Vital records are documents that describe important life events and information. Your vital records include documents like your:
- Birth certificate
- Driver license or state ID
- Social security card
You need official copies of your vital records to do basic things like drive a car, travel, open a bank account or enroll in school. Store your vital records in a safe place at home or with a trusted friend or family member.
If your vital records are lost, stolen, destroyed or unavailable, you should request new official copies.
Requesting official copies of your vital records
If your vital records are lost, stolen or unavailable, you must make separate requests for each one you need.
You might need certain records (like your birth certificate) to prove your identity to get other records (like your passport). So, if you need to replace all your records, it is easiest to make requests in this order:
- Birth certificate
- Driver's license or state ID
- Social security card
You can request an official copy of your Ohio birth certificate from the Ohio Department of Health online, by mail or in-person. To make the request online, visit the ODH website and pay the fee online by credit card. Requesting a birth certificate online is the fastest way to get it. ODH processes online requests within 5 business days.
You can also request a birth certificate by mail. To download the mail-in form, go to the ODH website. Mail-in requests take 4-6 weeks to process. If you cannot complete the application online or by mail, ask your local health district how to make a birth certificate request in-person.
If your birth state is outside Ohio, you need to get a birth certificate from your birth state. Contact your birth state’s Department of Health, Department of Vital Records or similar office to request your records.
You can request a replacement driver’s license or state ID card by applying online at the BMV’s website or visiting the BMV in person. The replacement for an unexpired ID that is lost or stolen is called a “reprint.”
To request a reprint online, visit the Ohio BMV website, choose “BMV Online Services," select “DL/ID Reprint.” There will be a fee of about $26. If you apply online, you cannot change your address or anything else on your ID. After you request the reprint, the BMV mails the reprint to the address on your driver’s license or ID.
If you want to change information on your license or ID, or if you prefer to apply in person, you can visit a BMV Deputy Registrar License Agency location. At the location, you must pay the fee (about $26) and provide proof of your:
- Full legal name
- Birth date
- Legal presence in the US
- Social security number
- Residential address
You can prove these 5 elements with your official birth certificate (which shows your full legal name, your date of birth and legal residence) and a W2, 1099, pay stub, military discharge papers or school record/transcript (which contains your social security number and Ohio residential street address). Learn more about documents to prove the 5 elements.
You can replace your social security card online, by mail or in person.
You must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card to replace your card online. If you apply online, you cannot change information (like your name) on your social security card. To request your replacement card online, register for a My Social Security Account and complete the application.
To replace your Social Security card by mail or in person, print and complete the application for a Social Security card and take it or mail it to your local Social Security office. To learn more about what documents you need to get a Social Security Card, visit the Social Security website.
To replace a lost or stolen passport, you must submit Form DS-11 and Form DS-64 in person. If you are leaving the United States within 7 weeks, you may be eligible to make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center. If you do not have plans to leave the United States in the next 7 weeks, make an appointment to apply for a replacement passport at a passport acceptance facility.
At your appointment at the passport agency or center or passport acceptance facility, you must show:
- Citizenship evidence (like an official birth or naturalization certificate)
- A photocopy of your citizenship evidence
- Your official driver’s license or state ID
- A photocopy of yourdriver’s license or ID
- A passport photo that meets the passport photo requirements and passport fees.
Children under 16 years old must apply in person with both of their parents or guardians, who must also show ID proof. Read the special rules for applying for a replacement passport for children under 16.
If you are outside the United States, contact your nearest United States embassy or consulate to replace your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, you should report it to prevent identity theft. Report lost or stolen passports online, by mail or by phone (877) 487-2778 or TTY (888) 874-7793.
More help getting your vital records
If you are or were in foster care, your caseworker may have copies of your vital record documents. Ask your caseworker to give you your documents or help you apply for new copies. If you were in foster care and are 18 to 21 years old, you may be able to get help from the Ohio Bridges program.
There may be churches, community organizations and other programs in your area that can help you request and pay for state IDs and other vital records. To find nearby help getting your vital records, contact 211.