District of Columbia (DC) Vital Records

Vital Records Online is a reliable and safe US-based resource for ordering all your District of Columbia birth, marriage, and death certificates online. Rest assured that your personal details will remain confidential, and your documents will arrive safely.

History of Vital Records in District of Columbia

District of Columbia Government-Issued Vital Records

The first vital records in Washington, DC, were created in 1810 when the District of Columbia was established. The DCVRD does not release birth certificates to public record until 125 years after the birth was recorded and 75 for death certificates. Vital records are kept confidential and only accessible by authorized individuals such as family members or legal representatives. Generally, these records are not available to the public and require proof of identity or a court order to access them.

Start your application online for DC vital records

Official Birth Certificate
District of Columbia Birth Certificate

Request a certified copy of live birth for your baby or child.

Official Marriage Certificate
District of Columbia Marriage Certificate
Obtain marriage records for yourself or a family member.
Official Death Certificate
District of Columbia Death Certificate
Get an original copy of a death certificate replacement for a lost record.

Why Do I Need Certified Copies of My District of Columbia Vital Records?

Birth, death, and marriage certificates are necessary for documenting and verifying many life events. Vital records help establish your identity, citizenship, and family relationships. Vital records are invaluable for settling legal disputes, claiming an inheritance, or discovering family history. They can reveal information about your ancestors, such as full names, dates of birth and death, and places of residence. If you have lost or misplaced a birth, marriage, or death certificate, be sure to file a report with local authorities and request a certified replacement at the earliest opportunity.

Where to Get District of Columbia Vital Records

Each county is responsible for certifying and issuing vital records for events within its jurisdiction. If you require a replacement of any vital record, you can conveniently search for the correct issuing agency from the comprehensive list below that contains all DC County vital record agencies. The list includes detailed information such as locations, contact details, and online application access for requesting birth, death, and marriage certificates. Birth and death certificates can also be ordered through the State Department of Health.

❗️ If you’re seeking ancestral records for genealogy research in the District of Columbia, they are freely available from various public archives.

Visiting the Vital Records Office

  • Required in-person application
  • Waiting in line
  • Complex and tedious application process
  • Strict business hours and closed during holidays
  • Phone line may be busy
  • No trackable application
  • Only checks and money orders

Visiting the DCVRD office location

Ordering Vital Records Online

  • No waiting in long lines
  • Simplified and streamlined application process
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Online assistance by specialists
  • Verification and error-checking
  • Custom trackable application interface
  • Convenient fee payment by credit card
    • Additional service fee
    • Remote Processing time

Get Started Online

How to Order District of Columbia Vital Records

The District of Columbia offers different methods for residents to obtain vital records. While in-person, telephone, and mailing options are available, online requests are the most dependable and frequently utilized method. The DC Department of Health – Vital Records Division issues certified copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates, provided all requirements are met and instructions are followed. However, marriage certificates can only be requested through county health departments. It is important to note that each type of vital record has unique prerequisites. However, once the steps are understood, the process becomes more straightforward.

Ordering copies of certified vital records from the DCVRD requires careful consideration of costs, eligibility, requirements, and processing times. Understanding the steps and conditions is essential, whether requested by mail or in person.

Ordering Online

Ordering District of Columbia Vital Records online is quick and effortless and involves 2 simple steps:

  1. Complete the online application and upload your documents, and
  2. process your order.

(Choose additional options if you need to insure, expedite, or obtain premium customer support for your application.)

To order a birth, death, or marriage certificate online from the District of Columbia, you must first confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements as an authorized person. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that you possess all the required documents before starting the application process. During the secure online application, you will need to upload copies of these documents, so being prepared beforehand is crucial.

Vital Records Online is an informative system designed to assist you in efficiently collecting and generating the necessary documents. It provides guidance on how and where to submit the required documents and has a user-friendly interface that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. With Vital Records Online, completing the entire process can take as little as five minutes. Moreover, its streamlined process minimizes the likelihood of common errors or missing documents that could lead to your application being rejected.

✔︎ Our processing fee includes your automated document processing and shipping & handling.

✔︎ Additional copies of your certified vital records can be purchased for the state’s fee during the online application to save future costs.

✔︎ Vital Records Online’s support team manages scanning, printing, and providing an online notary for your application and documents. Learn more about how the online ordering and premium handling process works.

✔︎ A notarized sworn statement is not required when ordering a District of Columbia birth, death, or marriage certificate online.

Order In-Person or by Mail

Applying in person is feasible for those living close to the state health department office issuing certified copies of original vital records. Check the office’s public availability and be prepared for potential long lines. If you’re overseas, your only option might be online requests. Mail or online submissions can simplify the process, bypassing challenges associated with in-person applications.

