Locating the Document Number on a Birth Certificate for I-9 Purposes

When embarking on a new job opportunity in the United States, it’s essential to provide the necessary documentation to verify your employment eligibility. One of the critical documents accepted for this purpose is a birth certificate, and understanding where to locate the document number on this vital record is crucial for a smooth I-9 process. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the importance of the birth certificate document number, where to find it, and address common questions to ensure a hassle-free onboarding experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Locate the Document Number: Finding the document number on a birth certificate is crucial for I-9 form completion.
  • Certified Copies Only: Ensure the birth certificate is a certified copy issued by a vital records office.
  • Complementary Documents: Social security cards, green cards, and employment authorization cards are also acceptable for I-9 verification.
  • Accurate Verification: Proper document verification is essential for compliance with employment eligibility regulations.

Understanding the I-9 Form and Employment Eligibility Verification 

The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is a mandatory requirement for all employers in the United States. This form ensures that individuals hired are authorized to work in the country by verifying their identity and employment eligibility. To complete the I-9 form, employers must review and record information from specific documents provided by the new employee.

For detailed guidance on how to apostille a birth certificate, refer to our comprehensive article on apostille services for birth certificates.

Importance of the Birth Certificate Document Number 

For individuals born in the United States, a birth certificate is one of the acceptable documents that can be presented for I-9 purposes. However, it’s crucial to provide the correct document number found on the birth certificate. This unique identifier ensures that the document is valid and can be verified by the issuing authority, such as the Department of Vital Records or the Social Security Administration.

Where to Find the Document Number on a Birth Certificate 

The location of the document number on a birth certificate can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction where it was issued. In most cases, the document number is prominently displayed on the front or back of the certificate. Here are some common locations where you might find the document number:

  1. Front of the certificate, typically near the top or bottom.
  2. Back of the certificate, often near the seal or stamp.
  3. In the margins or borders of the certificate.

It’s essential to carefully examine the entire birth certificate to locate the document number, as the placement can vary across different states and jurisdictions.

Understanding what happens when you authenticate your birth certificate can be crucial, as discussed in our post on authenticating a birth certificate.

Key Entities Related to I-9 and Birth Certificates

  • Document Number: Essential for verifying the authenticity of the birth certificate.
  • Social Security Card: Another common document used for I-9 verification.
  • United States: The country where the I-9 form is required.
  • Birth Certificate: Used to verify identity and citizenship.
  • Social Security Number: Often used alongside the birth certificate for employment verification.
  • Form I-9: The official form for employment eligibility verification.
  • Employment Authorization: Proof that an individual is allowed to work in the U.S.
  • U.S. Department: Refers to departments like Homeland Security and Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Green Card: A document showing permanent residency.
  • U.S. Citizenship: Status verified by birth certificate or other documents.

Problem and Solution

Problem: Locating the Document Number on a Birth Certificate

Many new employees and employers struggle to find the document number on a birth certificate, which can delay the I-9 form completion and employment process.

Solution: Clear Guidance and Instructions

This blog provides clear guidance on where to find the document number on various types of birth certificates, ensuring that both new employees and employers can complete the I-9 form accurately and efficiently.

Acceptable Birth Certificates for I-9 Purposes 

Not all birth certificates are accepted for I-9 purposes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have specific guidelines regarding acceptable birth certificates. Generally, the following types of birth certificates are considered valid:

  1. Birth certificates issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal.
  2. Certified copies of birth certificates issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545 or DS-1350).
  3. Birth certificates issued by Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

It’s important to note that birth certificates issued by hospitals or religious entities are not considered acceptable for I-9 purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a birth certificate with a missing or illegible document number for I-9 purposes? 

No, a birth certificate without a clear and legible document number cannot be accepted for I-9 purposes. The document number is a crucial identifier for verification purposes.

What if my birth certificate was lost or destroyed? 

If your birth certificate was lost or destroyed, you can obtain a certified copy from the issuing authority, such as the Department of Vital Records in your state or jurisdiction of birth.

Can I use a photocopy or scanned copy of my birth certificate for I-9 purposes? 

No, photocopies or scanned copies of birth certificates are generally not accepted for I-9 purposes. You must present an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.

Can I use a birth certificate issued by a foreign country for I-9 purposes? 

Birth certificates issued by foreign countries are generally not accepted for I-9 purposes unless they are accompanied by additional documentation, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or Employment Authorization Document.

What other documents can I present for I-9 purposes if I don’t have a birth certificate? 

If you don’t have a birth certificate, you can present other acceptable documents listed on the I-9 form, such as a U.S. passport, Permanent Resident Card, Employment Authorization Document, or a combination of documents from List A, B, and C.

Key Takeaways

  • The document number on a birth certificate is a crucial identifier for I-9 purposes, ensuring the validity and verification of the document.
  • The location of the document number can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction where the birth certificate was issued.
  • Only specific types of birth certificates, such as those issued by state or federal authorities, are acceptable for I-9 purposes.
  • If you don’t have a birth certificate or it doesn’t have a legible document number, you can present other acceptable documents listed on the I-9 form.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the I-9 requirements and acceptable documents can ensure a smooth onboarding process and compliance with employment eligibility verification.


Navigating the I-9 process can be daunting, but understanding where to find the document number on a birth certificate is a critical step in ensuring a seamless onboarding experience. By carefully examining your birth certificate and locating the document number, you can provide the necessary information for employment eligibility verification. Remember, compliance with I-9 requirements is essential for both employers and employees, and presenting valid and acceptable documents is crucial for a successful employment journey in the United States.