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  • 35 Ordering Birth and Death Records - Female Clerk

    Birth Records and Death Certificates

    Need a certificate from a state other than Washington? Visit CDC’s website.

    Order a certified birth or death certificate

    A certified certificate is a legal document that proves a birth or death occurred.

    1. Make sure you’re a qualified applicant.
    2. Submit an application with:
    3. Pay non-refundable fees.

    Not a qualified applicant or don’t need a certified certificate? Learn about informational copies.

    For more info, read our FAQs below and Washington vital records law.

    When to order

    Birth

    • Wait at least 15 days after birth to apply and pay for a certificate.
    • Adding parentage? Wait 30 days after birth to apply and pay for a certificate. Learn more about the Acknowledgment of Parentage.

    Death

    • Wait to order until the funeral home tells you the record is ready.

    How to order

    Walk-in
    Description Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. No appointment necessary. 
    Before you arrive:
    Cost Non-refundable $39 base fee:
    • $25 certificate fee (per record).
    • $14 processing and expedited fee.
    • Additional fee for credit and debit cards.
    • Additional fee for credit check (if you forget your ID).
    Processing time Average wait time is 20-30 minutes. A record problem or insufficient proof of documentation may cause delays or cancellation.
    Requirements Certificates:
    Noncertified informational copies:
    Order online and receive by mail
    Description Order with VitalChek, our authorized vendor at any time. Pay by credit or debit card.
    Cost Non-refundable $48.50 base fee:
    • $25 certificate fee (per record).
    • $12.50 Health Department Vital Records processing fee.
    • $11.50 VitalChek fee.
    Additional fee for expedited shipping.
    Processing time We ship within 3 business days of receiving the order from VitalChek. However, a record problem may cause delays or cancellation.
    Requirements Certificates:
    Noncertified informational copies:
    Order by mail
    Description

    Mail your birth or death application and fee to: 
    Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
    Vital Records
    3629 S. D St.
    Tacoma, WA 98418-6813 

    Non-refundable payment by check or money order.

    Cost

    Non-refundable $32.50 base  fee:

    • $25 certificate fee (per record).
    • $4 mail processing fee.
    • $3.50 authentication fee.
    • Additional fee for expedited shipping.
    Processing time Shipped within 1-2 weeks from receiving the order. However, a record problem may cause delays.
    Requirements Certificates:
    Noncertified informational copies:

    If a third-party company charged you a fee

    This doesn’t apply to VitalChek, our contracted and authorized vendor. If you ordered a birth or death certificate through a third-party company who charged you a fee to “process” or “help apply,” file a consumer complaint. Visit Washington State Attorney General Consumer Protection Division or call:

    Consumer Resource Center
    Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
    (206) 464-6684
    (800) 551-4636 (Washington only)

    After-hours burial transit permit

    Call (253) 649-1500 for help. Pierce County occurrences only. An additional $50 fee per event applies for after-hours burial transit permits.

    Are you an agency?

    • Have an AP billing portal account? Submit your request through the portal. Submit by 1 p.m. PST and we’ll process your request the same day.
    • Need a wet signature? Burial transit permit, fetal DC, CD letter, etc. Call (253) 649-1402 to schedule an appointment.

    Auditor services

    • Auditor services are no longer available at the Health Department.
    • Health Department services are no longer available at the Auditor’s office.
    • Question about passports? Visit the Auditor’s office.

    Birth and Death Records FAQs

    If you were born in Washington State and the name change occurred in Washington, submit a court-ordered name changes. If the name change occurred outside of Washington State go to the Center for Health Statistics.

    Visit the Washington State Department of Health to learn how to amend an error with an Affidavit for Correction

    If you submit the correction within 1 year of the date of the certificate, you’ll receive a corrected certificate for free. After 1 year, normal fees apply. 

    If you ordered by mail:

    Before you contact our office, verify your check or money order processed, on what date, and that Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Vital Records cashed it. If your bank processed the check or money order, our office received your order. 

    If you call our office, provide the customer service representative with the check or money order number and date cashed.

    If you ordered online:

    If you placed your order through VitalChek, you received an order number and a copy of your receipt to your email. If you provided an email address, you should receive a notification when they ship your order. If you call our office, provide the customer service representative with the VitalChek order number.

    If you ordered in-person (walk-in):

    If you ordered in-person (walk-in), you can leave with it the same business day. Next-day pick-up is available at a lesser fee.

    New parents complete a Washington State Birth Filing Form at the hospital or birth center after delivery, not an application to order a birth certificate.