The requirements for requesting vital records are the same for applying in person, by mail, or online. An in-person application has several additional steps you will have to perform manually, including:

  • gathering your documents;
  • getting photocopies of your documents;
  • completing the correct form; and,
  • presenting everything to the health department during regular business hours.

Additionally, by mail, you will need the following:

  • collect two additional secondary forms of identification,
  • purchasing an envelope,
  • including a physical check or money order, and,
  • issuing it to the DCVRD.

❗️ To avoid your application being denied due to mistakes or incomplete information, review the requirements for each vital record before mailing it.

❗️ Ensure that your documents, application, and payment are submitted to the correct health department that issues certified copies of the preserved original record.

❗️ If you mail your application and documents manually, it is recommended to purchase mail tracking to confirm their arrival at the correct office.


Understanding the conditions and requirements before starting your vital record application is essential. This will help ensure you have all the required documents and information to complete the application process without delays or complications.

Proof of Identity for Verifying Authorization

Below is a table containing the necessary information and documents for ordering new vital records in the District of Columbia. A secondary ID might be accepted if you don’t possess a valid form of identification.

The Vital Records Division of the DC Department of Health requires all applicants to provide proof of their identity. To satisfy this requirement, most types of records can be obtained by presenting a driver’s license or a state photo ID. However, checking for other acceptable forms of identification is recommended depending on the type of certificate needed.

If you are applying for a birth or death certificate by mail, you are required to provide one primary form of identification with two secondary forms of identification. If you are applying in person, one primary form of identification may suffice. However, the DCVRD recommends bringing several forms of identification, as a secondary form may also be needed.

What Documents Are Required to Order Vital Records in the District of Columbia?

The DCVRD requires individuals who need to obtain a certified vital record to provide the following information to prove the authenticity of their request:

Certificate Required Information ID Requirements Options Secondary IDs
Birth Certificate Date of Birth,
Daytime Phone Number,
Full Name of Person of Record,
Hospital of Birth,
Mailing Address,
Parents Names,
Your Address,
Your Name,
Your Relationship to the Person of Record,
Your Signature
Department of State ID,
Government Work ID,
Law Enforcement ID,
Permanent Residents Card,
State Driver's License,
State Non-Driver ID,
US Employment Authorization Card,
US Military ID
College ID,
Corrections ID,
Court Order,
Federal Government Census Record,
Military ID,
Notarized Letter from Parent,
Social Security Card,
US Selective Service Card,
Utility Bill,
Vehicle Registration,
Veteran ID,
Voter Registration Card,
W-2 Form,
Work ID
Death Certificate Date of Death,
Daytime Phone Number,
Full Name of Person of Record,
Hospital of Birth,
Mailing Address,
Your Address,
Your Name,
Your Relationship to the Person of Record
Department of State ID,
Government Work ID,
Law Enforcement ID,
Permanent Residents Card,
State Driver's License,
State Non-Driver ID,
US Employment Authorization Card,
US Military ID
College ID,
Corrections ID,
Court Documents with Current Address,
Court Order,
DC ONE Card,
DD-214 Form,
Expired Driver's License,
Expired Non-Driver's ID,
Expired Passport,
Federal Government Census Record,
Hospital Birth Worksheet,
Military ID,
Notarized Letter from Parent,
Official Correspondence from US Citizenship and Immigration Srvices,
Pay Stub,
Prison ID,
Social Security Card,
Social Security Disbursement Statement,
US Selective Service Card,
Utility Bill,
Vehicle Registration,
Veteran ID,
Voter Registration Card,
W-2 Form,
Work ID
Marriage Certificate Bride Name,
Bride's Name Before Marriage,
Date of Marriage,
Groom Name,
Groom Name Before Marriage,
Mailing Address,
Phone Number,
Your Relationship to the Person of Record
Not Required

The DCVRD defines specific conditions for each type of certificate and circumstances for who is authorized to request a vital record replacement. All applicants are advised to check the eligibility criteria defined by the DCVRD when requesting birth, death, and Marriage certificate replacements.

Who is Authorized to Order

Who can request vital records in the District of Columbia?

The certificate holder must provide proof of their identity when requesting a replacement to obtain a certified copy of their vital records.

If someone needs to request a vital record on behalf of another person, it is important to check the eligibility requirements for each birth, death, and marriage certificate to ensure that the requester is authorized to do so. The DCVRD provides a list of eligible third parties that can legally request a copy of a vital record. In most cases, third parties must provide proof of their relationship to the record holder.

Certificate Authorized People
Birth Certificate Attorneys, Children, Grandparents, Law Enforcement, Legal Guardian, Legal Representative, Parents, Person on Record, Siblings, Social Worker
Death Certificate Attorneys, Beneficiary, Children, Domestic Partner, Grandchildren, Grandparents, Interested Parties (personal or property rights legal need), Law Enforcement, Legal Guardian, Legal Representative, Parents, Siblings, Spouse
Marriage Certificate Not Restricted

✔︎ If you can provide documentation of legal interest or hold a Power of Attorney from the person on record, you are eligible to request the vital record for that person.

