Skip to main content

Replace Your Vital Records

Đang chơi bàiFind out how to replace vital documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and more.

Replace Lost or Stolen Identification (ID) Cards

Identification (ID) cards help you prove who you are, where you live or work, and what benefits you’re entitled to. 

Tip:Đang chơi bài To get any type of replacement ID card, you may need to show or mail in other official documents (like a birth certificate) to prove who you are. Check the agency’s website to find out what documents you’ll need to bring or mail. Find out if they can be copies or if they need to be original documents.

Tip: Depending on where you live, you may have the option to apply online for replacement cards. Some states and some types of cards may require you to get replacement cards in person or by mail.

1. Replace Your Driver’s License or State-Issued ID Card

Contact your state motor vehicle agency for a replacement license or state ID card.

2. Replace Your Social Security Card

to request a replacement card.

3. Replace Your Medicare ID Card

to replace your lost or stolen Medicare card.

4. Replace Your Medicaid ID Card

to get a replacement Medicaid card.

5. Replace Your U.S. Passport

Let the State Department know immediately about your lost or stolen passport and then request a replacement.

6. Replace Your Permanent Resident (Green) Card

Đang chơi bài for a replacement Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).

7. Replace Your Federal Employee or Contractor ID Card

Đang chơi bàiNotify your supervisor, your agency’s security office, and the IT service desk if your federal employee or contractor ID was lost or stolen.  

8. Replace Your U.S. Military ID Cards

Report the missing card to your base security officer. Then use the Real Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) to get a replacement.

issue these documents. To get a copy of a vital record, contact the vital records office in the state where the event occurred.

. Ask if you can pick up your mail there or request to have your mail forwarded to a temporary location.

2. Replace Your U.S. Birth Certificate

in the state where you were born. Check to see if you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate with no identification. If you can, follow the ordering instructions.

  • Some states accept alternate ways to verify your ID. You may have to contact your state to find out what it requires. For example:

    • Đang chơi bàiA state may accept your sworn statement of identity.

    • Another state may accept a notarized letter from your mother or father whose name is on your birth certificate, along with a copy of their photo ID.

  • Đang chơi bàiIf you do need your own government-issued photo ID to get a copy of your birth certificate, start with step 3.

3. Replace Your Driver’s License

Get this first if you can’t get your birth certificate.

  • Check with your state for its procedures. In some states, you can order a replacement online without providing any ID.

4. Replace Your Green Card

Đang chơi bàiIf you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., .

5. Replace Your Naturalization or Citizenship Documents

  • If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, follow the steps to apply to .

  • Đang chơi bàiIf you don’t have a copy of your original documents to submit with your application, .

6. Replace Your Marriage Certificate

Đang chơi bàiYou’ll need a certified copy as proof if you changed your name when you got married.

7. Replace Your Social Security Card

  • Đang chơi bàiFirst, . Most of the time, you’ll just need to know your number and not show your card.

  • If you do need a card, follow the steps to .

8. Report Your Lost or Destroyed U.S. Passport and Apply for a Replacement

  • Report a lost or destroyed passport to the State Department immediately.

  • Đang chơi bài to apply for a new passport.

  • Đang chơi bàiDepending on when you’re traveling, bring it to either a passport acceptance facility or a passport agency or center.

    • Bring a certified copy of your birth certificate or naturalization papers and a government-issued photo ID.

9. Replace Other Important Documents

Đang chơi bài in the state where you were born to get a copy of your birth certificate. Follow the instructions for requesting copies and paying fees. If you need a copy fast, ask about expedited service or shipping when you place your order.

Birth Certificate Copies: Americans Born Abroad

Đang chơi bàiIf you were born to American parents abroad, they should have registered your birth with the country's . If they did, they would have received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). You can from the U.S. Department of State. Depending on the country, a vital records office in the nation may also list the birth.

If the Department of State isn’t able to locate your CRBA and you were born on a abroad, your parents may not have registered your birth with the U.S. embassy. In that case, you may have to contact the hospital where you were born. 

Birth Certificate Copies: Born Abroad and Adopted by U.S. Parents

Đang chơi bàiA child born in a foreign country and adopted by a U.S. citizen will not receive a U.S. birth certificate. The country in which you were born will have issued it. To get a copy, for that country. If you need an authenticated copy and it's not in English, ask the embassy for help to get it translated.

If you were adopted from another country by a U.S. citizen, you should have copies of your naturalization/citizenship papers. If you don't, submit an . For help, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

in the state where you were married. You'll find instructions on how to request a copy and information on any fees.

