More Than a Piece of Paper


Before I joined the team at the City of Canyon, I had a career in journalism. I spent my time meeting people and writing about events across the county. I felt like I knew a lot about Canyon. My beat – or the subject I mainly covered – was actually the City of Canyon. I attended City Commission meetings and often interviewed City department heads. I thought I knew how the City worked.

I was wrong.

When I began my job in the Business Office for the City, I quickly discovered there were a myriad of responsibilities that never occurred to me. Many of those responsibilities deal with the inner workings of the city. Of course the Business Office also manages the utility billing for residents, businesses and organizations. What is amazing to me is the variety of public services the Business Office conducts on any given day. One thing that would never occur to me to go to the Business Office for would be what seems like a simple piece of paper that can be complex to obtain.

Trying to get a passport? Need to add a child to your benefits? Have to prove birthdate information for an activity or job? You’ll need a certified birth certificate.

While a certified birth certificate works for nearly any purpose, using it for a passport application can be more difficult. The City clerks know about the needed information to make sure the birth certificate will be accepted for a passport. To obtain a birth certificate for those born in Texas, come into the Business Office at City Hall, located at 301 16th St., in Canyon.

Those requesting a certificate can be one’s self, an immediate family memBC1ber by blood, marriage or adoption, a guardian, a legal representative with documentation or those proving to have a direct and tangible interest for legal proceedings. A clerk will have you fill out a form that is basically the information on the birth certificate. This includes the person’s birth name, place and date of birth and the birth name of the parents. We will also make a color copy of your current driver’s license, state ID or passport. If one does not have a valid form of a photo ID, he or she is required to have two forms of identification. For a list of items accepted, please call the Business Office at 806-655-5003, option 3.

A birth certificate for those born in the city limits of Canyon is referred to as a “long form.” Those are automatically qualified for a passport application. This is the preferred birth certificate for a passport application. Consider it the “golden ticket” of birth certificates. It will suffice for anything in which you might need a birth certificate.

If you were born outside of Canyon, the Business Office can still provide you with a certified birth certificate. This is what is referred to as an “abstract.” It contains a bit less information on it than the long form. However, for those born outside of Canyon before 1964, the person will need to contact his or her county or city of birth. That is because those records have not been verified. Anyone born in a Texas hospital after 1964, should have an “I” printed on the certificate. This indicates that the state has verified the person was born in an institution of record. The “I” makes the abstract birth certificate acceptable for a passport application. An exception could include someone born after 1964, but in a facility that closed prior to 2002. Because the institution of record rule was made after 9/11, facilities that closed prior to that time could not be consulted.

It seems complicated, but the clerks at City Hall in the Business Office know these rules, so you don’t have to remember it all. We try to make obtaining that birth certificate as easy on you as possible. Often people are in a hurry or frustrated because the Post Office rejected the birth certificate presented. It might be outdated, missing the “I” or not certified. We understand that and are here to get you what you need so you can continue on with your day.

It’s just another way the City of Canyon serves the public.

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