    The first birth certificate issued for a birth isn’t free and hospitals and birth centers can’t order a birth certificate on your behalf. The hospital may have provided you with your local county health department birth certificate order form, which requires a fee. If you did not request for a birth certificate with an order online, mail, or in-person and submitted identification and proof of eligibility documentation, you will not receive a birth certificate. 

    CDC can help you find vital records anywhere in the U.S.  

    It depends on the way you order. The time depends on when we receive full payment and all required documentation. Missing information or documentation delays orders.

    • VitalChek process and ship within 3 days.
    • If you order by mail, you will receive the order within 1-2 weeks after we receive and process payment. 

    Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are not issued on the certified paper with security features and you can’t use them for legal purposes. It will contain a watermark stating: it is purely for informational purposes only. Check with the agency or business about whether they will accept informational copies before you purchase it.

    Informational copies of birth records contain the same information as a certified birth copy.

    Informational copies of death records contain the same information as the certified short form death copy. they don’t contain cause and manner of death information or social security number of the decedent.

    Noncertified informational copy of long form death, fetal death, marriage, or divorce records are not available.

    The long form death certificate contains cause and manner of death information and social security number of the decedent. You might need this certificate to close out bank accounts or claim benefits like life insurance policies.

    The short form death certificate is for deaths that were registered starting electronically Jan. 1, 2018 to present. They don’t contain cause and manner of death information or social security number of the decedent. You can use this certificate for titles, real estate transactions, and probate cases.

    Check with the agency or business to determine which type of certificate you will need before you purchase it.

    • Birth: All births in Tacoma and Pierce County from 1907-present and all statewide electronically filed.
    • Death: All deaths in Tacoma from 1907-present and Pierce County from 1926-present. Most electronically filed, statewide from 2005 (depends on the county).
    • Short form death: All electronically filed since Jan. 1, 2018.
    • birth or death record that occurred in a different state.
    • A birth or death record that occurred before July 1, 1907. Find online, Washington State Archives.

    All adoptees 18 and older need to access to their original noncertified birth certificates unless a birth parent files a contact preference form indicating that he or she doesn’t want the information released. 

    Post-adoption birth certificate lists the adoptive parent(s) and reflects any legal name change after the adoption is finalized and the birth record has been amended.

    For more information on adoptions, visit DOH’s adoptions page.

    You can request a certificate or noncertified informational copy by ordering:   

    • Online through VitalChek.
    • By mail.
    • In-person.

    The Department of Health can help you order an apostille.

    Get your marriage certificate from the Pierce County Auditor, or in person at 2401 S 35th St, Room 200, Tacoma, WA 98402, or call at 253-798-7435.

    Get your divorce decree in person at 930 Tacoma Ave S, Room 110, Tacoma, WA 98402, or call 253-798-7455. Or, from the court where the divorce was granted.

    If you are not listed as a qualified applicant, you may access vital records information in a variety of ways:

    • Use the authorized representative process.
    • Purchase a noncertified informational copy of a birth and death record.
    • Request historical records directly from State Archives.
    • Copies of vital records like birth or marriage certificates from this or another state that links the applicant to the requested record.
    • Copies of certified court orders linking the applicant to the requested record (ex. legal guardianship court orders or court orders listing someone as the foster parent).
    • Document or letter from a government agency or courts stating the certificate will be used for official duties (for government agency or courts only).
    • Document or letter from title insurer or title insurance agent handling a transaction on behalf of the decedent (for short form death certificates only).

    View the Proof of Eligibility for examples of how to prove qualifying relationship. View in En Español.

    One government issued identification document that has not expired more than 60 days.

    If you don’t have a government issued identification document, then at least 2 documents from the alternative list. View in En Español.

    Qualified applicants are:

    • Subject of the record (a person who is buying their own birth certificate).
    • Spouse or domestic partner.
    • Parent, step-parent, or legal guardian.
    • Child or stepchild.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent or great grandparent.
    • Grandchild.
    • Legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Government agency or the courts if the birth certificate is used to conduct official duties.
    • Parent.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent.
    • Parent’s legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Funeral director or funeral establishment listed on the record (up to 12 months from the date of fetal death).
    • Government agency or courts if the fetal death certificate will be used for official duties.
    • Spouse or domestic partner of the decedent.
    • Parent, step-parent, or legal guardian immediately prior to death.
    • Child or stepchild.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent or great grandparent.
    • Grandchild.
    • Legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Next of kin, only if no one else from this list is living.
    • Funeral director or funeral establishment that is named on the record (up to 12 months from the date of death).
    • Government agency or courts if the death certificate will be used for official duties.

