How to Get a Copy of My Birth Certificate
Am I eligible to get a free copy of my birth certificate?
As long as you were born in California, are experiencing homelessness, and can get to a place that provides services to people who are experiencing homeless (so they can work with you to complete the required forms), then yes.
Can I also get a copy of my child's birth record?
Yes, as long as your child is verified as experiencing homelessness and you can get to a place that provides services to people who are experiencing homelessness so they can help you complete the required forms.
If I'm not the child's parent, can I get a free copy of his/her birth record?
Yes, as long as the child is experiencing homelessness and you are the child's guardian, legal guardian, grandparent, brother, sister, or government agency AND are legally entitled to obtain the birth record.
Do I need to know what county I was born in?
Yes. If you do not know what county you were born in, you can go to the local County Recorder's office and ask for assistance in locating your birth record. The county can assist you with this search without charging you a fee. Once you know what county you were born in, you will need to turn in the signed Affidavit to that county. If you're unable to go in person, you will need to send your Affidavit to the Recorder's office in the county in which you were born.
Where do I begin?
Step 1: Contact your local emergency shelter or county human services office and let them know you would like a "birth certificate fee waiver."
Step 2: Go to the service provider recommended by your local emergency shelter or county human services office to sign the form that verifies you are experiencing homessness (called an "Affidavit of Homeless Status").
Step 3: If you are in the county in which you were born, take your signed Affidavit to the "County Recorder's Office." Start at the Information Desk and let them know you are there to get a copy of your birth certificate. They may have you fill out a form on a computer and then take your Affidavit it to the Cashier's window. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to ask.
Please keep in mind . . .
The law making birth certificates free to people experiencing homelessness is brand-new -- it went into effect July 1, 2015. Because it's so new, not everyone who can help you has heard of this new law, so it make take a little time for your service provider and the people at the county to complete your paperwork. We are working to get the word out and help everyone understand the process, so your experience will be quick and easy.
Learn about free state-issued photo IDs (from the DMV)
As of January 1, 2016, people experiencing homelessness can now get a free California photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Learn more.