Are District of Columbia Vital Records Open to the Public?
It depends. Vital records in Washington DC may be open or closed to the public depending on the type of record, and the year the life event happened. The vital records of public interest include marriage records, divorce records, birth records, and death records.
What Do I Need To Search for Vital Records Online in Washington DC?
To search vital records, interested parties may need to provide related information such as:
- Biodata including the full names of the persons named in the record
- The reason for the record request
- The date the life event was filed/registered
- A government-issued ID (if applicable)
How Do I Obtain Vital Records in Washington DC?
Requestors searching for birth records and death records must provide an identity card proving their eligibility to see and obtain a copy of the vital record. Accepted forms of identification include government-issued photo IDs, such as driver’s license, state identity card, and international passports. Persons who do not have these identification documents must often provide two minor identity documents such as utility bills, deed or title to real property, mortgage bill, and insurance documents.
Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:
- The location of the record in question including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.
What’s the Difference Between Certified and Uncertified Copy of Vital Records?
Certified copies can be used to prove identity and for legal reasons. On the other hand, uncertified copies of vital records are only acceptable for non-legal purposes such as genealogy research and other personal purposes.
Are Marriage Records Public Information in Washington DC?
Yes. Washington DC marriage records are available to individuals who can provide the necessary details to facilitate a records search. However, certified copies of public marriage records, marriage records containing sensitive information, and sealed marriage records are not available to unauthorized requestors.
How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Washington DC?
Requestors who wish to obtain public marriage records may search online or visit the Marriage Bureau at the Superior Court. These requestors may also submit mail requests. Either way, a requester must present the record custodian with the necessary information needed to facilitate the record request. Generally, this includes the couple’s full names and the marriage date. Next, the requester must present a money order or a check payable to the “Clerk, DC Superior Court.” Mail requests must contain the application letter and payment enclosed in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mailed to:
Washington DC Superior Court
Marriage Bureau — JM 690
500 Indiana Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
Are Divorce Records Public in Washington DC?
Yes. Washington DC divorce records are considered public records in Washington DC and are thus available for anonymous viewing. However, divorce records containing confidential information, e.g., information pertaining to minors and victims of domestic violence, are exempt from this rule. Only authorized persons may obtain such divorce records.
How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Washington DC?
The DC Superior Court maintains records of divorces filed from September 16, 1956, to date. Requestors who wish to obtain copies of these records can either search the official online database, visit, or send a mail request to the courthouse. Reputable third-party websites also provide this information.
Either way, a requester must provide basic information to help administrative staff retrieve the divorce record of interest. Some of these include the divorce date, the divorcees’ full names, and the divorce case number. The court charges a $6.50 fee for obtaining each certified copy of a divorce certificate. Eligible requestors may visit or send a mail request to:
DC Superior Court
500 Indiana Avenue, Northwest, Room 4335
Washington, DC 20001
Are Birth Records Public Information in Washington DC?
Birth records in Washington DC become public information in Washington DC after 125 years. Pending the expiration of this period of confidentiality, only pre-authorized individuals such as the persons named on the birth certificate, immediate family members, legal representatives, and persons armed with a court order may obtain a birth certificate.
How Do I Obtain Birth Records in Washington DC?
The Washington DC Vital Records Division (DCVRD) maintains birth records that occurred from August 1874 to date. Eligible persons can order birth certificates and birth certificate replacements by visiting the DCVRD with payment for the applicable fees and documents indicating proof of eligibility.
Vital Records Department
899 North Capitol Street
NE First Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Are Death Records Public in Washington DC?
Washington DC death records are protected from public perusal until 75 years have elapsed since the death. In the meantime, only authorized persons who can provide proof of eligibility may perform a death certificate search. These include the deceased’s immediate family members, legal representatives, authorized funeral homes, and law enforcement agencies. Following the expiration of the statutory period of confidentiality, interested members of the public may perform a death record search by name.
How Do I Obtain Death Records In Washington DC?
The DCVRD maintains public death records issued from August 1874 to date. Eligible persons can obtain certified copies of death records by ordering online via third-party vendors or visiting the government agency at:
Vital Records Department
899 North Capitol Street, Northeast First Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Meanwhile, public death records are available at Washington DC Archives. Interested persons may contact the record custodian to perform a death record search by name during business hours.
How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Washington DC?
Statutorily sealed vital records, as well as records rendered confidential by court order, can be freely found by eligible individuals. However, other requesters must petition a licensed judge or jury for a court order granting access to the sealed vital record.