Vital Records Office

A Vital Records Office is a government agency responsible for filing and maintaining records of births, deaths, marriage, and divorces. Vital Records Offices can exist at the state, county, or city level and may also be called Bureaus of Vital Statistics or Bureaus of Vital Records. In some areas, the county clerk’s office is responsible for vital records.

Vital Records Offices hold the original versions of:

Since these records contain personal, identifying information, such as full names, dates of birth, and parent’s names, they are kept under lock and key at the Vital Records Office where they were originally filed.

If you need a copy of a vital record, you must submit an application to the Vital Records Office where the event occurred, since Vital Records Offices can only issue certificates of records kept in the same state. Each office also only has records dating back to a specific time, which varies by state. In addition, most records can only be accessed by the person on record or an immediate family member.

If you need a birth certificate replacement or a copy of another vital record, you can apply online, in-person, or by mail, and the Vital Records Office will prepare the copy and mail it to you.

To find a vital records office near you, click here and select your state from the dropdown list, or visit the NCHS website.

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