Texas Vital Statistics Frequently Asked Questions

Choose a topic below. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, you can send us an e-mail or call us toll-free at (888) 963-7111.  


Birth and Death Records

 

Marriage and Divorce Records

For legal questions about Texas vital records, please consult an attorney. For marriage and divorce questions, consult the Texas Family Code. For questions about ordering marriage verification or divorce verification letters online, see the Texas.gov: Frequently Asked Questions page.


Correcting a birth or death record


What do I need to do to get a Disinterment Permit?


Correcting a birth record based on paternity/parentage


Adoptions


Delayed Birth Records

 

Birth and Death Records

How do I get a copy of my birth certificate?

To get a copy of your birth certificate from Texas Department of State Health Services - Vital Statistics Section, you must have been born in the state of Texas. You need to submit identification that meets our ID requirements; complete an application online, by mail, or in-person; and pay the appropriate fee.

 

Who can request a certified copy of a birth or death certificate?

For births within the past 75 years and deaths within the past 25 years, only the immediate family members of the person whose name is on the birth certificate or death certificate are eligible to request a copy.  Those with any other relationship must provide legal documentation, such as a court order establishing guardianship. If you are the legal representative of a qualified applicant, send us a release which documents a direct and tangible interest in the record you are requesting.


Who is considered an immediate family member?

Any of the following relationships by blood or marriage are considered to be immediate family members:

  • self
  • child
  • parent
  • brother/sister
  • grandparent
  • spouse

How do I get a copy of the record if I am not an immediate family member?

You may send in a written, notarized statement signed by an immediate family member.  The statement must give permission to Department of State Health Services - Vital Statistics Section to release a certified copy of the certificate to you and must include a photocopy of the ID of the individual granting you the authorization.  The statement must also identify you by your full name, and you must present a copy of your photo ID with the notarized statement.


Who may I authorize to pick up my birth certificate?

You may authorize anyone to pick up the certificate on your behalf. They would need to bring in a completed and notarized statement, along with a copy of your identification and a copy of their identification. The notarized statement must correctly identify the record being requested and it must specifically identify the person picking up the record. The identification must meet our ID requirements.


How can I order vital records from other states?

Visit the National Center for Health Statistics website for information on requesting vital records from other states.


What are acceptable forms of ID for issuance? or What will you accept as a valid ID?

A list of acceptable identification can be found on our website in English and Spanish. Please click http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/Acceptable-IDs/ to view the list of acceptable identification.

 

My ID is expired. Will you accept my expired ID?

Acceptable forms of ID can be found here: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/Acceptable-IDs/

 

What if I do not have a photo ID?

An ID is needed to process your application. There are 3 groups (A, B, and C) of ID’s from which you could choose. Please see the valid ID list for acceptable forms of identification.  If you do not have a photo ID (Group A), you could submit 2 items from Group B or 3 items (1 item from Group B PLUS 2 items from Group C). 


Why do I have to send a photo ID?

Birth and death certificates are not open records. Access to birth certificates is restricted to qualified applicants for 75 years from the date of birth.  Access to death certificates is restricted for 25 years from the date of death.  A valid photo ID is required to prove your identity and to prove that you are a qualified applicant.


Can you find my birth certificate for free and tell me if it shows the correct name?  Will I have to pay just to find out whether you even have my birth certificate on file?

We cannot search records for free.  Our fees are searching fees.  They are not refundable or transferable, even if the record is not found or is identified incorrectly.


What records are available?

The Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Section can provide records for births or deaths that were filed in Texas from 1903 to the present.  Visit the National Center for Health Statistics website for certificates for an out-of-state birth or death.


What are the steps for ordering online (Texas.gov)?

To order online, you will have to be a qualified applicant (self, mother, father (if listed on the record), sibling, grandparent (birth records only) or a spouse. You will also need a valid ID which will be verified through our online database. 


What is the quickest way to order my birth certificate?

The quickest way is to order online at Texas.gov.

 

How do I purchase a long form birth certificate for my passport?

Long-form or full-size birth certificates may be requested online, by mail or in-person. (Do not ask for a standard size or short form birth certificate; this will NOT work for passport.)


Where do I mail my application?

Expedited request applications must be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Section, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756 via an overnight mail service, such as: Fedex, Lonestar, UPS. Do not send via United States Postal Service.

Regular Mail applications must be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Section, P.O. Box 12040 Austin, TX 78711-2040


If I come/walk into the office, can I leave the same day with my birth record?

Walk-in requests for birth and death certificates with no corrections needed are typically processed the same day they are submitted, and a government-issued photo ID is required. Sometimes there are exceptions to this, depending on the situation.


