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Vital Records Services

General Questions

What types of vital records are issued?

How do I amend or change information on my vital record?

What information do I need to apply?

How long will it take to receive a copy of a vital record?

Walk-in:
Average processing time is 30-45 minutes
Mail requests:
2-4 weeks (standard), 3-5 business days (expedited)
Phone or online:
5-7 business days

How can I check the status of a request?

How much do copies of vital records cost?

Will it have a raised seal?

DHEC does not issue "raised seal" certificates. It has not been used by SC since March 1999. Beginning July 2008, certifications have been issued on a security paper with a green engraved intaglio border, a gold state seal on lower left corner and the DHEC seal on the lower right corner.

How do I authorize someone else to obtain a certified copy of a vital record for me?

You may provide written authorization to another person to obtain a record on your behalf. The authorization must specifically name the other person and specify what you are giving them permission to obtain on your behalf. A contact number for you should also be included in case any questions arise. A readable copy of your valid photo ID must also be attached to the authorization. The person authorized to obtain your vital record will also need to provide their valid photo ID when making the request.

Birth Certificates

Who can obtain a certified copy of birth certificates?

How can I apply for a birth certificate?

What type of birth certificate is needed for travel?

How do I request an "Apostille"?

The apostille is issued by the SC Secretary of State's Office.

Additional information about obtaining an apostille is available on the SC Secretary of Stateís web site: http://www.scsos.com/Home

How can I get a delayed birth record established?

A delayed birth record can be established if three (3) different documents verifying the birth facts claimed are submitted. The documents that are submitted must be at least ten (10) years old and must show the place and the date the document was filed. Copies of document ARE NOT acceptable. Only original or certified copies will be accepted. One of the three documents must show the full name of the mother prior to any marriages and the full name of the father. Examples of records that usually verify this information are:

  1. Parentís marriage license
  2. Birth certificate of a brother or sister

One of the three documents must show the correct age or the full date of birth and the place of birth. Examples of record that usually verify this information are:

  1. School records
  2. Birth certificates of children born to the person whose record is being established.
  3. Votersí registration records
  4. Marriage record of person whose birth record is being established

One of the three documents must verify the full correct date of birth (month, day and year). Examples of documents that usually verify this information are:

  1. Driversí license
  2. Insurance policies
  3. School records
  4. Medical Records
  5. Military records

Evidence Requirements for Establishing or Verifying Birth Facts

To be acceptable, records that are submitted MUST have been on file at least the required length of time, they must verify the facts claimed, they cannot contain alterations, and must be the original not a Xerox of the original and they must be submitted in either of the following forms:

  1. Documents with wrong information are not acceptable. The documents must contain the information you are claiming.
  2. Documents that are submitted MUST be the original or a certified Xerox copy from the record custodian.

How can I correct the date of birth on a birth certificate?

If the difference is less than 90 days, original or certified documentary evidence filed within 5 years of application for correction is required. If the difference is over 90 days, original documentary evidence filed within the first seven years of life is required. A date of birth can not be corrected to a date that is beyond the file date listed on the birth certificate nor can it be corrected to a date that is in conflict with a sibling.

Examples of documentary evidence include a certified 10 year driving record and certified school records. Staff will provide specific instructions after a review of the birth record and the requested correction.

The first step is to request a certified copy of your birth certificate and provide a note as to the date of birth you would like to have on your certificate. Staff will review the birth record and advise you specifically on whether the correction can be made as corrected and what evidence would be required. Once the evidence is provided, an affidavit of correction is prepared that must be signed by the registrant in the presence of a notary. There is also a $15 amendment fee.

You may submit this by mail or in person at a county vital records office or the state office. Mail requests generally take up to 4 weeks for an initial response but can be expedited if additional $5 is paid along with the fees for the certified copy of birth certificate. The processing time for the correction will depend upon how soon the required evidence is provided and the returning of the affidavit. Please include a phone number.

How do I request general name corrections on a birth certificate?

The procedures and requirements depend upon whether the change is to the given name or surname and whether any previous changes have been made. Specific instructions can only be provided after a review of the birth record.

