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Birth Certificates

 

DCVRD notices

8/30/2019: Vital records offices across the country are experiencing high certificate order volumes.  Due to the spike in order volumes, DCVRD is experiencing higher than normal wait times.  Our peak wait time is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  If you plan to visit our office, please consider doing so during off-peak hours.  Alternatively, you may order a certificate remotely via mail, online or phone application processing.  Visit https://dchealth.dc.gov/vital-records for more information about remote ordering.

Birth Certificates

birth

The DC Vital Records Division (DCVRD) maintains birth certificates dating back to August 1874. Birth records become public after 125 years. All other birth records are closed and certified copies may only be obtained if you are legally entitled and present the required personal documentation (see below) and fees.

Certified copies of open and closed records are available at the DCVRD. Archived copies of public (open) records are available at the DC Office of Public Records.

WHO is entitled to a birth certificate?

To protect the identity and privacy of citizens of the District of Columbia, DC Health restricts access to birth certificates that aren’t in the public record.

By law, cousins, nephews/nieces, aunts/uncles, friends, neighbors, and even spouses and domestic partners are NOT allowed to order an individual’s birth certificate.

However, you ARE entitled if you are a:

  1. Parent
    You must be named as the parent on the birth certificate.
  2. Adult child or sibling
    You need to have the stated relationship supported on your own certified birth certificate. For births outside DC, you need to provide your actual certified birth record.
  3. Grandparent
    You need to have the stated relationships supported on your own child’s certified birth record. Your child must be listed as a parent on the birth certificate you are seeking. For births outside of DC, you need to provide your child’s actual certified birth record.
  4. Legal guardian
    You need a copy of the legal court order (with a seal) naming you as guardian.
  5. Legal representative
    You need a copy of the retainer agreement, bar card AND a typed letter on the firm’s letterhead authorizing retrieval of this document.
  6. Social worker
    You need a typed letter on your firm’s letterhead with your name, your social workers license/card, and a copy of your unexpired work ID with a photo.
  7. Power of attorney
    You need a copy of the original, certified Power of Attorney (which expires once the principal or grantor is deceased).
  8. Law enforcement
    You need the DC Superior Court subpoena or other documents ordering issuance AND a copy of your unexpired work ID with a photo.

For births that occurred in DC
You do not need to provide the actual certificate to show proof of a relationship. The DC Department of Health can verify DC birth record information using our Electronic Birth Registration System (EBRS).

You can order your own birth certificate.
You need to be at least 18 years of age and have identification documents (see below) that match the name on the birth certificate. If the name on your identification does NOT match the name on the certificate, you must prove evidence of a legal name change by way of an original, court sealed legal name change order.

What do I need to bring with me to prove my identity?

We recommend that you bring several forms of ID to ensure that DCVRD employees are able to verify your identity.

For a printable version of the below requirements, please review our Identity Guidelines Information Sheet.

During your visit, you will be required to complete an identity verification questionnaire at our self- service kiosks. (Read more under “How do the on-site kiosks work?”)

If the kiosk is able to authenticate your identity, you will be required to present at least ONE of the following forms of primary photo ID (which must be original, valid, unexpired, and undamaged.):

  • State-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s ID card
  • Passport or passport card
  • Permanent resident card
  • Employment authorization card
  • Department of State card
  • Military ID Card
  • Law enforcement ID (must also present DC Superior Court subpoena)
  • Government employee ID (applies only to licensed social workers or government representatives with pre-existing approval from the State Registrar)

If the name on your identification does NOT match the name on the certificate, you must prove evidence of a legal name change, like an original marriage certificate or an original sealed legal name change order.

If the kiosk is able to authenticate your identity but you do not have a primary photo ID, you will be required to present TWO FORMS of alternate identification from the list below (which must show your full name, current address and/or signature where appropriate):

  • Valid, unexpired employment ID card (with photo) WITH a pay stub (dated within last 60 days)
  • Expired (within last 5 years) state-issued driver’s license, non-driver’s ID card or passport
  • Photo ID from a school in a U.S. state or territory (within last 3 years) WITH a report card, transcript or other proof of school enrollment (within last 3 years)
  • Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons photo ID or probation/discharge papers with photo
  • Social Security card
  • Vehicle registration/title
  • U.S. Selective Service card
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Federal Census records
  • Court documents
  • Pay stub (within last 30 days)
  • Utility bill (dated within last 60 days)
  • Valid DC ONE card
  • W2 or federal tax return from the previous year
  • DD214 military discharge/separation document
  • Legible printed copy of primary/secondary photo ID

If the kiosk is unable to authenticate your identity, you will be required to present ONE form of primary photo ID and TWO of the documents from the list below. (These options will appear when you present your primary photo ID.)

  • Social Security card
  • Vehicle registration/title
  • Utility bill (dated within the last 60 days)
  • Sealed court documents
  • W2 or filed US tax return from the previous year
  • Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons photo ID or probation/discharge papers with photo

 

HOW can you order the certificate?

New parents don't automatically receive a copy of their child's birth certificate. We recommend that you get a copy as soon after the birth as possible. This will help you make sure that the birth was registered properly by the medical facility and that the information on the certificate is correct.

For your convenience, there are several ways of ordering birth certificates: online, by phone, by mail, and in person via our automated kiosks.