Can I place an order over the phone?

We accept applications received online, by mail, or in-person. We cannot accept requests by telephone. Texas Administrative Code (181.28) requires all requests for birth or death certificates to be accompanied with an application approved by the State Registrar.

 

How much does a birth certificate cost?

Texas birth certificates are $22.00 each.

Mail-in expedited requests cost an additional $5.00 expedite fee. Overnight/expedited shipping: $8.00 to a physical address, $22.95 to a PO Box, and $4.95 to a military base.

 

Who do I make the check or money order out to?

Vital Statistics


Do I need to send a separate check for each fee?

All fees can be combined in one check or money order made payable to Vital Statistics.

 

What forms of payment do you accept?

For mail-in requests: Check, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order

For online requests: Credit or Debit Card

For walk-in requests: Check, Cashier’s Check, Money Order, Credit Card, or Debit Card

 

How long will it take to receive my birth certificate?

Online requests and expedited mail-in requests are processed within 10-15 business days.

Regular (non-expedited) mail-in requests are processed within 6-8 weeks.

Walk-in requests are typically processed the same day they are submitted.

 

Can you please check to see if my request has arrived?

You will need to contact our offices by calling 1-888-963-7111 or by email at registrar@dshs.texas.gov.


Can I track the status of my request online? Can you check the status?

We do not currently have an online function for checking the status of a request. You will have to contact our office by calling 1-888-963-7111 or by email at registrar@dshs.texas.gov


What is the difference between a short form and a long form?

There are three different types of birth certificates.

1.   "Long form" ($22 each) - This is the most comprehensive birth record. It is a copy of your original birth certificate. The "long form" will also display corrections that have been made to your birth record. This form is often used for requesting passports

2.   "Short form" ($22 each) - The "short form" is an abstract of your birth record. This birth certificate will show your name, date of birth, place of birth, sex, and name of parent(s). This form is most commonly used form

3.   "Heirloom" birth certificate ($60 each) - Heirloom birth certificates are abstracts of your birth certificate. They are primarily used for framing and display. The information on an "heirloom birth certificate" is similar to a "short form". Examples of heirloom certificates can be seen on our website. Please click http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/heirloom.shtm to view these certificates.

 

What do I do if I need a birth certificate or death certificate to give to a foreign government (an "apostille")?

Visit our Apostille page for instructions.


How do I get an apostille or authentication to foreign birth certificates?

The apostille or authentication is issued by the district/state/country where the document was issued. For contact information please go to www.apostilleinfo.com.

 

Can you send my Birth Certificate to the Secretary of State for apostille?

We are unable to send records to the Texas Secretary of State.

 

Can we check if there is a birth/death certificate on file and what information is on there?

We cannot release any information on a record without an application and ID requirements submitted by a qualified applicant (self, mother, father (if listed on the record), sibling, grandparent (birth records only) or a spouse.  We can however, issue a birth/death verification letter stating whether a record of birth or death is on file with the State of Texas.  If a record is filed, the verification letter will include the person's name, the date of the event, and the county where the event occurred.  Verification letters are available for births or deaths that have occurred since 1903.  Verification letters are not considered legal substitutes for certified copies of birth or death certificates.  The Vital Statistics Section strongly recommends that applicants ensure a verification will satisfy its intended use.


How do I get the hospital added to a birth record?

If a change or correction was made to a birth record prior to 1999, the hospital may have been left off of the revised birth certificate. To have the hospital added back to the record, you will need to order a long-form birth certificate from Texas Department of State Health Services - Vital Statistics Section and indicate that the certificate is being used to get a passport. Please note, in some cases, our office is not able to add a hospital to the record (e.g. no hospital was listed on the record at the time of birth).


Marriage and Divorce Records

For legal questions about Texas vital records, please consult an attorney. For marriage and divorce questions, consult the Texas Family Code. For questions about ordering marriage verification or divorce verification letters online, see the Texas.gov: Frequently Asked Questions page.


I need a copy of my marriage license or my divorce decree. How can I order that?

Our office cannot issue a certified copy of a marriage license or divorce decree. You can obtain a certified copy of a marriage license from the county clerk's office in the county that issued the marriage license. You must obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree from the district clerk's office in the county where the divorce was granted.

 

Can you tell me the date and place where someone was married or divorced?

The Vital Statistics Section does maintain public indexes of Texas marriages since 1966 and Texas divorces since 1968. Those indexes can be found here http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/marriagedivorce/reqindex.shtm.