    Qualified applicants are the same as the long form death certificates, plus:

    • A title insurer or title insurance agent handling a transaction involving real property.
    • A person that demonstrates the certificate is necessary for a determination related to the death or protection of a personal or property right related to the death.

    No. The vital records offices in Washington state will not perform a search or verification of a vital record. You must submit a complete application and purchase a vital record.

    Find fees for you or your business on the Vital Records fee schedule.

    The certified and noncertified informational copy fee is $25. Additional service fees may apply:

    • Base fee for a certificate and noncertified informational copy is $25.
    • Online orders have a $12 processing fee and an $11.50 VitalChek fee.
    • In-person orders have a $10 processing fee and a $1 credit/debit card service fee when you order from Health Department kiosks. VitalChek kiosks have a $10 processing plus $3.50 VitalChek fee. Additional processing fees for same-day service. 

    We don’t provide refunds for records we can’t locate or if the documentation you provide doesn’t prove you were eligible to receive a birth, death, or fetal death certificate.

    • First, middle, and last name of the subject of the record.
    • First and last name of all parents listed on the record.
    • Date of birth (month, day, year).
    • City or county where the birth occurred.
    • First and last name of the decedent.
    • Approximate date of death (month and year).
    • City or county where the death occurred.

    The requirements are the same to request a birth certificate, but the government agency or homeless services provider working on behalf of the homeless individual submits the request to Washington State Department of Health.

    1. A completed application with required pieces of information.
    2. Proper documents proving identity.
    3. Proper documents proving qualifying relationship.
    4. Applicable fee(s).

    If you can’t prove your identity, you may access vital records information other ways:

    • Check with family members who have a qualifying relationship with the subject of the record and can prove identity about requesting the certificate for you.
    • Purchase a noncertified informational copy of a birth or death record.
    • Request historical records directly from State Archives.

    To purchase a birth or death certificate, you must provide the required pieces of information. On your request, please provide all variations that may appear on the certificate due to an amendment, legal name change, or establishment of parentage. Check with family members for more information and verify if differences exist between the information you provide and what may appear on the certificate.

    Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are available to anyone who completes an application form with required pieces of information and pays applicable fees.

    Required pieces of information for a noncertified informational birth copy are:

    • First, middle, and last name of the subject of the record.
    • First and last name of all parents listed on the record.
    • Date of birth (month, day, year).
    • City or county where the birth occurred.

    Required pieces of information for a noncertified informational death copy are:

    • First and last name of the decedent.
    • Approximate date of death (month and year).
    • City or county where the death occurred.

    Changes include:

    • Only qualified applicants can obtain certified copies of birth, death, and fetal death records.
    • All qualified applicants must provide identification and proof of eligibility documentation.
    • The certificate and noncertified fees are $25 each.
    • Identified in a notarized form signed by a qualified applicant.
    • An agent identified in a power of attorney.

    You can’t use noncertified informational copies for legal purposes, which limits the use. Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are not issued on the certified paper with security features – it will contain a watermark stating that it is purely for informational purposes only.

    Certified copies or certificates of birth and death records are base documents that prove identity, provide access to important services (school, medical, etc.) and accounts. Extra steps to limit access to certified copies of records is an important step to protect personal information and prevent fraud.

    The fee for certificates has not increased since 2007. These fees support the vital records system across the state and help fund the death investigations account (a fund operated by Washington State Patrol to pay for the state toxicology lab, investigations, and training).

    Fees help maintain the level of service—expediting online orders so you receive the records faster.

    Getting a Record

    If you ordered by mail:

    Before you contact our office, verify your check or money order processed, on what date, and that Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Vital Records cashed it. If your bank processed the check or money order, our office received your order. 

    If you call our office, provide the customer service representative with the check or money order number and date cashed.

    If you ordered online:

    If you placed your order through VitalChek, you received an order number and a copy of your receipt to your email. If you provided an email address, you should receive a notification when they ship your order. If you call our office, provide the customer service representative with the VitalChek order number.

    If you ordered in-person (walk-in):

    If you ordered in-person (walk-in), you can leave with it the same business day. Next-day pick-up is available at a lesser fee.

    New parents complete a Washington State Birth Filing Form at the hospital or birth center after delivery, not an application to order a birth certificate.

