Birth certificates are only obtainable from the state or U.S. possession where the document was originally filed. In most states, birth certificates can be ordered from a central location, states Robert Longley for About.com.
Different states and U.S. possessions have different rules and fees for ordering certified birth certificates. These rules can be found on the Where to Write for Vital Records page from the CDC website. Only order a full, certified copy of the original birth certificate showing the registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar's signature and filing date at the registrar's office. Shortened versions offered by some states may not be usable for obtaining a U.S. passport, explains Longley. A birth certificate proves U.S. citizenship to local, state and federal agencies and is necessary for obtaining a U.S. passport or when applying for Social Security benefits. Certain jobs require it for identification, and it may eventually be required when obtaining or renewing a driver's license.