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Boston launches online birth certificate registry

A sample of a Massachusetts Real ID license from the RMV website.

The city of Boston launched an online registry Tuesday that allows birth certificates to be ordered directly through the city’s Registry of Birth, Death, and Marriage.

The move will help residents comply with the REAL ID Act that will take effect in October, officials said.

The Department of Innovation and Technology launched the web application in response to the 30 percent increase in requests for Boston-based birth certificates in the past year. The city attributes this to the impending REAL ID Act, which will require an enhanced driver’s license to travel and enter federal buildings, and residents need their birth certificate to get the new license, the city said.


“We’re committed to using technology to make our residents’ lives simpler and public documents more accessible,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh in a statement. “Birth certificates are needed by many of our residents, and this new system will allow greater transparency and convenience, allowing residents easier access to their vital records.”

Walsh said the state contracted with a third-party to access these records online, which meant the average costs to residents was more than $40 and usually took several weeks to process.

The city will still offer in-person certificates for $12 and mail-order for $14, but compared the success of its online death certificate application launched last March for reference.

“This past February, 42 percent of death certificates processed were ordered online, and Boston anticipates similar efficiencies gained for constituents and city staff processing the birth requests,” the statement said.

Walsh also has partnered with state Representative Michael Moran of Brighton to file legislation for a statewide version of this registry.

“Making critical documents like birth certificates more accessible to every person born in Boston is vital to ensuring equity and improving a resident’s ability to obtain a driver’s license, secure housing, and get a job,” Moran said in the statement from the city Tuesday. “I am eager to build on it with our legislation to remove even more barriers to accessing these critical documents that some of our most vulnerable residents face.”


Sabrina Schnur can be reached at sabrina.schnur@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sabrina_schnur.