Notarized Sworn Statement

Do I need a notary with my application?

The Health Department of the District of Columbia generally does not require applicants to obtain a notarized sworn statement with their application to prove their identity. However, the applicant must provide between 1 to 3 forms of identification, depending on the ordering method. A notarized statement may be required for certain third-party applicants or when amending a record.

For further details about specific situations that require a notary with your application, explore the DCVRD website at https://dchealth.dc.gov/vital-records. Remember to bring your ID for identity verification when visiting the local public notary.

❗️ A Notarized sworn statement may be required under the following circumstances:

❗️ A notarized sworn statement may be necessary when a third-party legal representative requests a District of Columbia Marriage Certificate on behalf of an applicant.

Costs and Fees

The total cost for replacing vital records varies based on the type of certificate and the fees charged by the DCVRD. Additionally, the method of application submission and the need for a notary to verify identity may also increase the overall cost.

When ordering birth, marriage, divorce, or death records through Vital Records Online, the processing fee starts at $29. DCVRD will charge a $23.00 fee for each certified copy of a birth record, a $10.00 fee for each marriage certificate, and $18.00 for each death certificate.

✔︎ Additional copies can be requested during the same order at reduced prices to save future costs in case your vital records are lost, destroyed, or stolen

Certificate Fee Additional Copy
Birth Certificate $29.00 $23.00
Death Certificate $24.00 $18.00

Processing and Delivery Times

How long will it take to receive my vital records from the District of Columbia?

Birth, death, or marriage certificate processing and replacement times vary. Check the current processing and delivery times below. When ordering through Vital Records Online, you can choose to expedite the process of generating your documents and application packet. The method you choose to submit your application and documents can also affect the total amount of time until you receive your vital record in the mail.

The processing and replacement duration for birth, death, or marriage certificates are listed below for the current wait times.

Certificate Processing Time
Birth Certificate 10 to 20 days
Death Certificate 10 to 20 days

❗️ We advise allowing 2-3 additional days in your application process if you use a local public notary (if required).

❗️ A simple error, typo, or missing document can cause wait times to double, repeat shipping costs, or expose personal information.

How to Track My DC Vital Record?

If you submit your application through Vital Records Online, you can conveniently check the order status to monitor your application processing. You can also track your application packet to the District of Columbia Department of Public Health with the first-class prepaid mail postage included with your order.

If you prefer to mail your application packet manually, purchasing first-class mail tracking will let you know if it arrives successfully at the vital records health department. For the safety of your documents and personal information, the DCVRD sends all essential documents via USPS first-class mail directly to your home. DCVRD is not liable for misplaced or misdirected records. If a birth certificate is lost, then you should file a report as soon as possible. A small typographical error or missing document can extend wait times, incur additional shipping costs, and expose your detailed information.

Find more frequently asked questions below the District of Columbia counties office locations directory.

District of Columbia (DC) Vital Record Office Locations

Local Vital Records offices may be closed to the public.

Online Applications are available 24 hrs, 365 days per year.

Search (A-Z) District of Columbia vital records issuing agencies in your county.
Address Hours Application

Department of Health,
Vital Records Division
899 North Capitol Street, NE,
Washington, DC 20002

For Marriage Certificates:

DC Courts-Marriage Bureau
District of Columbia
Superior Court Marriage Bureau –
JM 690 500 Indiana Av. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 442-9303

Mailing Address:

Department of Health,
Vital Records Division
ATTN: New Applications Dept.
899 North Capitol St., NE, 1st Floor,
Washington, DC 20002

Walk-ins: Monday and Tuesday 9am - 1pm
Wednesday 9am - 3:30pm
Thursday and Friday 9am - 1pm

DC Courts-Marriage Bureau: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. M-F
Birth Certificate Death Certificate Marriage Certificate
District of Columbia
Birth Certificate Death Certificate Marriage Certificate

Other Frequently Asked Questions


An Apostille is a type of certification that is required when submitting vital records to a foreign government. The vital records must be filed initially with the DCVRD Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications to obtain an Apostille. The following types of records can be requested for an Apostille: birth, death, and marriage certificates.

How can I get an apostille for a vital record?

Apostilles for vital records in the District of Columbia can be conveniently obtained entirely online via Vital Records Online. Alternatively, they can be acquired through the Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications in the District of Columbia.

Vital Records Online offers comprehensive apostille services across all 50 US states, recognized by governments and organizations worldwide. The online service includes apostilles for Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce Certificates and includes professional support. Vital Records Online’s apostille service starts at a competitive price of $149, (plus government fees), and is legally valid in over 100 countries. The entire process can be conveniently completed online in just three simple steps.

