Birth Certificate Number

Definition of: Birth Certificate Number, State File Number or Birth Number, (Hereinafter BCN)

Most certificates issued at a state level have an 11-digit number written in the pattern XXX-XX-XXXXXX appears on nearly all birth certificates issued by U.S. States. The formula for the birth certificate number is:
a three-digit area code.
a two-digit (sometimes digit 4) registration year, which is typically the birth year.
a six-digit serial registration number that is assigned in order of filing to each birth.
In 1948, all states adopted this format, resulting in national uniformity for the BCN.


Where is the BCN located?

In most instances the BCN can be found in the top right or top left corner of the data section on each birth certificate copy that is issued in the United States of America.

Occasionally it will be listed in the data section. Look for the words Birth Certificate Number, State File Number or Birth Number.


Understanding the Birth Area Code

The first three digits of the birth certificate number are the birth area code. Finding out where the birth took place is important.

Below is a list of birth area codes by state, along with any relevant exclusions:


I cant locate my BCN

You will want to make sure it is from Vital Statistics at the state level, not city county or capital as you will need either the State File Number, Birth Number or Certificate Number therefrom. If it is not a state issued copy it may not have the number. This is the leading issue we see in people locating the correct number.


I can locate the 3 digit code but the rest of the number is missing:

Make sure when you are looking at the certificate it is issued at the State Level. Not the City County or Capital! If it is issued from one of those locations it very quite possibly does not have


My number doesn't match this format:

Not all certificates will match this format. Sometimes you will not see the state 3 digit code. Sometimes it will have the 4 digit birth year and not the 2 digit birth year.


I am just not sure this is the right one...

If you think you have the right certificate but want to be sure you are welcome to reach out and we will take a look at it with you.

Feel free to text a picture of it to 707-797-7971. Please make sure to let us know why you are sending it so we are not confused as to why we are receiving it. A message proceeding or following the image saying something to the effect of "Will work for filing?" is just fine.

I have the wrong certificate how do I get the right one?:


Location of Issuance Matters!

You will want to make sure it is from Vital Statistics  and or the Department of Public Health for the state you were born in. A state level certificate should have the correct information. Make sure you do not get it issued from the city, county or capital as it likely will not have all of the necessary information. 


Do more research.

A search on for the state you were born in followed by Birth Certificate can help you visually see what you are looking for.
i.e. California Birth Certificate
Once the results appear make sure to click on images at the top and it will show you image results that you can look at.

Look at the results and see which certificates issued in which locations have the correct information.


Birth Area Code By States
State Area Code
Alabama 101
Alaska 150
Arizona 102
Arkansas 103
California 104
Colorado 105
Connecticut 106
Delaware 107
D.C. 108
Florida 109
Georgia 110
Hawaii 151
Idaho 111
Illinois 112
Indiana 113
Iowa 114
Kansas 115
Kentucky 116
- Birth certificates issued before 1988 in Louisiana may start with 119. New Orleans birth certificates started with 117 until 7/01/74
Maine 118
- Baltimore birth certificates issued before the 1970s may start with 154
- Boston does not have an area code for birth certificates
Michigan 121
Minnesota 122
Mississippi 123
Missouri 124
Montana 125
Nebraska 126
Nevada 127
New Hampshire 128
New Jersey 129
New Mexico 130
New York
- New York city uses the birth area code 156 for its birth certificateS
North Carolina 132
North Dakota 133
Ohio 134
Oklahoma 135
Oregon 136
Pennsylvania uses a 7-digit number, which always ends in 0, followed by an - and the year of birth
Rhode Island 138
South Carolina 139
South Dakota 140
Tennessee 141
Texas 142
Utah 143
Vermont 144
Virginia 145
Washington 146
West Virginia 147
Wisconsin 148
Wyoming 149
Posted in


  1. Sovereign Filing Solutions on January 26, 2023 at 2:01 am

    California – Get BC here. Do not use the County Clerk/Recorder* link!!

  2. Marion Sherrod on February 15, 2023 at 5:56 pm

    Respectfully thank you for your information and I will endeavor to obtain the proper BC

    • Sovereign Filing Solutions on February 20, 2023 at 8:16 am

      Your welcome, it is our pleasure to help in any way we can. If you need anything else please feel free to reach out.

  3. Jeremy Thompson on October 26, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Hello, I’m focusing on finding the missing numbers on my vital statistics certified copy (red letters or numbers)
    From California,And.. and my cussip number. What advice or instructions can you provide?

    • admin on December 15, 2023 at 9:06 pm

      Sounds good. The State File Number, Birth Number or Certificate Number number will not be in red. It will likely be in black towards the top left of the certificate for California. It can be helpful to run a search on a search engine like startpage or duckduckgo for “Birth Certificate California” to view images for certificates from the location to have a visual of what you are looking for.

      California specifically is more difficult to obtain the correct certificate you need to do so from CDPH here: to locate the VS 111 mail in request form. DO NOT USE the “Electronic Submission” nor the “County Clerk/Recorder” options as they will most likely send you the wrong one.

  4. Brandon on February 26, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    Hello why does my file number have 10 numbers instead of 11?

    • admin on March 3, 2024 at 12:20 am

      Numbers are dependent on filing location. There is not standard numbering system world wide for files.

Leave a Comment