On request, we provide verification letters of marriage and divorce based on these indexes. Instructions for requesting a marriage or divorce verification can be found here http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/default.shtm.

Verification letters of marriage are available for marriages that occurred from 1966 to present.

Verification letters of divorce are available for divorces that occurred from 1968 to present.

For records prior to those years, you must contact the county where the marriage license was issued or the district clerk in the district where the divorce was granted. 

Download the VS-141.3 Application for a Marriage or Divorce Verification (48K). The fee to search our files and indexes is $20. The fee is retained as payment for the search, even if a record is not found.

Please note that these verification letters are not certified and are not intended to be a certification of marriage or divorce.

 

I need a marriage or divorce verification. How do I get one?

Request a marriage or divorce verification letter through Texas.gov or see the Verification of a Marriage or Divorce page here http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/default.shtm for more information. 

List only yourself as the spouse. If no marriage records are found, a verification of no record found will be sent to you. 

Please note that these verification letters are not certified and are not intended to be a certification of non-marriage or non-divorce.


Correcting a birth or death record

I need to correct a birth certificate or death certificate. How can I correct it?

Instructions for filing corrections or amendments can be found here http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/amendment.shtm

You must have an older relative complete and sign a VS170 Application to Amend Certificate of Birth or a VS172 Application to Amend Certificate of Death in front of a notary public. If you are a minor, both of your parents must sign the form before a notary public to show they are in agreement to the change or correction.

Some changes or corrections require a supporting document to prove that an error has been made. See page two of the application for a list of corrections that can be made and whether the correction requires documentation. A suggested list of supporting documents is also printed on page two of the application.

There is a fee of $15 to file the amendment (correction) and an additional fee of $22 to order a certified copy of the birth certificate after it is corrected. Send the completed application, along with the required documentation (if any) and the correct fee, to our office at:

Department of State Health Services
Vital Statistics Section – M/C 1966
P.O. Box 12040
Austin, TX 78711-2040


A specialist trained in corrections will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.


How do I complete an Application to Amend Certificate of Birth?

The application you are completing should have a revision date of 07/2015. Look at the bottom of the page. If you see VS-170 REV. 07/2015, you are using the correct application.

The top block of the application should be completed by the person submitting the application. They should use their current name and mailing address. If you have an email address, it is very helpful to provide it on the Email Address field. This box must be signed.


Part I of the application should show the information that is currently on the birth certificate you are correcting.


 

Part II is where you show what you want corrected. Example: Amending child's first name from John to Jon.




 

When you have completed the top box, Part I, and Part II - you will take the form to a notary public. Other than signing in the presence of the notary public, the notary will complete the affidavit portion of the form. 

If you are self-signing, you will mark through "Mother/Legal Guardian/Blood Relative, HIM Director and write "self." Once the notary has completed the form you will sign in their presence and they will notarize the document.

 


I already submitted the application to correct a certificate - What is the status of my request?

Processing time for corrections and amendments sent via regular mail is approximately 60 days. Expedited requests are processed in 15-20 business days. If you have further questions regarding your request, please call 888-963-7111 ext. 5615 or email us at registrar@dshs.texas.gov.

 

How long will it take to process my application?

Current processing time for requests received via regular mail is 60 days.

 

Do you have the application in Spanish?

Currently, the application is only offered in English. We are working to have the application translated to Spanish.

 

Can I walk into your office and walk out with my corrected certificate?

We do not offer walk-in service for corrections to birth or death records. Please click on this link http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/amendment.shtm for instructions on how to submit an application for birth or death corrections.

 

Where do I mail my application?

Expedited request applications sent via an overnight mail service, such as: FedEx, Lone Star, or UPS must be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services—Vital Statistics Section, 1100 West 49th Street Austin Texas 78756

Regular Mail applications sent via the United States Postal Service must be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services – Vital Statistics Section, PO Box 12040, Austin, Texas 78711-2040.


Can I expedite my request?

Yes, we have expedited services. There are additional fees and specific instructions when expediting a request and you must submit your application via an overnight mail service. Please go to http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/amendment.shtm for information and instructions. Current processing time for expedited requests is 15 to 20 business days.

 

Do I need to send a separate check for each fee?

All fees can be combined in one check or money order made payable to Vital Statistics.

 

Whose name goes in the top box of the Application to Amend Certificate of Birth form?

The information in the top box is the information of the person making the request. Example: If I am sending the request to amend my child's birth certificate, I will enter my information in this box, using my current name.

 

Who signs Part III of the amendment application if an older relative is not living?