    The first birth certificate issued for a birth isn’t free and hospitals and birth centers can’t order a birth certificate on your behalf. The hospital may have provided you with your local county health department birth certificate order form, which requires a fee. If you did not request for a birth certificate with an order online, mail, or in-person and submitted identification and proof of eligibility documentation, you will not receive a birth certificate. 

    CDC can help you find vital records anywhere in the U.S.  

    It depends on the way you order. The time depends on when we receive full payment and all required documentation. Missing information or documentation delays orders.

    • VitalChek process and ship within 3 days.
    • If you order by mail, you will receive the order within 1-2 weeks after we receive and process payment. 

    Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are not issued on the certified paper with security features and you can’t use them for legal purposes. It will contain a watermark stating: it is purely for informational purposes only. Check with the agency or business about whether they will accept informational copies before you purchase it.

    Informational copies of birth records contain the same information as a certified birth copy.

    Informational copies of death records contain the same information as the certified short form death copy. they don’t contain cause and manner of death information or social security number of the decedent.

    Noncertified informational copy of long form death, fetal death, marriage, or divorce records are not available.

    The long form death certificate contains cause and manner of death information and social security number of the decedent. You might need this certificate to close out bank accounts or claim benefits like life insurance policies.

    The short form death certificate is for deaths that were registered starting electronically Jan. 1, 2018 to present. They don’t contain cause and manner of death information or social security number of the decedent. You can use this certificate for titles, real estate transactions, and probate cases.

    Check with the agency or business to determine which type of certificate you will need before you purchase it.

    • Birth: All births in Tacoma and Pierce County from 1907-present and all statewide electronically filed.
    • Death: All deaths in Tacoma from 1907-present and Pierce County from 1926-present. Most electronically filed, statewide from 2005 (depends on the county).
    • Short form death: All electronically filed since Jan. 1, 2018.
    • birth or death record that occurred in a different state.
    • A birth or death record that occurred before July 1, 1907. Find online, Washington State Archives.

    All adoptees 18 and older need to access to their original noncertified birth certificates unless a birth parent files a contact preference form indicating that he or she doesn’t want the information released. 

    Post-adoption birth certificate lists the adoptive parent(s) and reflects any legal name change after the adoption is finalized and the birth record has been amended.

    For more information on adoptions, visit DOH’s adoptions page.

    You can request a certificate or noncertified informational copy by ordering:   

    • Online through VitalChek.
    • By mail.
    • In-person.

    Other Certifications/Licensing

    The Department of Health can help you order an apostille.

    Get your marriage certificate from the Pierce County Auditor, or in person at 2401 S 35th St, Room 200, Tacoma, WA 98402, or call at 253-798-7435.

    Get your divorce decree in person at 930 Tacoma Ave S, Room 110, Tacoma, WA 98402, or call 253-798-7455. Or, from the court where the divorce was granted.

    Qualified Applicant

    If you are not listed as a qualified applicant, you may access vital records information in a variety of ways:

    • Use the authorized representative process.
    • Purchase a noncertified informational copy of a birth and death record.
    • Request historical records directly from State Archives.
    • Copies of vital records like birth or marriage certificates from this or another state that links the applicant to the requested record.
    • Copies of certified court orders linking the applicant to the requested record (ex. legal guardianship court orders or court orders listing someone as the foster parent).
    • Document or letter from a government agency or courts stating the certificate will be used for official duties (for government agency or courts only).
    • Document or letter from title insurer or title insurance agent handling a transaction on behalf of the decedent (for short form death certificates only).

    View the Proof of Eligibility for examples of how to prove qualifying relationship. View in En Español.

    One government issued identification document that has not expired more than 60 days.

    If you don’t have a government issued identification document, then at least 2 documents from the alternative list. View in En Español.

    Qualified applicants are:

    • Subject of the record (a person who is buying their own birth certificate).
    • Spouse or domestic partner.
    • Parent, step-parent, or legal guardian.
    • Child or stepchild.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent or great grandparent.
    • Grandchild.
    • Legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Government agency or the courts if the birth certificate is used to conduct official duties.
    • Parent.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent.
    • Parent’s legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Funeral director or funeral establishment listed on the record (up to 12 months from the date of fetal death).
    • Government agency or courts if the fetal death certificate will be used for official duties.
    • Spouse or domestic partner of the decedent.
    • Parent, step-parent, or legal guardian immediately prior to death.
    • Child or stepchild.
    • Sibling.
    • Grandparent or great grandparent.
    • Grandchild.
    • Legal representative.
    • Authorized representative.
    • Next of kin, only if no one else from this list is living.
    • Funeral director or funeral establishment that is named on the record (up to 12 months from the date of death).
    • Government agency or courts if the death certificate will be used for official duties.

