- Why you should always have a copy of your birth certificate on hand
The Many Uses of Birth Records
There are of course many different kinds of vital records, from birth certificates and death certificates to tax and employment records. Perhaps no single set of records is more important, however, than birth records. These birth records can be used for a wide variety of reasons, by both individuals and businesses.
One of the most common uses for such birth records is as proof of age. From retirement benefits to driving privileges, a great many things in our lives are based on our age. Having a document which clearly shows date and location of birth can make the process of applying for those age related benefits a great deal easier and much less of a hassle.
Birth records are also important to those applying for a passport, or even those traveling to Canada and Mexico. Until 2007, when the new laws requiring passports for U.S. residents visiting Canada and Mexico take effect, a birth certificate is accepted as proof of citizenship at both the northern and southern borders. Those applying for a passport will also need to supply a birth certificate to prove their residency status.
In addition to these personal uses, birth records as a whole are often used by those who need to compile statistics on population growth, birth rates, death rates and the like. These individuals often pull large numbers of birth records in order to do their research, and these birth records can be great for identifying overall population trends over time.
Employers also use birth records as part of their hiring process in order to verify that the job applicant being hired has the legal right to live and work in the United States. As the government becomes more and more aggressive in cracking down on illegal immigrants, the importance of this verification is likely to increase. Many employers are taking this pre-employment screening process a step further and going back and prescreening their current staff members for legal status. This makes it important for both employers and employees to be able to access birth records quickly and efficiently.
Fortunately, over the past several years it has become a great deal easier to search birth records than it ever has before. Only a decade or so ago, searching for the birth records of yourself or someone else required a cumbersome and time consuming trip to the state government offices or the local county courthouse. Finding such birth records also required lots of paperwork, no small amount of red tape and a wait of days or even weeks before the documents were finally received in the mail.
These days much of that paperwork can be completed online, simply by visiting the web site of the appropriate state or county agency. Many of these agencies have put their applications for birth records on the internet, and when fees are involved they can often be paid online as well, using a major credit card. This represents an enormous change, and a huge improvement, over the way things used to be done.