By the time my son was two and a half, he had been on about 70 flights. So when our daughter was born, my wife and I were excited to get her a passport and begin her lifetime of adventures. But first: We needed to look into getting a birth certificate.
The hospital experience surrounding childbirth can be a bit of a blur; at least, it was for us. Both of my wife’s deliveries turned into emergency situations with prolonged recovery times. (Here’s the story of Jack’s birth and here’s Olivia’s). There’s so much to think about during those first few days and weeks and it wasn’t until after we left the hospital that we tried to remember what we had to do to get Olivia’s birth certificate. For some reason, I thought the hospital just gave us one or had one sent to us but then I remembered that it was her Social Security card that we got in the mail.
Getting a birth certificate in Los Angeles
So Natalie researched the process to get a birth certificate online and found out where to get one and somewhat near where we live, it was a courthouse. I thought for sure I would be in for a long day but to my pleasant surprise, that was not the case. First of all, I went to the LAX Courthouse, which is in a new, modern, semi-high story building. Pulling into the parking lot, a guy pulling out motioned to me. I thought he was going to ask for directions but instead he handed me a parking pass that expired 20 minutes later for space 17. I took it just to be appreciative, but no way did I think that was going to be enough time. Instead of dealing with the parking ticket machines, I thought I would at least go into the building to assess the situation and then go back to get a longer parking pass.
I quickly went through the metal detector, asked where to get a birth certificate and was directed to the sixth floor. I heard another woman holding a baby in a carrier ask the same question in front of me and she got on the elevator first. Then the elevator stopped on the second floor to pick up a young mother and her toddler. She didn’t press any buttons so I knew she was going where we were. Sure enough, she got off the elevator at the sixth floor and I felt a little like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm – should I just cruise ahead of them? But I had to be a gentleman and let them go first.
There were four kiosks that everyone needed to use first before getting in line to pay the fee. Three old men were struggling to use the computers. The young mother went first as the first mother decided to take a phone call first.
All you need to do is swipe your driver’s license and input you and your child’s information. Then the machine prints a ticket and you go to the line to pay. There was only one person in front of me. The clerk was really nice but when she sneezed into her hand, I thought, oh boy. But then she pulled out some hand sanitizer and cleaned up. Phew!
She took my money (cash or check). FYI: Paying with a debit card will cost you an extra $1.75 fee so I paid cash. I thought the clerk would then mail me the birth certificate but instead she printed it right then and there for me. A few seconds later I was out the door with the crisp birth certificate and still had a few minutes left on the parking pass. As much as I give the government grief, the process was painless. Once your baby is three months old, just show up with your application form, ID and $28 before the baby turns one. You can also request a birth certificate online or by mail but both will take longer than showing up in person and walking out the door with the birth certificate in your hand. Next up: Olivia’s first passport!
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.