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Frequently Asked Questions


What are the ID requirements for getting a vital record?

What is your mailing address and telephone number?
Office of Vital Records
P.O. 1000
Richmond, VA 23218-1000
General Information Number: 804-662-6200

What is the cost of a vital record?
The Code of Virginia requires a cost of $12.00 per certificate/search. There is no refund if the certificate is not found. If no record is found for a birth certificate request, a "No Record" letter will be issued. Make checks or money orders payable to: The State Health Department. DO NOT SEND CASH through the mail. METHOD OF PAYMENT - CHECK or MONEY ORDER ONLY. Please note: birth cards are no longer issued.

I am adopted and seeking original birth information.
Adoption records are sealed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and you should contact the Virginia Department of Social Services - Report of Adoption Unit. You can also obtain information from http://www.dss.virginia.gov.

I am a Virginia Resident and adopted a child born in a foreign country. How do I obtain a certified birth record from Virginia?
This office will issue a Certificate of Foreign Birth with the proper documentation. Please contact our Special Services Department for further instructions at (804) 662-6200.

What is the procedure to update a birth certificate after having Gender Reassignment Surgery?
A certified copy of a court order indicating the correct gender to be listed on the birth certificate. In addition to the certified court order, the petition/application (showing the identifying facts of birth - name at birth, date of birth, place of birth and name of parents) must also be submitted. If the name has legally been changed, a certified copy of the court order along with the petition/application (showing the identifying facts of birth - name at birth, date of birth, place of birth and name of parents) must be submitted to this office. The fee is $12 for one copy of the birth record and a fee of $10 is charged for making the amendment to the record.

What hours are you open?
We are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday. Check for schedule changes around holidays. We are closed on major holidays.

What records do you have?
Births and Deaths: 1853-1896 and June 1912 to present. Birth cards are no longer available.
Marriage Records: 1853 to the present.
Divorce Records: 1918 to the present.

Birth records are public information 100 years after the date of the event; death, marriage, and divorce records, 25 years after the date of the event. Vital Records are available to immediate family members only- mother, father, husband, wife, child, brother, sister and grandparents with valid ID. Aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc. cannot obtain a Vital Record.

Due to limited resources we are unable to conduct genealogy searches. Contact the Library of Virginia for assistance at http://www.lva.virginia.gov.

I'm not entitled to a full certified copy of a death certificate; however, I do have a direct and tangible interest for the certificate.
Only immediate family members are entitled to full certified copies of death certificates; however, non immediate family members can receive a VERIFICATION OF DEATH. The VERIFICATION OF DEATH will show the name of the decedent, date of death, place of death, date of birth and the last four (4) digits of the Social Security Number. If the VERIFICATION does not meet your needs, please contact our Customer Service at (804) 662-6200 for further assistance.

I need my birth & marriage certificates authenticated. What do I do?
You must request your birth and marriage certificates from the Office of Vital Records. The cost is $12.00 per certificate, payment is payable to the State Health Department. The cost for each authentication is $10.00 payable to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In your request, please list the country the authentication is needed for as they vary from country to country. Your request will be mailed to you with the required documentation.

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth is not located in the Office of Vital Records. For more information contact that Office at 804-786-2441 or http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov.

How do you correct information on a certificate?
There are several provisions in the Virginia statutes whereby changes may be made on a vital record. We encourage you to write us with your correction request and we will advise you on what needs to be done to make the correction.
Submit your requests to Attn: Special Services Dept.

How long does it take to get a certificate?
For all birth records requiring no amendments (adoptions, paternity establishment, name changes, etc.), please allow 2 to 4 weeks.

All marriage records, death records, divorce records, and non-automated birth records, please allow a delivery time of 2 to 4 weeks. Marriage and divorce records are available at the Circuit Court in which the event took place. Recent death records are available at the local health department where the death certificate was filed.

For records requiring amendments (adoptions, paternity establishment, name changes, etc.), response time, please allow 12 weeks.

Delayed birth registrations will have no delivery time frame due to the process of obtaining documentation to support the facts of birth.

Our peak season is February through September so allow ample time to receive your request.

I waited until the last minute to request my certified vital record. How can I get it faster?
There is an expedited service that you can reach by calling 1-877-572-6333 (press option 2). You will need a major credit card to use this service. They can also be found at http://www.vitalchek.com/.

Do you have records for other states?
No, we only have records for events that occurred in Virginia. However, a listing of every state's Vital Records information can be found on the CDC's website. Please be advised that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the fee schedules that are posted for the individual states.

I was born outside the U.S. but a child of the U.S. parent(s). Where do I get a birth record?
U.S. Dept. of State
Passport Services, Correspondence Branch
1111 19th Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20522-1705
(202) 955-0307

Can you tell me why the certified vital record I received did not have a raised seal?
Effective February 1, 2001, we made changes to our certification paper. Under Virginia law §32.1-272 of the Code of Virginia and 12 VAC 5-550-510 of the Regulations Governing Vital Records, I have met the requirements for the issuance of vital records. Statute only requires that the seal of the issuing office be impressed (not raised) on the certification. The new certification paper provides a more cost effective and efficient manner to process vital record requests.

Before issuing the new certification paper to the public, samples of the new certification paper were sent to passport offices across the country as well as other state, federal and local agencies. If you encounter any agency that questions this certification paper, please direct them to this office. The telephone number is (804) 662-6200. Or you can click here and provide them with a copy of this letter.   


Last Updated: 05-09-2014

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