You can self-sign Part III if you do not have an older living blood relative. You can strike through Mother/Legal Guardian/Blood Relative, HIM Director and write "self."

 

Who signs the signature line if signing for self?

If self-signing, you will sign the signature line. You should strike through Mother/Legal Guardian/Blood Relative, HIM Director and write "self."

 

If both parents are listed on the birth certificate, do both parents need to sign the application?

If the child/registrant on the birth certificate is less than 18 years of age, both parents must sign the application form in the presence of the notary public. 

If the child/registrant on the birth certificate is 18 years of age or older, one parent can sign the application form in the presence of the notary public.

 

Can I facsimile (fax) or electronically mail (email) the application(s) and supporting documents?

We must have original signatures and certifications; therefore, we must have the original documents and cannot accept documents via email or fax.


I resubmitted my application with additional information. How long will it take for someone to review my application?

Resubmitted applications are reviewed within 15 - 20 business days.


Will my certified copies be returned to me by the state?

Yes. Certified copies used to correct a record will be returned once the correction is completed. 

 

I need to change my last name (or my child's last name) on a birth certificate. What do I need to do?

If you are changing your last name or your child's last name to that of the biological father, see the Paternity: Frequently Asked Questions page. If not, then you need a certified copy of a court-ordered name change.

Please submit the certified copy of the entire court order legally changing the name of the registrant. There is a fee of $15 to file the legal name-change amendment and an additional fee of $22 to order a certified copy of the birth certificate once the change has been filed.

A specialist trained in corrections will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.

 

My application was notarized by a notary from a foreign country.  Why does the notarization need an apostille or be done at a US embassy?

Documents signed by public notaries in foreign countries are not considered valid until they are authenticated.  The apostille process authenticates the notary public’s signature.  For contact information please go to www.apostilleinfo.com

 

How do I get a court order to change my name?

Our office cannot provide you with legal advice. You must contact an attorney for information about how to obtain a legal name change.


How do I amend the marital status on a death certificate?

You will need to complete form VS-172 Application to Amend Certificate of Death signed by the original informant listed on the death certificate.  If the signature of the original informant listed on the death certificate is unavailable, then an affidavit and a court finding on the marital status of the deceased at the time of death is needed.


What do I need to do to get a Disinterment Permit?

You will need to send in a VS271 Application for Disinterment Permit (Word 39K) signed by a licensed funeral director and the VS271.1 Three Part Consent Form (Word 24K) signed by the sexton of the cemetery where the body is currently interred, the plot owner, and the next of kin of the deceased being moved. There is a fee of $25 for the permit.


Correcting a birth record based on paternity/parentage

How do I add the father's name and information to a birth certificate?

This is the most common change made using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage. If the father's information had been left blank on the birth certificate, these items can be added to the birth certificate by submitting the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage form, signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public, and one of the following documents:

  • Certified copy of a marriage license between the mother and the biological father that occurs after the birth of the child.
  • Properly completed State of Texas Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VS-159.1)
  • Certified copy of a court decree establishing parentage between the child and the biological father

If the child’s parents were married before the birth of the child, then the father’s information can be added by submitting an Application to Amend Certificate of Birth signed by both parents and a certified copy of the parent’s marriage license.


How do I change the father's name and information on a birth certificate when there is already a father listed on it?

The father's name and information on the existing birth certificate can by changed with:


How do I remove the father's name and information from a birth certificate?

This requires a certified copy of a court order indicating that:

  • The man currently listed as the father on the birth certificate is not the biological father; or
  • The father's rights have been terminated, and his name is to be removed from the birth certificate. In this case, the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage can be signed in the presence of a notary public by either the mother or by the man whose name is being removed from the birth certificate.


Does a court order terminating the parental rights allow information to be removed from a birth certificate?

Information can be removed only if the court order has stated that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father or if it specifically states that a person's name and information are to be removed from the birth record.


What is a "gestational agreement"?

A gestational agreement is an agreement under which a woman agrees to bear the child of a married couple. The child being carried by its "gestational mother" does not share any of her genetic material. The baby's genetic parents are usually referred to as the "intended parents."


Can the intended parents' (people who want to have children but are not able to use conventional methods to do so and opt for adoption or gestational surrogacy) names on the birth certificate be changed using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?

Yes. This change requires a certified copy of a court order. Based on a gestational agreement, the court may order the birth certificate of a child born to a gestational mother be changed to show the genetic parents' names and information.


Will my certified copy of a court order be returned to me by the state?

No. Evidence used to establish parentage is not returned; it is retained as part of the official, permanent record.


What if one of the parents is deceased?