    Qualified applicants are the same as the long form death certificates, plus:

    • A title insurer or title insurance agent handling a transaction involving real property.
    • A person that demonstrates the certificate is necessary for a determination related to the death or protection of a personal or property right related to the death.

    Records Cost

    No. The vital records offices in Washington state will not perform a search or verification of a vital record. You must submit a complete application and purchase a vital record.

    Find fees for you or your business on the Vital Records fee schedule.

    The certified and noncertified informational copy fee is $25. Additional service fees may apply:

    • Base fee for a certificate and noncertified informational copy is $25.
    • Online orders have a $12 processing fee and an $11.50 VitalChek fee.
    • In-person orders have a $10 processing fee and a $1 credit/debit card service fee when you order from Health Department kiosks. VitalChek kiosks have a $10 processing plus $3.50 VitalChek fee. Additional processing fees for same-day service. 

    We don’t provide refunds for records we can’t locate or if the documentation you provide doesn’t prove you were eligible to receive a birth, death, or fetal death certificate.

    Requirements

    • First, middle, and last name of the subject of the record.
    • First and last name of all parents listed on the record.
    • Date of birth (month, day, year).
    • City or county where the birth occurred.
    • First and last name of the decedent.
    • Approximate date of death (month and year).
    • City or county where the death occurred.

    The requirements are the same to request a birth certificate, but the government agency or homeless services provider working on behalf of the homeless individual submits the request to Washington State Department of Health.

    1. A completed application with required pieces of information.
    2. Proper documents proving identity.
    3. Proper documents proving qualifying relationship.
    4. Applicable fee(s).

    If you can’t prove your identity, you may access vital records information other ways:

    • Check with family members who have a qualifying relationship with the subject of the record and can prove identity about requesting the certificate for you.
    • Purchase a noncertified informational copy of a birth or death record.
    • Request historical records directly from State Archives.

    To purchase a birth or death certificate, you must provide the required pieces of information. On your request, please provide all variations that may appear on the certificate due to an amendment, legal name change, or establishment of parentage. Check with family members for more information and verify if differences exist between the information you provide and what may appear on the certificate.

    Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are available to anyone who completes an application form with required pieces of information and pays applicable fees.

    Required pieces of information for a noncertified informational birth copy are:

    • First, middle, and last name of the subject of the record.
    • First and last name of all parents listed on the record.
    • Date of birth (month, day, year).
    • City or county where the birth occurred.

    Required pieces of information for a noncertified informational death copy are:

    • First and last name of the decedent.
    • Approximate date of death (month and year).
    • City or county where the death occurred.

    Vital Records Law

    Changes include:

    • Only qualified applicants can obtain certified copies of birth, death, and fetal death records.
    • All qualified applicants must provide identification and proof of eligibility documentation.
    • The certificate and noncertified fees are $25 each.
    • Identified in a notarized form signed by a qualified applicant.
    • An agent identified in a power of attorney.

    You can’t use noncertified informational copies for legal purposes, which limits the use. Noncertified informational copies of birth and death records are not issued on the certified paper with security features – it will contain a watermark stating that it is purely for informational purposes only.

    Certified copies or certificates of birth and death records are base documents that prove identity, provide access to important services (school, medical, etc.) and accounts. Extra steps to limit access to certified copies of records is an important step to protect personal information and prevent fraud.

    The fee for certificates has not increased since 2007. These fees support the vital records system across the state and help fund the death investigations account (a fund operated by Washington State Patrol to pay for the state toxicology lab, investigations, and training).

    Fees help maintain the level of service—expediting online orders so you receive the records faster.

    Contact Us

    Hours
    Monday–Friday:
    8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 

    Last Tuesday of each month:
    9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

    Phone
    (253) 649-1401

    Fax
    (253) 649-1390

    Address
    3629 S. D St.
    Tacoma, WA 98418

    Main entrance (2nd floor):
    South 37th and D Street

    Staff

    Daigneault, Lynsey
    Deputy Registrar
    (253) 649-1534

    Gaines, Stacey
    Deputy Registrar
    (253) 649-1529

    Moeung, Alisa
    Deputy Registrar
    (253) 649-1533