SAEF Legal Aid logo. Click to return to home pageMobile menu. Click to view page options.
X button. Click to close window.

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Child's Birth Certificate

Please note that the legal information presented on this page is intended only for those living in the state of Illinois.

This article provides an overview of how you can retrieve a copy of your child's birth certificate. We discuss what requirements you'll need to meet in order to request a birth certificate copy, how much it costs to retrieve a copy, as well as why obtaining a copy can be useful.

Requirements to Obtain a Birth Certificate Copy

A child's birth certificate is not public record. This means that only certain people can make a request for a child's birth certificate, including:

  • the person named on the birth certificate, but ONLY IF they are over the age of 18
  • any parent(s) listed on the birth certificate; and
  • a legal guardian or representative of the person named on the birth certificate

Additionally, you must have a Valid Issued Government Photo Identification (ID card) to request a birth certificate copy. The ID card has to be readable and cannot be expired.

Acceptable forms of a Valid Issued Government Photo Identification include:

  • a driver's license
  • a state of Illinois issued photo ID card (Real ID); or
  • a passport

Cost to Request a Birth Certificate Copy

The cost to request a birth certificate copy in Illinois depends on the type of certificate you request, as well as the method through which your request is made.

There are two types of certified birth certificates. The first type costs $10 for the first copy and $2 for each additional copy, and contains the following information:

  • the person's name, date of birth, and assigned sex
  • the person's place of birth (city, county, state)
  • the names, maiden names, and ages of any applicable parent(s); and
  • the file date, issue date; and state file number

The second type of birth certificate costs $15 for the first copy plus $2 for each additional copy, but contains the full record of all information collected at birth. While the information does vary, these copies may include additional notes – such as the time of birth, or the name and address of the hospital.

Where Can I Request A Birth Certificate Copy?

Copies can be requested by mail, fax, online, or in-person at Cook County Vital Records (typically from Mon-Fri between 10am and 3pm).

You can also retrieve a birth certificate copy from your local Currency Exchange. Note that in addition to the normal fees, you will have to pay an extra $5 fee to obtain a birth certificate copy from a Currency Exchange.

Similarly, retrieving a copy of your birth certificate online will require an additional $12.95 processing fee. You also must pay with a major credit card.

Online requests for birth certificates can made at the following web address:

To request a copy by mail, submit a check or money order made payable to the IDPH at the following address:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 E. Ridgely Ave-2737.
Springfield, Illinois 62702

When Can a Birth Certificate Copy Be Useful?

Obtaining a copy of your child's birth certificate can be extremely useful for navigating the family legal system. Many legal documents, such as a child support order, require detail information about your child to properly complete.

Furthermore, your child's birth certificate may help you access legal help more quickly. For example, some organizations may require proof of a parent-child relationship before providing certain services. Having a copy of your child's birth certificate will ensure you have highly relevant information about your child.

See Related