If one of the parents is deceased, a court order indicating true and correct parentage is needed to add a parent's name and information to the birth certificate.


Can the name of a stepfather be added to a birth certificate using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?

No. The Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage cannot be used to add a stepfather to the birth certificate. This form can only be used when adding the biological father to the birth certificate.

If a step-parent adoption has been granted for a child who was born in Texas, please send in the completed Certificate of Adoption (VS-160) form certified by the district clerk's office. If you do not have a Certificate of Adoption, click here to download the VS160 Certificate of Adoption form.

The fee to file the new birth certificate based on adoption is $25. There is an additional fee of $22 to order a certified copy of the new certificate once it is filed.

A specialist trained in adoption issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.


What about changing the child's last name?

The child's last name can be changed to the father's last name if both parents are in agreement and they both sign the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage in the presence of a notary public. However, if a court order already addresses a name change for the child, the child's name must be changed to what the court has ordered it to be.

 

What is the fee for filing a new birth certificate based on parentage?

The fee for processing a new birth certificate based on parentage is $25. This does not include a certified copy of the birth certificate. To receive a certified copy of the new birth certificate, an additional $22 should be included with the processing fee, for a total of $47.

 

I need to change my last name (or my child's last name) on the birth certificate to that of the biological father. What do I need to know before I can do that?

1.   If you want to add the father's name and information, then you need to file a new birth certificate based on paternity.

Two documents are needed:

You must also submit one of the following documents with the application:

  1. If paternity has been established through a court order, please send in a certified copy of the entire court order.
  2. If paternity has not been established through the court, and the biological parents are now married to each other, please send in a certified copy of the marriage license.
  3. If the parents are not married to each other, an Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VS-159.1) must be completed.

There is a fee of $25 to file the new birth certificate and an additional fee of $22 for a certified copy of the new birth certificate once it has been filed.

2.   If you do not want to add the father’s name and information, but only want to change your last name or your child’s last name to that of the biological father, then, you need a certified copy of a court-ordered name change. Once a person is older than 1 year, changing that person's last name requires a court order. Please submit the certified copy of the entire court order legally changing the name of the registrant. There is a fee of $15 to file the legal name-change amendment and an additional fee of $22 for a certified copy of the birth certificate once the change has been filed.

A specialist trained in parentage issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.


There is no father listed on my child's birth certificate because I wasn't married to anyone when my child was born. Can I file a paternity claim to have my current husband listed as the father? He is willing to accept responsibility for my child.

No, only the biological father of the child can be added to a birth certificate by using the paternity rules and procedures. The only legal way a stepfather can have his name added to the birth certificate as the father is for him to legally adopt the child. You must consult an attorney to learn about the procedures for adoption.


Where can I get a copy of the court order that I need to send in with my application?

You can obtain a certified copy of an existing court order from the district clerk's office in the county where the court action took place.


How do I get a court order allowing a change on a birth certificate to remove the father's name, add the father's name, or change the name of the father?

Our office cannot provide you with legal advice. You must contact an attorney for information on the steps and procedures for petitioning a court to establish or remove paternity.


I need an Acknowledgement of Paternity form sent to me. Where can I get that form?

Texas Vital Statistics cannot send out Acknowledgement of Paternity forms to applicants. Instead, the forms can only be obtained from someone certified by the Attorney's General Office to verbally explain to all the parties the rights and responsibilities that come with signing the form.

Please call the Paternity Opportunity Program to find such a person or "entity", who is located nearest you, or to learn about your options if you do not live in Texas. The program's telephone number is 1-866-255-2006. Please listen to all the options carefully. You must complete the most current Acknowledgement of Paternity form, and all forms must have a valid entity code before they can be accepted. The person who is certified to explain your rights and responsibilities is a "certified entity”. The certified entity will provide the entity code once he or she has explained the rights and responsibilities to all parties. There is no other way to obtain the form except from a certified entity.


I was told that I need an "entity code." How do I get one?

Only someone who has been certified to verbally explain the parental rights and responsibilities that come with signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form can provide you with an entity code.

Please call the Paternity Opportunity Program to find such a person or "entity", who is located nearest you, or to learn about your options if you do not live in Texas. The program's telephone number is 1-866-255-2006. Please listen to all the options carefully. You must complete the most current Acknowledgement of Paternity form, and all forms must have a valid entity code before they can be accepted. The person who is certified to explain your rights and responsibilities is a "certified entity". The certified entity will provide the entity code once he or she has explained the rights and responsibilities to the parents. There is no other way to obtain the form except from a certified entity.


I need a copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity form that was filed for my child. How can I get one?