  1. Complete the Apostille Express online application.
  2. Submit the required documents for approval.
  3. Receive your apostille document.

Vital Records Online’s apostille service allows you to complete it entirely online in most instances, eliminating the need for physical document submission. Whether you are located in the US or overseas, your documents are shipped via global couriers like FedEx or DHL. Once your apostille document is prepared, it will be shipped directly to your doorstep.

If you are manually sending your certificates, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Most documents must be either notarized by a DC notary public or signed by an authorized head of a DC government agency.
  • Birth and death certificates must be original from the District of Columbia. They must be on letter size (8.5″ X11″) paper.
  • For authentication, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees must be certified copies issued by the US Superior Court for the District of Columbia and have the triple seal. They may not be notarized.

You can submit requests for vital record apostilles to the DCVRD Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications at the following addresses:

For express shipping (UPS, DHL, or Federal Express), submit the request to the physical address:

Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications 

441 4th Street, NW
Suite 810 South
Washington, DC 20001

For standard mail, use the following address:

441 4th Street, NW
Suite 810 South
Washington, DC 20001

You can reach the office at (202) 727-3117 or online at https://os.dc.gov/service/authentications

Correcting or Amending Vital Records

To assist, DCVRD has provided a list of common scenarios requiring an amendment to the person’s birth or marriage certificate.

The DC Department of Health – Vital Records Division (DCVRD) offers a concise process in accordance with the law to correct or amend birth, marriage, or death certificates. The required form for amending the vital record depends on the specific information that needs to be corrected. Any changes made to a vital record are considered amendments, and any additional changes made after the initial amendment will be added as addendums to the original record. However, the original document cannot be altered by any entity.

The requirements for requesting the changes or amendments vary depending on which vital record needs changes.

Correcting or amending vital records usually will require the following:

  1. A completed amendment application;
  2. Supporting documentation;
  3. Appropriate fee(s);
  4. A notarized sworn statement completed by an authorized person.

Learn more about correcting or amending birth, death, and marriage certificates.


  • The DMV prefers a birth certificate when verifying your identity for the REAL ID;
  • The deadline to obtain a Real ID has been extended to May 7th, 2025.

The REAL ID Act is a new federal law regarding driver’s licenses that may affect those individuals whose vital records do not match their driver’s licenses. To prevent delays when applying for your Real ID driver’s license, you are encouraged to review your birth and/or marriage to ensure your name, sex, and date of birth are listed correctly.

Search Public Records

Where can I search for free public records?

District of Columbia Vital Records become available to the public after 125 years from the date they were recorded. While searching for free public records in the District of Columbia may be challenging, numerous vital records are accessible to the public at little or no cost. By utilizing search engines, individuals can browse through confidential birth, marriage, and divorce records in the District of Columbia to find the desired information. However, allocating significant time to review the records is essential.

Are District of Columbia Vital Records Open to the Public?

Most state records are open to the public in the District of Columbia. Access to these records may vary depending on the type of vital records you are searching for and the year a birth, death, or marriage occurred.

Third-party websites can be a valuable source of information when researching vital records. These sites are helpful for not having geographical limitations. They can provide a good point of reference when researching vital records. However, it is important to note that the data found on these sites may not always match official government records. To locate a specific record on a third-party website, the requester must provide certain information as follows:

  • The location of the record you’re looking for, including the city, county, or state where it was recorded.
  • The name of the person on record if they are not a minor.

District of Columbia residents have the right under the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act to inspect or obtain copies of public vital records.

How to Verify if Your Vital Record Is Official

Each state, county, and municipality issues unique vital records. To ensure that you have the officially certified copy issued by the relevant agency, you can compare the appearance of your Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificate with the informative copies. One way to distinguish informational copies of vital records is to look for a stamp or large print across the face of the document that reads “Informative, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” or a similar statement.

What Are the Differences Between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?

Authorized Copy:

Authorized (certified) copies, serving as legal identification documents, are exclusively issued to individuals possessing a direct and tangible interest in them. In contrast, informational copies do not qualify for identity verification purposes.

In order to obtain an authorized copy, the applicant must provide proof of their identity. If ordering by mail, the DCVRD requires one primary form of identification and two secondary forms of information.

Informational Copy:

Informative copies of vital records are often available for public access. They can provide valuable information about a person’s birth, marriage, or death. However, they cannot be used as legal documents to prove identity. In contrast, authorized (certified) copies are considered legal documents. They are issued only to individuals with a “direct and tangible interest” in the record.

Informative copies of public vital records may be obtained without any documentation. The citizens have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public records in accordance with the DC Freedom of Information Act.

Check the resources section for additional birth, death, and marriage certificate references.

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