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Photocopy vs. Computer: Which Florida Birth Certificate is Right for You?


Ordering a certified copy of a birth certificate directly from the State of Florida? You'll need to decide whether to get a photocopy certification or a computer certification. It can get confusing figuring out the difference and which option you really need.

This blog post will explain photocopy and computer birth certificates in Florida. It will also discuss when you can and cannot use them. Additionally, it will provide guidance on how to obtain the correct certificate for your needs.

What is a Photocopy Birth Certificate?

A certified photocopy from Florida's Vital Statistics Office is an official copy of the original birth registration document.

Certified photocopies show the same birth record as the original application kept by the state, like a photocopy of the original. They display more detailed information than a computer certification.

The key facts about Florida photocopy birth certificates:

  • Only available for births prior to 2004. They cannot issue photocopy certifications for births after 2003.
  • Shows the actual image of the birth registration document, which includes more information than a computer version.
  • Certified copies that are officially issued by the state of Florida.

So in a nutshell, photocopy certifications are best for getting an official copy of the original paper birth record for older births before 2004.

What is a Computer Birth Certificate?

Computer certifications are generated digitally from Florida's electronic birth registration database instead of being photocopies of paper documents.

They contain basic facts about the birth like names, dates, and location. Unlike photocopies, computer certifications don't show images of actual paper records.

Here are the main things to know about Florida computer birth certificates:

  • Issued for births from 2004 to the present. Only computer certifications are available for recent births.
  • Only includes basic facts about the birth, not detailed images of records.
  • Recognized and accepted by all government agencies.
  • Available for older births back to 1917, but without images of original documents.

So computer certifications are ideal for getting a fast, basic birth certificate copy that's officially accepted for legal purposes. They work for any birth year but don't provide photocopies of original documents as the older paper versions do.

When Should You Choose Each Type?

Whether you should get a Florida photocopy or computer birth certification depends on a few key factors:

Birth Year Needed

  • 2004 to present - Must use computer certification
  • 1917 to 2003 - Can use the computer for basic facts or photocopy for an exact record image
  • Before 1917 - Only photocopy available


  • Computer certification meets requirements for legal/official purposes
  • Photocopies show more detail than original records

In general, photocopy certifications are best for genealogy research or if you want to see the actual paper document. Computer certifications work for most legal and travel needs.

Ordering Florida Birth Certificates Online

The easiest way to ensure you get the right type of Florida birth certificate is to order online through a service like We make the process fast, convenient, and foolproof.

Some of the many values we offer at State Vital Records are:

  • Affordable - We offer affordable, transparent pricing and multiple shipping options.
  • Convenient - Don't wait in line or mail paperwork - order online from the comfort of your home.
  • Secure - Your information is protected by multiple levels of modern data security technologies.