A Massachusetts certificate of birth is a type of vital record that verifies your name and date of birth. Birth certificates are issued shortly after you are born and should be kept in a safe place throughout your life. If you lose your original birth certificate, then it is important to obtain a copy as soon as possible. Birth record documents are maintained by the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS). The RVRS keeps birth records from the year 1926 through the present. For earlier records, you can oftentimes contact cities or counties, which maintain older records. If you need a copy of birth certificate documents, there are several ways that you can obtain one. It is easy to order birth certificate documents over the phone, by mail or in person. Continue reading to learn how to get a certified birth certificate and find out who is eligible to apply for a birth certificate in Massachusetts.
Types of Birth Records in Massachusetts
You can only get certified birth certificates in Massachusetts when you order a regular birth certificate copy from the RVRS. A certified birth record is issued regardless of your reason for requesting one. However, you can also request a record of birth prior to adoption. A pre-adoption birth record will always be an uncertified copy.
Two additional types of birth records in Massachusetts include a delayed certificate of birth and an amended record. A delayed birth record is a record that is established more than 365 days after the event of a birth. If your MA birth certificate was not filed within one year of your birth, then the RVRS can help you establish a delayed certificate. Similarly, if your birth certificate contains mistakes, then the RVRS can correct these mistakes for you and issue a corrected record. Once a corrected or delayed record has been created, the application process for obtaining a duplicate is similar to the process for obtaining a regular record.
Eligibility for Accessing Massachusetts Birth Records
Massachusetts birth certificates are open to the public in most circumstances. However, a birth certificate will be restricted from the public if the child was born out of wedlock. Additionally, if a child was adopted, his or her birth record prior to adoption is not available to the public. When a child is born out of wedlock, only the child, the parents, a legal guardian or a legal representative can apply for the record. If the father is not listed on the vital record, then he may only apply with documentation supporting his paternity. The original birth records of an adopted child can only be accessed by the child, an adoptive parent or an adoptive guardian. The birth records of children born to married parents are generally available for anyone to obtain.
How to Get a Birth Certificate Copy in Massachusetts
A Massachusetts birth certificate application can be submitted through the mail or in person. You may also apply for a birth record over the phone by calling the RVRS and giving your information. However, research cannot be conducted over the phone. In other words, if you do not know the year in which an event occurred, you cannot apply over the phone. Massachusetts birth certificate applications are not accepted online directly from the RVRS.
Massachusetts provides a standard vital record application that can be used to obtain a birth, death or marriage record. When completing the birth certificate form, you will need to have some basic information on hand, as well as a form of payment. With your MA birth certificate application, be sure to include:
- The full name of the subject.
- The name of the subject’s mother and father.
- The subject’s date of birth and the town or city in which the subject was born.
- Your name and mailing address, so that the record can be sent to you.
- Your identification card or a photocopy of your card, if applying by mail.
- A stamped, self-addressed envelope so that your copies can be returned.
- The number of copies you require and a payment for each copy.
The fees for obtaining a birth record in Massachusetts vary based on the application method you choose. Furthermore, you will pay a fee for each birth certificate copy you request in addition to the initial copy. If requesting a birth record copy by mail, then you cannot pay with cash. If applying in person, then the RVRS will request that you pay with a check or cash.
Ordering a Massachusetts birth certificate from an adoption requires that you submit a different application. Rather than the standard Massachusetts vital record application, you will submit an Application for a Non-Certified Record of Birth Prior to Adoption form. Remember that the eligibility requirements for pre-adoption records are different and that you may need to provide additional documentation to prove your eligibility.
How quickly can I get a Massachusetts birth certificate?
The processing times for a Massachusetts birth certificate application vary based on the application method you choose. Most vital record orders from the RVRS are fulfilled within two to three weeks. If you need a replacement birth certificate more quickly, then an expedited service is available from the RVRS. Note that you cannot order an expedited MA birth record through the mail if the RVRS needs to conduct research to locate the record. When ordering a special record, such as a corrected or delayed certificate of birth, processing times can be longer. Ordering a birth certificate online is the most efficient method.