Vital records office definition

A Vital Records Office is a governmental institution responsible for filing, issuing, preserving, protecting, and amending copies of vital records. Vital Records Offices are sometimes called a Bureau of Vital Statistics or Bureau of Vital Records or County Clerk’s Office.

Vital records record an event of an individual's life and are kept under governmental authority. Vital records include personal, identifiable information like full names, dates, and places, information regarding parents, and spouses.

Vital Records offices handle these vital records, including:

Depending on the jurisdiction, Vital Records Offices may also keep, and issue records of domestic partnerships or civil unions, as well as terminations of domestic partnerships.

The Office of Vital Records of each state or county maintains birth and death records from different dates until the present, depending on when the state began recording these events. In some cases, the State Vital Records Office may not have older records, although these vital records may be available at the County Vital Records Office where the birth or death took place.

Vital Records Offices operate at a state and county level. To obtain a copy of a vital record, you must apply to the Vital Records Office of the state or county where the event took place.

Vital Records Offices can only issue certificates of records kept in the same state. For birth or death certificates recorded in a different state, applicants may contact the National Center for Health Statistics.

Vital Records application forms can be filled out online and mailed to the Vital Records Office. Once the bureau issues the birth certificate replacement, it will be sent by mail to the applicant’s preferred address.

To view the address for a vital records office near you, select your state from the following list, or visit the NCHS website:

If you need to find the nearest vital statistics office check our vital records offices locator

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