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How to Find a Birth Record in Washington D.C.?

What Are Birth Records in Washington D.C.?

A DC birth record is the registration of an occurrence of birth in the District of Columbia by an authorized government agency. When a child is born in DC, the physician, medical facility, birth parent, or an individual in charge of the premises where a live birth occurs submits a report of live birth within five days of the date of birth. This forms the basis of the birth record logged into the DC Electronic Birth Registration System (EBRS).

Proper documentation of birth records helps DC to issue birth certificates to registrants. A birth certificate is legal proof of identity which is useful in protecting children from abuse, exploitation, and violence. A birth certificate is a mandatory requirement for social security, school enrollment, Medicaid, driver's license, social services such as a marriage license.

A District of Columbia birth record contains:

  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Child's full name
  • Mother's name
  • Father's name
  • Child's gender
  • Type of birth
  • Mother's marital status
  • Birth registration number

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in the District of Columbia?

DC birth records are confidential records and are not available for lookup online. The DC Vital Records Division (DCVRD) does not provide remote ordering service or processing for birth records filed in the District of Columbia. Hence, birth records cannot be ordered online directly through the DCVRD. Through DCVRD's partnership with a third-party service provider, requesters can place orders online to obtain birth records in the district. The Vital Records Division also lists several third-party companies through which DC birth records requests can be processed online. Once an online birth record order has been completed by any of the independent providers, the orders and payments are dispatched to the DCVRD and shipped from the DCVRD fulfillment center in Washington.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

How to Get Birth Records in the District of Columbia?

DC birth records from August 1874 are available through the DC Vital Records Division. Birth records in the District become open records after 125 years. All other birth records are closed and can only be obtained by legally entitled persons after paying the proper fees and presenting valid identification. A requester for a DC birth record is required to present at least one of the following forms of primary photo ID:

  • 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)

Individuals whose names on the identification do not match the names on the records requested must provide evidence of a legal name change, such as an original certificate or an original sealed legal name change order. Note that any photo ID presented must be original, valid, unexpired, and undamaged.

Requesters who cannot provide a primary form of identification will be required to present two forms of alternate identification from the list below:

  • 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
  • A legible printed copy of primary/secondary photo ID

Any document presented from the list above must show the full name, current address, and signature of the requester. If a requester's identity cannot be authenticated, the DCVRD may require the requester to present one form of a primary photo ID and two of the documents from the list below:

  • 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

DC birth records can be obtained in person or by mail. Birth records of persons whose birth occurred in other states cannot be obtained from the DCVRD. A requester who requires an apostille on a requested birth record should contact the DC office of Notary Commissions and Authentications or call (202) 727-3117

How to Get District of Columbia Birth Records in Person?

A DC birth record can be obtained in person by using the kiosks provided at the location of the DCVRD. These kiosks are computers with touch screens that serve requesters in English or Spanish language. Next up, requesters will choose their relationship to the persons named on the records requested and provide proof of the relationship. Questions must be answered about the certificate holder, such as full name, gender, date of birth, and parents' names. The kiosks ask about four or five questions about the identity of the requester. If the questions are not adequately answered, an additional ID will be required of the requester.

A walk-in order can be paid for with a credit or debit card, check, cash, money order, or voucher payment. A requester will be required to provide the kiosk receipt, valid ID, and any other supporting documents at the counter when their number is called.

The DC Vital Records Division is located at:

Department of Health
899 North Capitol St NE
Washington, DC 20002

How to Get District of Columbia Birth Records by Mail?

To obtain a DC birth record by mail:

  • Complete the District of Columbia Birth Certificate Application Form
  • Include a non-expired government-issued ID
  • Include a check or money order of the exact payment made payable to the "DC Treasurer"
  • Mail completed application, check or money order, valid ID, and a self-addressed envelope to:

Department of Health
Vital Records Division
ATTN: New Applications Dept
899 North Capitol St., NE, 1st Floor
Washington, DC 2000

Where Can I Find Birth Records in the District of Columbia?

The DC Vital Records Division maintains birth records in the District. It issues certified copies of open and closed birth records. Archived copies of open birth records are available at the DC Office of Public Records.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in the District of Columbia?

DC protects the identity and privacy of citizens by restricting access to Birth Records. Birth records are not public and can only be obtained by qualified persons. Such persons must be at least 18 years of age and include:

  • The person named on the record
  • The parent of the person named on the record (must be named on the record)
  • An adult child or sibling of the person named on the record (must provide documentation supporting the relationship)
  • The grandparent of the person named on the record (The child of the requester must be listed as a parent on the birth record requested)
  • A legal guardian (must present a legal court order with a seal naming the requester as the guardian)
  • A legal representative of the person named on the record (must present a copy of the retainer agreement, bar card, and a typed letter on the firm's letterhead authorizing retrieval of the record)
  • A social worker (must present a typed letter on the firm's letterhead with the name, social worker's license/card, and a copy of the requester's unexpired work ID with a photo)
  • An individual who has obtained a power of attorney (a copy of the original, certified power of attorney which expires once the principal or grantor is deceased must be presented)
  • A law enforcement agent (must provide the DC Superior Court subpoena or other documents ordering issuance and a copy of an unexpired work ID with a photo)

Per DC law, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, spouses, and domestic partners are not permitted to order an individual's birth certificate.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in the District of Columbia?

Pursuant to D. C. Code § 7-231.27(a)(2), the DCVRD cannot identify a requested birth record as available prior to purchase. Associated fee with a birth record is set apart for the DCVRD office to search the records to determine if it is on file. The fee is inclusive of the cost of one copy of the record if found. If the requested record is not found, the requester will be issued a Certificate of Search.

The fee for a search for a DC birth record is $23 and is inclusive of a certified copy of the birth record if found. Additional copies, up to a maximum of five, may be requested at the same time. Each additional copy costs $23. Shipping fees for the delivery methods available are:

  • $20 - UPS Next Day Air
  • $40 - UPS, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico
  • $26 - UPS to Canada or Mexico
  • $36.50 - UPS Worldwide Expedited

No shipping fee is charged for deliveries via U.S. Postal Service Regular Mail. An online Order placed through DC's third-party service provider attracts an additional non-refundable processing and handling fee of $6.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in the District of Columbia?

Birth records can be obtained on the same day of requests when applications are made in person at the DCVRD office in Washington. However, some requests may require a search into the DCVRD archives stored off-site. If a requested record falls into this category, it may take 2-3 weeks before records can be obtained. Processing time for mail orders take 2-4 weeks. Online orders take about 7-10 business days.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in the District of Columbia?

Expungement refers to destroying a record or permanently deleting it. This mostly applies to criminal records and not to vital records. The District of Columbia does not allow the expungement of birth records.

How to Seal Your Birth Records in the District of Columbia?

Pursuant to the Vital Records Modernization Amendment Act of 2018, upon the finalization of adoption proceedings and issuance of a final decree of adoption by a court of competent jurisdiction, the DC Vital Records Division must seal the pre-adoption birth record. An amended birth certificate is issued which among other birth information states the adopting parents as the legal parents of the adoptee. The amended certificate is the legal birth certificate and is the only birth certificate that may be inspected or obtained by eligible requesters.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in the District of Columbia?

Pre-adoption or original birth records in DC cannot be unsealed except by a court order. In order to successfully petition a court to obtain an order granting a release of a sealed birth record, the requester must present "good cause" to convince the judge. Successful petitions are often in line with the need for an adoptee to contact the birth family due to a medical circumstance. The court may also order the DCVRD to unseal a sealed birth record if the birth parents have given consent for the release of the original birth record.