Birth Certificate Apostille and Authentication Service
If you need an apostilled birth certificate, we can help you get it. Here is how the apostille process works and the steps to follow.
What is a birth certificate?
A birth certificate is a vital record issued by a government agency that records the birth of a child for vital statistics, tax, military, and census purposes.
The term “birth certificate” is used to identify either the original birth certificate issued by a county official at the birth of a child or a certified copy of the birth record.
What is a birth certificate apostille?
A birth certificate apostille is a Hague Convention apostille (a.k.a. Secretary of State apostille) that authenticates a birth certificate so that it can be legally recognized in foreign countries. Apostilled birth certificates are often required when applying to marry overseas and for immigration, visa, dual citizenship, and other legal matters.
The California Secretary of State (CA SOS) requires submission of either the original or a certified copy of the birth certificate. Firstly, a CA SOS staff member reviews the document for eligibility and verifies the signature of the County official who signed it. Afterward, if all is in order, the CA SOS staff member will staple a numbered paper apostille certificate to the birth certificate and add a red circular stamp that is half on the apostille and half of the birth certificate. Our service can complete this process in one to two business days.
Countries that are not members of the Hague Apostille Convention (such as Thailand, the UAE, or Vietnam) require additional embassy or consulate and often U.S. State Department authentication. We will detail the services required and the timeline for obtaining any additional authentication services you need in our price quote (see Step 4).
How Do I Obtain Birth Certificate Apostille?
Follow these steps to help us obtain an apostilled birth certificate for you as quickly as possible.
1. Confirm that the birth certificate is eligible for an apostille
Skip to the next step if you need to order a birth certificate.
Birth certificates issued in any of California’s 58 counties are eligible for California Secretary of State apostilles. Although we mainly focus on obtaining CA SOS apostilles for clients, if you have a birth certificate issued outside of California, we might be able to help you. Please email [email protected] with details or call +1 (415) 655-9455 to discuss.
California periodically revises the format of birth certificates to add new security features that help protect the public against fraud and identity theft. The current format is shown below. The CA SOS may reject birth certificates in retired formats if they are presented for apostille certification.
A valid original or certified copy of a California birth certificate will have the following features:
- Full color
- County seal
- Signature of the County official near the bottom right corner
- Certificate issue date near the bottom left corner
In our experience requesting party overseas will usually reject self-certified/notarized photocopies and older certified copies of birth certificates, even if the CA SOS will adhere an apostille to them. In addition, informational birth certificates are not eligible for apostille certification.
2. Obtain a certified copy of the birth certificate if needed
You can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate in person, online, or by mail. Please choose the relevant Bay Area County below for detailed instructions. For other California counties, please contact the county directly for ordering instructions.
Please note that if you order a birth certificate online or via mail, it can take several weeks to arrive. If you need the birth certificate soon and are not able to pick it up in person, we can retrieve it for you from the Alameda, San Francisco, or San Mateo County offices. Please email [email protected] or call +1 (415) 655-9455 to learn more about this option. See the FAQs at the end of this page for additional information.
3. Email us for a price quote
In order to get a quick price quote, email [email protected] with the following information:
- Your name, telephone number, and current physical location
- The name, address, telephone number, and email address of the person to whom we will ship the apostilled birth certificate
- The destination country (e.g. France)
- The physical location of the birth certificate, ordering status (if you ordered one), or your need for assistance obtaining a birth certificate
We will respond with a price quote without delay. Once we’ve agreed upon a price, we will send you an invoice and start the apostille/authentication process.
4. Send the birth certificate to us (when applicable)
If you are shipping us a certified copy or recent original of a birth certificate and we have given you the green light to proceed, please send the birth certificate to:
SF Notary + Apostille Sacramento
2511 Carlsbad Ave
Sacramento, CA 95821
If you are including payment by check or money order, please make it payable to “AMN SF, LLC.”
5. We’ll take it from there
As soon as we have the birth certificate, we will obtain an apostille from the Secretary of State in Sacramento. If you need the birth certificate authenticated for a non-Hague apostille country, we will obtain the extra legalization. In either case, once it’s properly authenticated, we will ship the birth certificate to you or the specified recipient.
We use FedEx Priority Overnight Service for USA destinations and FedEx International Priority Service for overseas destinations. Moreover, for any document shipped overseas, we will also send you a scan of the apostilled birth certificate for your records.
Frequently Asked Questions about California Birth Certificate Apostilles
Can I get an apostille on a photocopy of a California birth certificate?
Although the California Secretary of State will issue an apostille on a signed and properly notarized statement written directly on a photocopy of a birth certificate or on a separate page attached to a photocopy of a birth certificate, the requesting party overseas will often reject birth certificates that are certified this way. Please confirm with the requesting party whether or not they will accept a self-certified photocopy.
Can I get an apostille on an informational birth certificate?
Informational birth certificates that bear a disclaimer—such as “INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY”—are not eligible for CA SOS apostille certification. You will need to obtain a certified copy of the birth certificate.
What if the birth certificate is old?
Recipients may reject older birth certificates. Check with the requesting party to ensure that the issue date on the birth certificate (found near the bottom left corner) is recent enough for your matter. Clients have reported that their birth certificates were rejected because they were older than six months or a few years.
Whose birth certificate can I order?
California birth certificates are not public record, so only certain individuals are authorized to obtain a certified copy. You can generally request a copy of your own birth certificate and those of your children, spouse, domestic partner, parents, and certain extended family members.
In addition, you can also give authority to a third party by power of attorney or other legal instrument to obtain one of these birth certificates on your behalf.
What if I’m located outside of the county, state, or country?
If you are located outside of the county in which the child was born or you don’t have time to run to the county office to obtain a birth certificate, you can order a certified copy of the birth certificate online or via mail and have it shipped to yourself or a third party (which could be SF Notary + Apostille). Please email [email protected] or call +1 (415) 655-9455 to discuss.
Please note that online and mail-in applications usually require notarization of the applicant’s signature. If you are in another county or state, you can visit your local notary public in person or have your signature notarized using a remote online notary service. If you are outside of the country, you might have to visit a US notary at the US Embassy in person or use a remote online notarization service. Regardless of your location, we can help to arrange an electronic notarization—please contact us for more information.
How long does a birth certificate take to arrive?
Online and mail-in birth certificate application processing times often exceed several weeks (we’ve recently seen quotes of six weeks on county websites). In contrast, a faster option is to have an authorized family member, your attorney, or us pick up the birth certificate. In general, we can obtain the certified copy within a couple of business days.
If you want us to pick it up, you will need to execute a limited power of attorney granting us authority to retrieve the birth certificate on your behalf. Generally, this will require you to appear before a notary public in person or remotely using a remote online notarization service, which we can help arrange. Please contact us to discuss.
Disclaimer: Information on this website is for informational purposes only. These instructions are based on our knowledge and experience and are meant to be helpful; however, they might contain errors. Please let us know if you encounter mistakes so that we can promptly correct them. SF Notary + Apostille is not a law firm, and its agents are not attorneys. Please contact a licensed attorney or your local bar association for counsel on legal matters.