The Vital Statistics Section may release information relating to the Acknowledgement of Paternity or Denial of Paternity to a signatory of the acknowledgment or denial, the courts and to the Title IV-D agency of this or another state. This includes parents, presumed fathers, court-ordered attorneys and the office of attorney general. 

The Acknowledgment of Paternity Inquiry Request form (VS-134.1) must be accurately completed.  If paying by credit card, the fee is $12.25 and if paying by check or money order, the fee is $10.00. The requestor must attach a copy of their government issued photo identification. If the name of the person listed on the credit card is different from the name of the requestor, a government issued photo identification is required for the person listed on the credit card.


Who do I contact for questions regarding completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form to establish paternity for my child?

Parents can call the Office of Attorney General (OAG) Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) hotline number, 866-255-2006 for assistance with locating a certified entity to assist them with completing the AOP form. The Acknowledgement of Paternity form is a form used when the biological parents of a child are not married to each other when their baby is born and once it is signed by all required parties and filed with our office, it becomes a legal finding of paternity.

 

I need to find out if a man has filed a paternity claim (Intent to Claim Paternity) for a child. How would I find that information?

You can request a search of the paternity registry for a fee of $10. See the Forms page to download a copy of the Paternity Registry Inquiry Request form (VS134).

 

Who is a qualified applicant that can request a Paternity Registry inquiry?

Information contained in the registry is confidential and may be released on request only to: (A) a court or person designated by the court; (B) The mother of the child; (C) An agency authorized by another law to receive the information; (D) a licensed child-placing agency; (E) A support enforcement agency; (F) a party, or the party’s attorney of record, to a proceeding under this chapter or a proceeding to adopt or to terminate parental rights regarding a child who is the subject of the registration; or, (G) the registry of paternity in another state.

 

What is the time frame that a Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity needs to be submitted?

The Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity (VS-130) must be filed before the birth of the child or not later than the 31st day after the date of birth of the child.

 
 

What is the time frame for completing an Inquiry on Court of Continuing Jurisdiction for a Child (VS-168)?

Requests can be completed within 5 business days.  Customers should write the date needed at the top of the request.  Rush requests can be completed within 1-2 business days, depending on the total number of rush request received.

 

Where can I find the form that I should complete for the Court of Continuing Jurisdiction (CCJ) Registry?

The Inquiry on Court of Continuing Jurisdiction for a Child form VS-168 can be downloaded from our website: www.dshs.texas.gov\vs, Click on General Public, VS forms, Select VS-168

 

Can I email the Court of Continuing Jurisdiction (CCJ) form in for processing?

Completed CCJ forms must be mailed or faxed to Vital Statistics.

Mailing Address: Texas Department of State Health Services 
                            Vital Statistics Section – MC 1966
                            Attn: CCJ Registry
                            PO Box 149347
                            Austin, Texas 78714-9347

Fax Number:       512-776-7164

 

Adoptions

 

I adopted a child and would like to have the birth certificate changed to the new information. What do I need to do?

If an adoption has been granted for a child who was born in Texas, please send in the completed Certificate of Adoption (VS-160) form certified by the district clerk's office. If you do not have a Certificate of Adoption, click here to download the VS160 Certificate of Adoption form.

The fee to file the new birth certificate based on adoption is $25. There is an additional fee of $22 to order a certified copy of the new certificate, once it is filed.

A specialist trained in adoption issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.

 

How do birth certificates identify an adopted child's parents if both parents are of the same sex?

For an adopted child whose adoptive parents are a same-sex couple, the new birth certificate based on adoption will include both parents’ names - if both of the names are listed on the court order or formal certificate of adoption as the adoptive parents. Each parent listed can elect to be referenced as “mother,” “father,” or “parent” on the new birth certificate based on adoption.


How do I request a non-identifying (redacted) copy of my adoption record from a closed Voluntary Central Adoption Registry file that is housed with the Vital Statistics Section (VSS)?

In 1984, the VSS started collecting and maintaining social and medical information on private non-relative adoptions. VSS also houses records from many out-of-business child-placing agencies. To review the list of available records that are maintained by VSS, visit the adoption agencies page.

As required by law, specifically Texas Family Code §162-018 – Access to Information, we edit the record to protect the identity of the biological parents and any other person whose identity is confidential. Click here to download the necessary form, VS210 Request for Open Records Application.


How do I request the opening of a sealed adoption record?