Đang chơi bàiEven though the guidelines vary by state, all requests should include:

  • Full names of both spouses at the time of marriage

  • Month, day, and year of the marriage

  • Đang chơi bàiPlace of the marriage (city or town, county, and state)

  • Đang chơi bàiPurpose for requesting the copy of the marriage certificate

  • Đang chơi bàiRelationship to the people whose marriage certificate is being requested

  • Đang chơi bàiYour daytime telephone number (include area code)

office of the state or territory in which the death occurred. See the instructions for that state or territory for details such as:

  • Fees

  • Address to write to

  • The requestor’s required identification

Đang chơi bàiIn addition to your state’s requirements, all requests should contain:

  • Full name of the person whose death certificate is being requested
  • Their sex
  • Their parents' names, including maiden name of their mother
  • Month, day, and year of their death
  • Place of death (city or town, county, and state; and name of hospital, if known/applicable)
  • Purpose for which the copy is needed
  • Your relationship to the person whose record is being requested
  • Your daytime telephone number with area code

Requesting a Death Certificate for a Death Outside the U.S.

You will need to obtain a copy of the U.S. embassy or consulate's report of the for U.S. legal proceedings. See Death of an American AbroadĐang chơi bài for details on obtaining a copy of this report.

Divorce Decrees and Certificates

Đang chơi bàiA divorce decree is an official document from the court that grants the termination of a marriage. It includes specific details of the divorce.

Đang chơi bàiA divorce certificate is issued by a state vital records office. It shows that a divorce occurred but does not state all the same information as a divorce decree. You can save time and money by determining which document you need before requesting a copy.

U.S. Divorces

Get a Copy of a Divorce Decree

Contact the "county clerk's office" or "clerk of the court" for the county or cityĐang chơi bài in which the divorce was granted.

Get a Copy of a Divorce Certificate

Contact the  in which the divorce was granted.

Overseas Divorces

If the divorce occurred in another country and you're in the U.S., contact that country's They can tell you how to get a copy of the divorce decree.

United States law does not require U.S. citizens to register a foreign divorce decree at an embassy. But if the country in which your divorce took place is a signatory to the , you may bring your divorce decree to a to have it certified.

Đang chơi bài , adopted people must make arrangements through state agencies. Find out what records are available and how to get them. 

Contact a State Agency to Obtain Adoption Records

Đang chơi bàiYou may be able to get identifying or non-identifying information about your adoption. What information you can obtain will depend on state statutes. Some states have age restrictions or require court proceedings to get information about an adoptee’s birth.

Đang chơi bàiNon-identifying information includes:

  • The adoptee’s birth date and place of birth

  • The birth parents’:

    • Ages

    • Đang chơi bàiPhysical descriptions

    • Race

    • Religion

    • Medical history

    • Đang chơi bàiEducation 

    • Đang chơi bàiOccupations 

  • Siblings’ gender, age, and other non-identifying information depending on the state

  • The reason why the child was put up for adoption

Đang chơi bàiIdentifying information includes:

  • Current or past names

  • Addresses

  • Employment history

By , you can find out which state agency to contact to get adoption records.

Access Adoption Records Through Consent

In some states, you may be able to access identifying information through a mutual consent registry. Using these registries, all involved in an adoption can declare what information may be disclosed. Some states may require the consent of both the birth parents and adoptive parents for the release of records. However, the release of information varies by state.

Đang chơi bàiIf your state does not maintain a mutual consent registry, there are other ways to obtain records through consent. Public or private agencies can locate birth parents in some states. When an agency contacts birth parents, they can find out identifying information through:  

  • Confidential Intermediary System ‐ The court gives permission to a court-certified confidential intermediary. This permission grants them access to sealed adoption records. They can also contact the birth parents to obtain consent for the release of identifying information.

  • Affidavit System - Birth parents can officially file their consent or refusal to be identified or contacted.

Đang chơi bàiUse the Child Welfare Information Gateway to . 

Obtain an Original Birth Certificate

When an adoption is finalized, the state issues a new birth certificate to the adoptive parents. The adoptee’s original birth certificate is then sealed and kept confidential by the state’s vital records department. Half the states in the U.S. require a court order to unseal an original birth certificate. However, many states allow access to original birth certificates through: 

  • A request from the adult adoptee 

  • A request by the adoptee unless the birth parent filed an affidavit denying access 

  • Establishment of eligibility to obtain identifying information with the state

  • A record of consent from both birth parents

Đang chơi bàiFind out . 

Obtain International Adoption Records

When either the adoptee or the birth parents live outside the U.S., can help both search for one another. The organization offers assistance with adoption-related cases in over 120 countries.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has with international adoptions. can be used to request original immigration documents. 

Share This Page:

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

Đang chơi bàiLast Updated: July 9, 2020