificate cannot be changed. If part (or all) of the baby’s name was left off the birth certificate, and you wish to add the baby’s name, an Application to Complete Name of Child by Supplemental Name Report-Birth (form VS 107) may be used or VS 24 Affidavit to Amend the Record can be used. This form is available from your local health department, or the State Office of Vital Records. The completed application, when accepted, will be attached to the original certificate and will become part of the legal birth record. Again, the original document is not changed.
NOTE: If you wish to change your child’s name after the birth has been registered, you may need to obtain a court order.
For amendments made within one year of the child’s birth, there is no processing fee.
For amendments made one year or more after the child’s birth, there is a fee for filing the application.
You will not automatically receive a copy of your baby’s birth certificate. Once your baby’s birth is registered, you can request a certified copy of your baby’s birth certificate from either the local health department, or County Recorder in the county where your child was born, or the State Office of Vital Records at:
The Department of Health Services
Office of Vital Records-M.S. 5103
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA. 95899-7410.
You can get a Social Security number for your child by contacting the nearest Social Security Office. There is NEVER a charge for a Social Security number and card from Social Security Administration. For more information about Social Security, contact your nearest Social Security office or call the toll-free number (800) 772-1213 between 7a.m. and 7 p.m. on any business day.
The information you enter on the enclosed worksheet will be transferred to the Certificate of Live Birth (VS 10D) and collected by the State of California, Department of Health Services, Office of Vital Records, P.O. Box 997410 , Sacramento, CA, 95899-7410 telephone number (916) 445-2684. Division 102 of the Health and Safety Code requires the information. The Certificate of Live Birth is open to public access except where prohibited by statue.
You must complete each field of information on the worksheet, except for the fields located between the double bold lines in the center of the front page. We ask that you provide this optional information as well, so that the records are complete. However, you are not required to do so. These voluntary fields, which apply to information for both the mother and father, are:
- race and ethnicity
- usual kind of business or industry
- social security numbers
Additionally, for non-physician, non-midwife attended births, there are three voluntary fields (see asterisks on the worksheet), which apply to medical data, are:
- complications and procedures of pregnancy and concurrent illnesses
- complications and procedures of labor and delivery, and
- abnormal conditions and clinical procedures related to the newborn
These three fields are required for physician or midwife attended births.
The State of California, Department of Health Services collects birth information for population studies and for studies about disease in groups of people.