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Guide: How to get a certified copy of your Vital Records in all 50 States and DC?

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. State government vital records offices issue these documents. To get a copy or a certified copy of a vital record, contact the vital records office in the state where the event occurred.

💡 Tips: The simplest way is to use the government-authorized platform to order certified copies of vital records.

When requesting an apostille or authentication for a vital record, a certified copy of that record is a must. A certified copy usually contains terms like "true copy", "certified copy", or "this is certified by..." and bears the original signature of a clerk or officer and embossed seal or colored stamp.

Who may request records and for what purpose:

Every citizen has a right to access public records. Because not otherwise stated in the law itself, the term “citizens” likely refers to all citizens of the United States. This includes news media, corporations, and professional organizations.

The custodian of public records may ask the purpose for a request or the requester’s intended use of the records.

The following is the CDC’s guide to access to your vital records, including all 50 states and DC. You may also get the full guide here.

Any kind of vital records issued in the United States needs to be apostilled or authenticated before its use in other countries outside the United States.

If the destination country is a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, it needs to get the Apostille from the Secretary of State. Once the apostille is completed, It is ready for use.

However, if the destination country is NOT a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, more steps are needed. Specifically, the document needs to be authenticated by the Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State (if any), and the embassy of that destination country which is located in Washington D.C.


American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at


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