It’s salt in the wound — all your important documents destroyed during a disaster like the wildfires California is enduring right now. To make the job of replacing those papers and card a little easier for you we’ve included a comprehensive list of links and numbers.
Replacing Important Papers
- NOTE THAT ALL ASSOCIATED FEES ARE LIKELY WAIVED FOR THOSE RESIDING IN LAKE AND NAPA COUNTIES
Birth and Death Certificates
- Birth and death certificates can be replaced by visiting your county vital records office or online via the California Department of Public Health at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/
- Note that you generally need a notarized copy of your birth certificate—not a photocopy—in order to get other forms of documentation.
- Make an appointment and visit any California DMV office (a list of offices can be found at http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/fo/offices/toc_fo.htm. The Lake County office is in Lakeport and Napa County has a branch in Napa).
- More information and the proper forms can be found at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/dl_info
Social Security Card
- Go to a Social Security Administration office. You cannot apply for a card online.
- There is no charge for a Social Security card. This service is free.
- Different documents are required depending on your citizenship and the type of card you are requesting. To determine which documents are required as well as a copy of the Application for a Social Security Card, visit: https://faq.ssa.gov/
- You also can request a copy of your Social Security statement online ssa.gov
Vehicle Registration or Title
- Contact your county DMV office.
- For replacement registration, complete an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) (PDF). Include the vehicle license plate number, your true full name, current address, your driver license number and signature.
- If the title is lost, an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) (PDF)must be completed and signed.
- Complete form DS-64 from http://tinyurl.com/ld6z28k
- Request Standard Form 180 (SF-180) from any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW or Red Cross, or download from http://tinyurl.com/lnu2pmt
- You’ll need to contact your insurance company for replacement papers. Also, ask them what to do about the immediate needs of your home and what they want you to do first (i.e. make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire.)
Transcript of Your Tax Return
- Call your nearest Treasury Department office, IRS office or 800-829-3646; request form 4506. To find your local IRS office, go to http://tinyurl.com/mvk5dvu
- Complete Form PDF 1048 (Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds); available by calling 304-480-6112 or at treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf
- Contact your bank regarding any debit or credit cards issued through them.
- American Express: 800-528-4800
- Discover: 800-347-2683
- MasterCard: 800-622-7747
- Visa: 800-847-2911
A good general checklist of steps following a fire, created by FEMA, can be found at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa_46.pdf
- Contact the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. A list of California County Recorders offices and contact information can be found on this state website. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CountyRecorderOffice.aspx
- Public marriage records are available from the county recorder in the county where the license was issued. Confidential marriage records are available only through the county clerk in the county where the license was issued. A list of county clerks can be found here: http://www.ca.gov/HomeFamily/Marriage/Recorders-Clerks.html
- Certified copies of divorce decrees are available only from the Superior Court in the county where the decree was granted. Find your Superior Court here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm
- If the adoption was finalized in California, contact California Department of Social Services Adoptions Support Unit at http://www.childsworld.ca.gov/PG1314.htm
- Contact your county office or the site below for citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, re-entry permit and more. http://www.uscis.gov/