Illinois Vital Records - Birth, Death, Marriage, Civil Union, Dissolution and other records Contact Us
International Travel

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A certified birth record is essential for foreign travel purposes. It can be used to provide proof of citizenship when applying for a passport or used instead of a passport for short-term travel to some countries. Information on requirements for specific countries can be found by going to the U.S. State Department's online Foreign Entry Requirements Publication. Your trip should be hassle free if you do some advance planning and are informed as to the proper documentation you need.


Application for search of birth record files

Ordering Information

Planning: For whatever reason you need the birth record, it's important to plan ahead in order to receive your certified birth record in time to meet deadlines for applying for a passport or to have the record available for your trip. On average, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Division of Vital Records processes a normal order within three to four weeks from the date received. Records ordered from the county clerk of the county where you were born may take more or less time. (List of county vital records Web sites or county clerk addresses) Birth certificates filed prior to 1916 must be obtained from the county clerk's office. Sometimes people find that information must be corrected on their record. If so, the steps necessary to correct the record will add several weeks to the process. Please give yourself plenty of lead time to order your record to avoid problems with your travel plans should this situation occur.

Be Informed: There have been reports that some workers in the travel industry mistakenly believe a certified birth record must have a "raised seal." Illinois has not used a raised seal since 1985. Certified copies of records issued by IDPH, Division of Vital Records are now embossed with the state and department seals in the lower right and left hand corners. The texture of the embossed seals can be felt when running your fingers over them. All types of certified birth records issued by IDPH, Division of Vital Records are legally acceptable. Of these types, the certified copy or "long form" is the most readily recognizable birth record. NOTE: If the record is to be used for passport purposes, the passport office requires all birth certificates submitted to contain the parent information, the $15 certified copy.

If you do not have a birth record on file at the county clerk's office of the county where the birth occurred or at IDPH, Division of Vital Records, the U.S. State Department will not accept a recently created delayed record of birth for the purpose of obtaining a passport. This does not necessarily preclude you from obtaining a passport as the State Department does accept other evidence of your birth. (See the U.S. State Department's Web page on applying for a passport.)


Frequently Asked Questions


Travel page, U.S. State Department
Passport Services and Information, U.S. State Department
National Center for Infectious Diseases Traveler's Health Page, CDC

925 East Ridgely Ave., Springfield, IL 62702