How do I get a birth certificate when I have been adopted?

As someone who is adopted, your original birth certificate is considered a historic document and is therefore not valid. This is because it will be in your original birth name and is not who you are. If you have been adopted, your Adoption Certificate replaces your Birth Certificate for all official purposes. 

Adoption certificates contain all the relevant legal information about someone when they need to prove identity, such as applying for work or getting/renewing a passport. If you were to have a copy of your original birth certificate it would be in a different name and therefore would not reflect your legal name.

No-one has the right to refuse your adoption certificate for identity purposes, although we regularly hear stories of employers who do not understand the law around this issue. If you are having difficulties with your new employer and them accepting your Adoption Certificate as proof of your right to work, you can provide them with this document from the Home Office. Adoption Certificates are referred to on Page 13. 

You can order a replacement of your adoption certificate here:

If you know your original birth details (birth name, natural parent names), and want a copy of your original birth certificate you have the right to order a copy. If you want to find out more about your natural parents, your first step would usually be to the Adoptions Unit at the General Register Office. You can call them on +44 (0)151 471 4830 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). This service is available to persons aged 18 or over. 

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