Because the federal government does not offer copies of birth certificates or other personal vital records, it is necessary to contact or visit the government office of the state or U.S. possession where they were initially filed, according to About.com. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a Web page that states the exact rules, fees and ordering instructions for the District of Columbia, all U.S. possessions and all 50 states.
The majority of states in America have a centralized location through which people can order replacement birth certificates and other critical records, states About.com. It is important to order certified birth certificates that have the date the original birth certificate was filed at the registrar's facility; a signature from the registrar; and a raised, impressed or multicolored seal from the registrar. The birth certificate must have been filed at the registrar's office within one year of birth. Birth certificates that do not meet these requirements may not be accepted.
Birth certificates are used as a valid way to prove U.S. citizenship, notes About.com. They may be required for things such as getting or renewing an identification card or driver's license, for applying for some jobs and for applying for Social Security benefits. Legitimate certified birth certificates are accepted by local, state and federal government agencies.