In order to open the sealed file, send us a certified copy of a court order granting the opening of the sealed adoption file. The court order must come from the same court that granted the adoption. The order must identify the correct sealed file by including the registrant's name as it appears on the current birth certificate, the registrant's date of birth, and the registrant's place of birth. The fee for a sealed file opening is $10.

If you do not know which court granted the adoption, you can send us a request to identify the court of adoption. The fee to request the identity of the court is $10. Click here to download the necessary form, Request for Identity of Court of Adoption (VS-143).

 

I am adopted and would like to get a copy of my original birth certificate. How do I do that?

Adoptees are legally permitted to receive only a non-certified copy of their birth certificate. If you wish to obtain one, you must be able to meet all of the following criteria and submit the fee of $10:

1.   Identify the name of each parent listed on your original birth certificate.

2.   Be at least 18 years old.

3.   Submit a copy of a valid state-issued driver's license or government-issued photo ID.

4.   Provide other legal documentation if your name has changed due to marriage or other legal reasons. (Examples of legal documentation include copies of your official supplementary birth certificate based on the adoption, or your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-ordered name change.)

Click here to download form VS145 Adult Adoptee Application for Non-Certified Copy of Original Birth Certificate. Send the form to us along with a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID, and a $10 check or money order.


How does a person get birth parent information after an adoption has been filed?

Adoption records are sealed by the court after an adoption has been granted and no identifying information about the biological family can be released without a court order. In order to obtain identifying information from the adoption file, you will need to petition the court that granted the adoption to ask that they unseal the record.

If you do not know which court granted the adoption or if the court is unable to locate the cause number, you can submit an Application for Identity of Court of Adoption (VS-143) to get that information from our offices. The court order must contain the name of the child after adoption, the child’s place of birth, and the child’s date of birth.  The court must also order the Vital Statistics Section to release the records, indicate what records they are ordering to be released, and the name of the person who the records are to be released to. You will need to submit a certified copy of the finalized court order to our office with a copy of your valid photo ID and a $10.00 processing fee.


How do adoptive parents or adoptive children obtain available Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History information maintained by the Central Adoption Registry?

Since 1995, Texas Family Code 162.005 has required that a Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History report be completed on all private, non-relative adoptions and filed with the Department of State Health Services – Central Adoption Registry. The Central Adoption Registry also maintains health information on adoptees whose adoptions were completed by child-placing agencies that have closed and transferred their records to our offices (http://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/adoptagencies.shtm ).  

Adoptees over the age of 18, adoptive parents, and children of an adoptee who has died can request a copy of the Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History on file. All identifying information on the record will be removed. You will need to submit a Request for Open Records form to the Central Adoption Registry with a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID. When your application is received and processed, you will be contacted with an estimated cost for processing the request. There is no charge for records requests that are 49 pages or less.


Delayed Birth Records

 

How long does it take to process an application for a Delayed Certificate of Birth?

The processing time varies because customers must submit supporting documentation from independent sources and our office then verifies documents with each source. The verification process can take several days. Documents submitted can only be original records, certified copies and/or a signed statement from the custodian of the record or document. All documents submitted must include the applicant’s name, date of birth and place of birth.  One of the documents must include parents’ names.

 

How do I get a Delayed Certificate of Birth application?

First, you need to submit an application to request a certified copy of your birth certificate from our website at www.dshs.texas.gov/vs by clicking on Order a Certified Copy of Birth Certificate. A formal search will be conducted to determine whether or not a birth record is on file in Texas. If a record is not on file, you will receive a delayed registration packet with instructions.

 

What is the fee to file a Delayed Certificate of Birth?

The fee to file a Delayed Certificate of Birth is $25.00, and the fee for ordering a certified copy of the Delayed Certificate of Birth is $22.00, for a total of $47.00. The fee can be paid by check or money order made payable to Vital Statistics. 

 

Can a Delayed Certificate of Birth be filed for a deceased person?

No, a Delayed Certificate of Birth cannot be filed for a deceased person.

 

Who can sign the blue Delayed Certificate of Birth form?

The Delayed Certificate of Birth (blue form) included in the delayed registration packet must be completed by the applicant and signed by a Notary Public or County Clerk. If the application is approved, the blue form is completed by our office and becomes the official delayed birth certificate on file.  If it is not typewritten, please clearly and neatly print in black or blue permanent ink. 

The applicant must sign his/her legal name in “Signature of Registrant” before a Notary Public. When the registrant, because of age or other reason, cannot sign in “Signature of Registrant”, it may be signed by a parent, legal guardian, or other legal representative such as a nonparent who was appointed as sole managing conservator of the applicant, and a line should be drawn through “of Registrant”. A registrant who cannot write their signature may sign his/her signature with an “X” above their typed or clearly printed name. 

