Vital FAQ

Who can request a certified copy of a birth certificate or a death certificate?

For births within the past 75 years and deaths within the past 25 years, only the immediate family members to the person whose name is on the birth certificate or death certificate are eligible to request a copy. All those with any other relationship to this person must provide legal documentation, such as a court order establishing guardianship. If you are the legal representative of a qualified applicant, send us a release which documents a direct and tangible interest in the record you are requesting.

Who is considered an immediate family member?

Any of the following relationships by blood or marriage are considered to be immediate family members: self, child, parent, brother, sister, grandparent, and spouse. Documentation will be required to prove relationship, such as birth certificates or marriage licenses.

How can I purchase a wallet-size birth certificate (card)?

Since 2008 our local office does not offer the wallet-size birth cards

How can I order vital records from other states?

If you would like to request vital records from other states, visit the National Center for Health Statistics website for more information.

What do you accept as a valid ID?

Current and Valid Primary Identification is required (must contain the applicant’s name and photograph that establishes the applicant’s identity):

  • US Government issued Driver’s License
  • US Government issued Identification Card
  • Federal, State or City law enforcement employment ID card or employment badge accompanied by employment ID card
  • Offender Identification card issued by the Department of Criminal Justice correctional facility or institution
  • US Military Identification card
  • United States Passport
  • US Department of State issued Border Crossing card (Passport Card)
  • US Department of State issued Visa
  • Concealed Handgun License
  • Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued
    • Permanent Resident Card or Resident Alien Card
    • Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD)
    • SENTRI Card
Secondary and supporting documentation may be accepted if a primary identification is not available. For acceptable secondary and supporting documentation please contact our office at (956) 795-4929.

Why is an ID required?

Birth certificates and death certificates are not open records. Access to birth certificates is restricted to qualified applicants for 75 years from the date of birth, and access to death certificates is restricted for 25 years from the date of death. An ID is required to prove your identity as a qualified applicant.

How soon after the birth of my child will the birth record be available?

Birth records are received approximately 10 days after birth of the child. New parents may contact our office at (956) 795-4929 to verify if birth record has been filed in our office.

What do I do if I need a birth certificate or death certificate to give to a foreign government (an "apostille")?

A birth certificate or death certificate which is prepared to give to a foreign country is called an apostille. Once you have a properly certified document, you will need to send it to the Secretary of State's Office with their required fee for an apostille.
Visit the Texas Secretary of State’s website for further information and instructions.

How do I add the father's name and information to a birth certificate?

This is the most common change to a birth record and can be done using the VS170 Correcting a Birth Certificate. If the father's information had been left blank on the birth certificate, these items can be added to the birth certificate by submitting the VS170 Correcting a Birth Certificate, signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public, and one (1) of the following documents:

  • Certified copy of a marriage license between the mother and the biological father
  • Properly completed State of Texas Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VS-159.1)
  • Certified copy of a court decree establishing parentage between the child and the biological father

How do I remove the father's name and information from a birth certificate?

This requires a certified copy of a court order indicating that:

  • The man currently listed as the father on the birth certificate is not the biological father, or
  • The father's rights have been terminated, and his name is to be removed from the birth certificate. In this case, the VS170 Correcting a Birth Certificate can be signed in the presence of a notary public by either the mother or by the man whose name is being removed from the birth certificate.

Can the name of a stepfather be added to a birth certificate using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?

No. The Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage cannot be used to add a stepfather to the birth certificate. This form can only be used when adding the biological father to the birth certificate.

Does a court order terminating the parental rights allow information to be removed from a birth certificate?

Information can be removed only if the court order specifically states that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father or if it specifically states that a person's name and information are to be removed from the birth record.

I adopted a child and would like to have the birth certificate changed to the new information. What do I need to do?

If an adoption has been granted for a child who was born in Texas, a completed Certificate of Adoption form (VS160) certified by the district clerk's office will need to be mailed to the Austin Vital Statistics Unit for filing.