Changes to commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements, upcoming availability of the state’s first RealIDs and routine needs for passports have prompted many to seek out an official copy of their birth certificate.

“We do a considerable amount of birth certificates,” said Gerry Wityk, district constituent specialist for state Rep. Rich Irvin. “It started six months ago when CDL drivers needed to get copies of their birth certificates.”

The birth certificate necessary for completing any of the above paperwork must be the state-issued certificate, with parents’ names included and must have the official raised seal. According to the state Department of Vital Records, the raised seal began to be utilized Jan. 1, 1975, so those born prior to that date may need to obtain a copy with the necessary seal.

“Many people don’t understand that it has to be an official certificate, not a birth registration or the certificate with the baby’s footprints done at the hospital,” Wityk said. “This was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security to update everyone’s birth status with their mother’s and father’s information and a raised seal so they can tell it was a state-issued birth certificate.”

While the RealID will not be enacted until Oct. 1, 2020, the first of the new licenses will be available in March.

“With RealID, we have more people requesting help with getting their birth certificates,” she said. “You have to have a new birth certificate for just about everything, like state and federal benefits, employment and children going to school. There is a lot of demand.”

Applications to obtain a new birth certificate can be obtained by visiting state Rep. Rich Irvin’s office in Smithfield, visiting the state Department of Vital Record’s website or traveling to the Department of Vital Records office in New Castle.

“At this point, they are still keeping up with them relatively well,” said Wityk. “We had some difficulties three or four months ago. Now, in most cases, we can get them in about three weeks or you can drive to Harrisburg (New Castle) and get them the same day or within a couple days.”

Wityk recommended avoiding the online option altogether.

“I do discourage using the online route,” she said. “It takes longer and costs more. If something goes wrong, we can’t track it, so we have no ability to address the online birth certificate applications. For those interested, I recommend they come into our office so we can help them with it and address any issues that come up.”

To obtain a new birth certificate, applicants must provide either a valid state driver’s license or a state-issued ID. The fee is $20, which must be paid with a check or money order. The fee is waived for veterans. Wityk said applicants must also bring information about their mother and father in order to fill out the brief application.

April can be reached at afeagley@huntingdondailynews.com.

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