The Notary Public or County Clerk must sign and date as well as print his/her name and list the date that his/her Notary Public Commission expires. Anyone signing the blue form, other than the applicant, should attach a photo copy of their identification.

 

How do I complete the Delayed Certificate of Birth (blue form) included in the delayed registration packet?

The following information must be accurately completed. If the blue form is not typewritten, please clearly and neatly print in black or blue permanent ink.  

  • Registrant’s Name: First, Middle and Last Name of the applicant at birth
  • Date of Birth: Month – Date – Year (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Sex: Male or Female
  • County of Birth: County of the applicant’s birthplace
  • City/Town of Birth: City or town of birth. If birth occurred in a rural area, write “Rural” in this item
  • Mother’s Name Prior to Marriage: First, Middle and Last name of applicant’s mother. The maiden name of the mother should be listed. Do not list any of her married names.
  • Mother’s Birthplace: State, Territory or Foreign Country where the mother was born
  • Father’s Name: First, Middle and Last name of applicant’s father at the time of the applicant’s birth
  • Father’s Birthplace: State, Territory or Foreign Country where the father was born
  • Notary Public or County Clerk’s Seal/Stamp and Signature: Notary Public or County Clerk must sign and date as well as print his/her name and list the date that his/her Notary Public Commission expires

Do not write or type below, outside of or above the borders on the blue form. Do not make any errors on the form or use correction fluid or white out.

 

How many supporting documents must be sent with the Delayed Certificate of Birth Packet?

If the person who will be listed on the Delayed Certificate of Birth (blue form) is over the age of fifteen (15), submit at least three (3) originals, certified copies or signed statements from the custodian of the record or document.

  • One (1) document must show the applicant’s name, parent(s) name(s), date of birth and place of birth
  • Two (2) documents must show the applicant’s name, date of birth and place of birth.
  • All documents submitted other than the Affidavit of Birth Facts must be at least 5 years old.
  • At least one (1) document should have been created within the first ten (10) years of life.
  • Only one (1) Affidavit of Birth Facts can be submitted as a supporting document
  • A copy or abstract of a document may be accepted if certified as true and correct by the custodian of the document.
  • All documents submitted must be from independent sources.

If the person who will be listed on the Delayed Certificate of Birth (blue form) is at least four (4) years but less than 15 years old:

  • Submit at least two (2) originals, certified copies or signed statements from the custodian of the record or document
  • One (1) document must show the parent(s) name(s), date of birth and place of birth
  • One (1) document must show the applicant’s name, date of birth and place of birth
  • Only one (1) Affidavit of Birth Facts can be submitted as a supporting document 
  • A copy or abstract of a document may be accepted if certified as true and correct by the custodian of the document.
  • All documents submitted must be from independent sources.

If the person who will be listed on the delayed birth certificate is between one (1) and four (4) years of age:

  • Submit at least two (2) originals, certified copies or signed statements from the custodian of the record or provide supporting documents that prove evidence of pregnancy, evidence that the infant was born alive, evidence that the birth occurred in the registration district, and evidence that the birth occurred on the date stated. 
  • A copy or abstract of a document may be accepted, if certified as true and correct by the custodian of the document.
  • All documents submitted must be from independent sources.
  • An affidavit completed by the parents and the attendant, if any, stating why the certificate was not timely filed.
  • Submit a copy of one of the following identifying documents with a photograph in the following order of preference; (1) a passport or certificate of naturalization; (2) a military service or military dependent identification card; (3) a United States government identification card, or national identification card issued by another country; (4) a current driver's license or other state identification card; (5) an alien registration receipt card; or (6) an employee or student identification card, with photograph.

 

Who can sign the Affidavit of Birth Facts form?

The Affidavit of Birth Facts is a form that we provide in the Delayed Certificate of Birth packet and it can be used as a supporting document. It should be completed by an immediate family member who is at least ten (10) years older than the applicant and signed by a Notary Public. 

The person who completes the form should attach a copy of their unexpired government-issued photo identification.

 

What is the Numident Printout?

If you have a social security card, the Numident Printout from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a document than you may be able to use to support your delayed birth certificate. It is a history of your name, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, and father’s name from the time that you were issued a social security number (SSN). The Numident Printout can only be ordered from the main office of the SSA in Baltimore, Maryland. It can take several days or longer to receive it from the SSA and when you receive it, please forward all pages of it and the cover letter to our office. 

It is not required that you obtain or submit the Numident Printout, as you may submit other supporting documentation.

Last updated November 29, 2017