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How to Replace a Lost Birth Certificate in Arkansas

by Shewanda Pugh

Only an individual born and thereafter issued an official birth certificate from the state of Arkansas may apply for a replacement with the state's vital records department. Provided your Arkansas-issued birth certificate is lost or damaged, an additional copy can be obtained for a low cost. The application, filled out in its entirety, must be submitted with the appropriate fees and proof that the applicant is among those eligible to receive a copy of said certificate.

Ensure that you are authorized to obtain a copy of the birth certificate. Birth certificates less than 100 years old are not considered public record, so only designated individuals are allowed to receive copies of a birth certificate. Generally speaking, only the person whose name is on the birth certificate (if age 18 or older); parents or legal guardians; a legal or designated representative; academic research groups; and those able to demonstrate a right to the record are able to request a copy. Those who knowingly submit false information to obtain a birth certificate they are otherwise ineligible to receive can be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both (Arkansas Statute 20-18-105).

Determine the type of birth certificate you need. The state of Arkansas issues only two kinds of birth certificates. One is an official, certified copy of the original record, while the other is a plastic wallet-sized card. The plastic wallet-sized copy is usually unacceptable as a means of identification and does not bear a raised seal. For any legal purposes, such as documenting citizenship, applying for a passport or any other government issued identification, the official, certified copy is the birth certificate needed.

Decide which method of ordering you wish to use. Applicants may download the Birth Certificate Application, available in Word or PDF format, from the Healthy Arkansas website and mail or deliver in person Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M at 4815 West Markham St. Little Rock, AR 72205. Only checks or money orders are acceptable. Allow four to six weeks for processing. Alternatively, birth certificates can be ordered over the phone by dialing (888) 803-1118 or (866) 209-9482 toll-free. They can also be ordered online. Telephone and Internet orders are expedited and handled by a third party processing center, so additional fees apply.

About the Author

Shewanda Pugh attended Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Arts in writing from Nova Southeastern University. Pugh's work has been featured in several print publications, including the "Farquhar Forum," "Go!Riverwalk" and "Foreword Magazine."

Photo Credits

  • birth marriage and death image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com