Parents often submit requests for their children. One big reason we felt the need to move online was the increased demand for birth certificates.

Soon U. In Massachusetts, you need your birth certificate just to get a license.

Requesting Vital Records

For this reason, the Registry Department has seen a huge uptick in requests as we near the federal deadline for compliance with the law. The law will go into full effect on October 1, , so birth certificate requests will only continue to grow. Creating an online option for this process will make things easier and more efficient for both residents and City staff. Whether you need to find a babysitter or take time off of work, the trip can be a real hassle.

People on a tight timeline were left with few options. Moving these types of City services online for residents and those born in the City just makes sense. People still have the option to go through VitalChek , a third-party service contracted by the state, to find their vital records.

Orders can also take more than a few weeks to process.

As the main source of truth for birth certificates in Boston, we felt that we were well-positioned to offer a quicker, cheaper, and more streamlined option. There are actually some distinct considerations for birth certificates. Most states have strict regulations on vital records, and that includes Massachusetts.


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In some cases, only certain authorized people can access a record or certificate. Anyone can look up the certificate and order a copy. Only those people listed on the birth certificate can order a copy.

Order Official Massachusetts Birth Certificates Online From Massachusetts Vital Records.

For our first prototype, we mirrored what we set up with our death certificates application. There was a basic search function that would allow users to select and buy a birth certificate. Testing it with constituents who came into City Hall, we found that most people wanted to treat it like a search engine. Some of the best feedback we received was in our second round of testing with staff from the Registry Department. They helped us see an opportunity to create a more personal experience.

Official Records & Certificates | Shrewsbury, MA

We realized that we could set up an experience that guides each person along a journey, gathering answers that the Registry Department needs to complete the request. Instead of using basic search, we used progressive disclosure to simplify the complexity of the request. This interaction design technique helps both customers looking for their birth certificate and City staff looking for their record.

From the start, we ask our users specific details about their situation, and then craft prompts and responses based off those answers.


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All copies are certified. By Mail : You can also request that a certificate be mailed to you. You should print and complete a request form found on the website , a photo copy of your ID and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Payment may be made by check or money order only, payable to the City of Boston.

Certified Copies

Do not send cash through the mail. Delivery usually takes about weeks. If you are looking for a birth, marriage, or death record that took place outside of Boston, contact that city or town directly.