If you have requested a birth certificate in the past 12 months, you may return that and notify us as to the specific change you would like to make. If you have not requested a birth certificate in the past 12 months, this would be the first step you need to take. Again, you should indicate the correction you wish to make. Staff will review the certificate on file and advise you.

This process may be initiated by mail or onsite at a county vital records office of the state office.

How do I request given name corrections on a birth certificate?

In general, a correction in spelling of a first or middle name would require certified or original documentary evidence established at least five years prior to the application for correction to amend the birth certificate. The evidence would need to show the name exactly as you are wanting it to be and a date of birth/age consistent with the birth certificate on file. Examples of acceptable documents/evidence are a certified marriage license, 10 year driving record, military records, and school records. Again the evidence must be at least five years old and be an original or certified. Documents with any discrepancies are not acceptable.

If there has previously been any changes to either name, we will not be able to make any administrative correction and a court order would be required for any further changes.

Once the evidence is provided, an affidavit of correction is prepared which must be signed in the presence of a notary. The amendment fee is $15. You would also need to request a certified copy of birth certificate and pay the appropriate fees for the number of copies you request.

You may initiate this process at a county vital records office, the state office or through mail. Please be advised that the quickest way is to bring the required evidence to the state office. The mail process can take several months to complete. The county vital records staff can review the evidence and advise you as to whether what you have is acceptable and prepare the affidavit for your signature and notarize. They will forward to state office for processing.

Please be advised that the above are general instructions and not based on a review of a specific birth record. The specific instructions or procedures may vary based on the findings from a review of a specific birth record.

How do I request a legitimation?

If there is not a father on the certificate and the mother was not married at birth or anytime during pregnancy, a legitimation of birth can be completed. You can initiate that process at a county vital records office or the state office. A certified copy of the marriage license will be required and both parents will have to sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary. You will also need to request a certified copy of the birth certificate.

If you and the father can not come onsite to a county vital records office or the state office, you may submit the request for a birth certificate and a certified copy of your marriage license by mail. Staff will review and determine if legitimation can be completed. Also, state that you want to add the father and provide a phone number where you can be reached during regular business hours. If the father can be added, an affidavit will be mailed which both parents will need to sign in presence of a notary and return with the $15 amendment fee.

How do I request a paternity acknowledgement?

A review of the birth record will need to be made by staff to determine if a paternity acknowledgment can be completed. To have this review made, the mother would need to request a certified copy of a birth certificate and notify staff that she would like to have a father added. She can initiate this process at a county vital records office, at the state office or by mail.

A paternity acknowledgment can not be completed if the mother was married anytime during the pregnancy or at birth or if a father is recorded on the birth record.

Once the review is completed and determined that a father can be added to the record, both parents will need to sign in the presence of a notary the paternity acknowledgment form. Once signed and notarized, the father's name can be added to the certificate and the request for a certified copy completed.

The amendment fee is $15 in addition to the fees for certified copies of the birth certificate.

Adoptions

How do I change a birth certificate after an adoption?

In order to amend a child's SC birth certificate following adoption the following must be submitted:

  • Application for certified copy of a birth certificate & fees for number of copies requested
  • “Certificate of Adoption” (DHEC form 0671 if adoption ordered in SC) or whatever form is used by the state in which the adoption occurred to report to vital records.
  • Certified copy of the Adoption Decree
  • $15 amendment fee

If the above is submitted by mail, please be advised that processing generally takes 2 -3 months.  If you wish to expedite, you may submit an additional $5 and mark request as "expedite" with processing completed in about 2 weeks.  Or you may bring all of the above to the State office where it will be processed within 1 - 2 hours with no additional fees.

How can I start the process for a foreign adoption?

The first actions occur at the Family Court. If you do not have an attorney, you can access the guidelines and forms at www.judicial.state.sc.us/forms. We do not issue any forms until the family court has completed their initial process.

Death Certificates

Who can obtain a certified copy of death certificates?

How can I apply for a death certificate?

Marriage Certificates

How can I apply for a copy of a marriage certificate?

Divorce Reports

How can I apply for a copy of a report of divorce?


For additional information, contact Vital Records.