A Texas certificate of birth is a legal document that identifies you by your birth date and legal name. Birth certificates are issued shortly after you are born and you must keep a birth certificate copy all throughout your life. A birth certificate is needed for a variety of reasons, such as verifying your U.S. citizenship, getting married and applying for many types of services. In Texas, vital record documents such as birth certificates are maintained by the Vital Statistics Unit (VSU) of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). In the event your birth record is lost or damaged, you will need to obtain a replacement document as soon as possible. In the sections below, learn everything you need to know about Texas vital records and how to complete a birth certificate application.
Your Texas birth certificate serves as your primary identification document in a number of situations. You must present a valid certificate of birth to do the following:
It is important to note that only certified birth certificates are accepted for most applications in Texas. A TX birth record photocopy or any other unofficial copy will not be accepted as proof of your identity in most cases.
Texas Birth Certificate Types
When you apply for a birth certificate in Texas, you will have the option to choose from several different types. Depending on your needs, birth certificate options include standard-sized certificates, long form certificates, heirloom certificates and Election Identification Certificates.
Standard-size TX birth records are the most commonly used. These birth certificates can be used for nearly any application that requires you to show your identity and citizenship. Long form birth certificates are often only required on applications that require more details about your identity, such as applications for a passport, dual citizenship or immigration. An heirloom birth certificate is a specially-designed record that celebrates state heritage. Heirloom certificates still serve as an official birth record for application purposes.
An Election Identification Certificate (EIC) is a type of birth certificate copy issued in Texas that can only be used for voting purposes. An EIC is not a certified birth record and cannot be used to apply for any services in TX. You may obtain an EIC birth record once in your lifetime as long as you meet the same eligibility requirements for obtaining any other type of birth certificate.
In Texas, you can apply for a copy of birth certificate documents using several different methods. Before you can obtain birth certificate documents in TX, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. If you are a Texas resident, then you can order your own birth record or an immediate family member’s record. A parent, guardian, grandparent, sibling, child or spouse of the person named on the certificate is considered an immediate family member. If you do not live in Texas, then you can only order your own birth record copy or a copy of your child’s record if you are included on the record as the child’s parent. It is important to note that birth records are considered “protected records” for 75 years and cannot be accessed by anyone who does not meet the above requirements during that time.
The VSU allows you to submit a Texas vital record application online, through the mail or in person. To complete your birth certificate form by any method, you will need to include the following:
Whether submitting your duplicate birth certificate application by mail, online or in person at the Texas VSU office, you will need to make a payment. The Texas birth record application fees cover the cost to search the VSU archives for the certificate you requested and cannot be refunded in the event your record is not found. The payment amount varies depending on the type of record you apply for.
Birth certificate applications can be completed on the VSU website or you can download the application and mail it to the address at the bottom of the form. You may also apply in person at the following address:
Texas Department of State Health Services
1100 W 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
The processing time for a TX birth certificate application submitted through the VSU can take two to three weeks.