Frequently Asked Questions

What are the ID requirements for getting a vital record?
A full list of ID requirements and acceptable forms of primary and secondary ID can be found under ID Requirements in the left hand navigation bar.

What is your address and contact information?
Mailing Address:
Office of Vital Records
P.O. 1000
Richmond, VA 23218-1000

Physical Address:
Office of Vital Records (Office hours are 7:00am  –  4:30pm M – F)
2001 Maywill Street, Suite 101
Richmond, VA 23230

Call Center:
(804) 662-6200

Email:
Please select the Contact Us tab at the top of the page and use the E-mail Us section of that page.

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. METHOD OF PAYMENT – Online requests can be paid by credit card or mailed in with a check or money order. Make checks or money orders payable to: The State Health Department. Instructions for completing a check or a money order can be found in the appropriate section of the left hand navigation bar.  DO NOT SEND CASH through the mail. In person payments can be made by check, money order, credit card or cash.

Are Birth Cards available?
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.  Visit the Department of Social Services’ website to learn more and find contact information for an Adoption Disclosure Specialist who can assist you.

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 complete an Application for Certification of a Birth Record and send it in with payment, ID and pertinent records you received from the adoption.

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, current spouse, 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 www.lva.virginia.gov.

Am I entitled to a full certified copy of a death 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 if they have a direct and tangible interest for the certificate. 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 team using the Email Us section of the Contact Us page.

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 with a separate check or money order. 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 the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at authentication@governor.virginia.gov or www.commonwealth.virginia.gov.

How would I correct information on a Birth Certificate?
There are several provisions in the Virginia statutes whereby changes may be made on a vital record. We encourage you to use the Birth Certificate Amendment Request Form found under How to Request an Amendment to a Birth Certificate in the left hand navigation bar. We will advise you on what needs to be done to make the correction. If you also need a copy of the amended certificate, please send an application, found under Applications for a Vital Records in the left hand navigation bar, along with and payment of $12 per certificate requested. Submit your requests to Attn: Special Services Dept.

How would I correct information on a Marriage or Divorce Certificate?
The Office of Vital Records is the repository and custodian for all birth, death, marriage and divorce records filed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.   We issue certified copies of these records and make amendments and/or corrections to birth and death records only.

Unfortunately, the Office of Vital Records does not make corrections to marriage or divorce records.  In order to correct these records you should contact the city or county circuit court that issued the marriage certificate.  Once the correction is made with the court, they will forward a corrected certificate to our office for filing.  The website for the city and county circuit courts is https://www.vacourts.gov/.

How long does it take to get a certificate?
For all birth records requiring no amendments (adoptions, paternity establishment, name changes, etc.), please allow 8 to 10 weeks.

Marriage and divorce records are available at the Circuit Court in which the event took place. Most records are available at your local DMV or Local Health Department locations.

For records requiring amendments (adoptions, paternity establishment, name changes, etc.), response time, please allow 20 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.

How can I get my certificate faster?
There is an expedited service that you can reach by calling 1-877-572-6333 (press option 2) or going to www.vitalchek.com. You will need a major credit card to use this service.  You can also visit your local health department or DMV to get certificates.

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, changes were made to the certification paper. The new paper meets the requirements of Virginia law §32.1-272 of the Code of Virginia and 12 VAC 5-550-510 of the Regulations Governing Vital Records. 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. Please select the Contact Us tab at the top of the page and use the E-mail Us section to contact Vital Records. Or you can click here and provide them with a copy of this letter.

Where can I find VS4 forms or other supplies?
All requests for supplies should be sent to this email address: vitalrec.supplies@vdh.virginia.gov

The request should include the organization’s name, requester’s name and position, mailing address, daytime contact number, the form you are requesting, and the amount you are requesting.

How can I find out if I’m still legally married?
In accordance with the code and regulations governing the issuance of vital records and to ensure the confidentiality of our records and the protection of your privacy, we cannot give out any information listed on a vital record without a written request for a certified copy of the record, proper ID, and the applicable fee for the search of the records. Please submit your written request, a copy of acceptable ID and the applicable fee of $12.00 via check or money order to: the Office of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1000, Richmond, VA 23218. The Application for a Certification can be obtained here.

Alternatively, you can start an online application by clicking on the Start Online Application Form button on that page, or select the appropriate PDF application based on the vital event (birth, death, marriage, divorce).

How can I obtain an Authentication or an Apostille?
Authentications and Apostilles are handled by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Visit their website to obtain instructions on their process.

How do I obtain a letter of qualification for my father’s death?
We’re sorry, the Office of Vital Records does not handle death qualifications.  Please contact the Circuit Court in the city or county in which your father lived for guidance.

Where can I obtain my ex-spouse’s new marriage certificate?
We’re sorry, as the ex-spouse you are not entitled to your former spouse’s new marriage record.

What are the requirements to get a Virginia Marriage License?
Congratulations on your pending nuptials.  The Office of Vital Records is the repository and custodian for all birth, death, marriage and divorce records filed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  We issue certified copies of these records and make amendments and/or corrections to birth and death records.

Unfortunately, the Office of Vital Records cannot assist you with what is required to obtain a marriage license since marriage licenses are issued by the city or county circuit courts throughout the Commonwealth.   It is suggested that you contact the city or county circuit court where you plan to obtain your marriage license and ask them what their requirements are.   The website for a listing of the city and county circuit courts is https://www.vacourts.gov/.

Where is my child’s social security card?
There could be several reasons why you have not received the social security card for your child. If you requested that Vital Records send your child’s information to Social Security at the time of the child’s birth, please allow 10 to 12 weeks for the arrival of the social security card. If more than 10 weeks have elapsed since the child’s birth, we will forward your concern to our Certificate Management Department for follow-up. Please allow 1-2 business days for them to contact you. If you have other questions regarding social security, please contact the social security office in your city or county for assistance.

How can I request Adoption Records or an original Birth Record?
Once a new certificate is created, the original birth certificate and adoption order are placed in a seal file. Information regarding the release of the adoption order and original birth certificate may be obtained from the Adoption Report and Resource Section, Office of Social Services, 7 N. 8th Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219-1849.

What if I can’t meet the ID Requirements?
If you are unable to supply any of the primary ID documents or two of the secondary ID documents it is suggested that you have an immediate family member request your certificate. A mother, father, adult sibling, grandparent or spouse is entitled to get the certificate. They would need to make the request in writing (or in person if they reside in or close to Virginia) and supply a copy of their ID along with the applicable fee. They can also make the request through our expedited service VitalChek.

A legal representative for the registrant who can supply a properly executed Power of Attorney along with their ID, may also be legally able to obtain the certificate on the registrant’s behalf. Examples of this might be the registrant’s lawyer or a funeral director (when applicable). In this case, please submit a contact sheet to OVR for registrants or eligible requesters that cannot meet the identification requirements or have no immediate family members to the request the vital record.

Amending a Vital Record
There are several provisions in the Virginia statutes whereby changes may be made on vital records. Therefore, in order to advise you as to the proper procedure, it is necessary for us to review the vital record in question. Please make your request in writing and include the information listed on the vital record. For your convenience a Birth Certificate Amendment form can obtained here. For a death amendment, send a letter and include the information listed on the vital record. The letter should include the correct information that should appear on the vital record.

You should mail your request to:
Office of Vital Records
Attn: Special Services Department
P.O. Box 1000
Richmond, VA 23218

You will be informed of the next necessary steps to complete the process once your request has been reviewed.