Who Can Obtain a Vital Record?
In the State of Missouri, vital records are not open to the general public. Copies of vital records are provided to specifically defined individuals or entities. This helps protect identities, prevent fraud, and preserve the integrity of vital records. State law only allows a certified copy of a vital record to be issued to a person with a direct and tangible interest in the record. The registrant, a member of his/her family, his/her guardian or one of their official representatives shall be considered to have a direct and tangible interest and may be issued a certified copy of a vital record such as a birth or death certificate.
- Immediate family members are qualified to receive copies of birth certificates. Immediate family members shall include those family members and in-laws in the direct line of descent up to, but not including cousins. All family members are qualified to receive copies of death certificates.
- Official representatives shall include an attorney, physician, funeral director, or other authorized agent acting in behalf of the registrant or his/her family. Funeral directors may act as an official representative to obtain copies of death records only.
- Others may demonstrate a direct and tangible interest when information is needed for determination or protection of personal or property rights. (An example of direct and tangible interest would be if a car title needed to be changed over to a person buying the car and the owner is deceased. The buyer would be qualified to receive a copy of the owner’s death certificate.)
An authorized agent acting in behalf of the registrant or his/her immediate family who is qualified to receive the vital record must demonstrate a link between themselves and the person listed in the vital record that is qualified to authorize release of the record. (An example would be an attorney that has documentation indicating they represent the immediate family member.)
Authorized agents include:
- An attorney
- A physician
- Genealogists (This refers to a person that is not a professional company but is doing research of their own family history or offers to assist a friend in researching the friend’s family history.)
- Professionally recognized genealogists are qualified to receive copies of death certificates. (This refers to a recognized professional company that can be verified if necessary).
- A guardian may receive a copy of a birth record but must show guardianship papers.
- Foster parents may receive a copy of a birth record of a child upon furnishing a copy of their custody papers.
- A stepparent may only receive copies of a legitimate birth record.
- An alleged father may receive a copy of a birth record if he is shown as the father on that child’s birth record. If the alleged father is not shown on that child’s birth record, but has legal proof of custody (court papers, guardianship papers, notarized or certified power of attorney document from the mother or her legal representative that states he may receive copies on behalf of the mother) he would be qualified to receive copies of that child’s birth record. Family members of an alleged father may not receive copies a child’s birth certificate unless he is shown on that child’s birth certificate. In which case, they must be a member of the alleged father’s immediate family and must demonstrate a link to the alleged father.
- An other authorized agent shall produce a signed notarized statement by the registrant or a member of his/her family authorizing the release of the record. (An example would be that a mother may write a signed notarized statement authorizing a neighbor to request and receive a record for her child if the mother is unable to make the request for herself.)
An applicant may apply to obtain a certified copy of a vital record in person, by mail, or online.
Documents Required to Obtain Certified Copies of Vital Records
Requesting certified copies in person
- Signed application or request
- One issued identity document that displays a name and photograph.
Two alternate forms of identification. At least two alternate forms of identification documents must be used if applicant does not have a picture identification card
See Alternate Forms of Identification Documents below.
Requesting certified copies by mail
- Signed application or request which must be notarized by a notary public.
- If applicable, tangible interest documents or signed notarized statement authorizing release.
Requesting certified copies online/by phone
The Bureau of Vital Records contracts with VitalChek to process vital record requests online or over the phone. VitalChek can verify an identity electronically online through public record data powered by LexisNexis.
Acceptable Documentation for Identification
Primary Documents (One document is required)
- A state issued driver’s license that includes a photograph, date of birth
- A state issued identification card that includes a photograph, date of birth
- A current U.S. military identification card that includes a photograph
- A U.S. passport with current photograph
- A current school identification card/document showing applicant’s name, photograph, and date of school year
- Work identification card that includes the applicant’s name, photograph, and company name
Alternate forms of Identification Documents (At least two alternate forms of identification documents must be used if applicant does not have a picture identification card when applying in person) Alternate documents must display name of applicant, may display date of birth, date of issuance (or year), must display institution, company or organization/agency name.
- Letter from government or social agencies
- School yearbook
- A W-2 form issued within last year in addition to a signed Social Security card (social security numbers must match)
- Social Security card or Social Security numident printout (print out of an applicant’s Social Security account of activities)
- Court certified adoption papers that includes adopted parent(s) name
- Official certified deeds or title to property
- Certificate of vehicle title or registration documents
- Proof of auto insurance
- Insurance policy (health, home, life, etc.)
- Medicaid/Medicare document or identification card
- A payroll stub that includes a Social Security number of applicant (cannot be handwritten stubs)
- Military discharge document (DD-214)
- Cancelled duplicate check (must show name, address, signature, and name of institution)
- Utility bills which shows name and address of applicant (water, gas, electric, telephone)
- Shelter name band (including name of shelter)
Special Identification Requirements
Other individuals qualified to receive a record such as a sibling, grandparent, grandchild, guardian, foster parent, aunt, uncle, may request a vital record for a qualified individual that does not have identification. The other qualified individual must show their identification. However, they must also be able to demonstrate a link to the person listed on the vital record. If the vital event occurred in Missouri the other qualified individual that makes the request may provide information to vital records staff to locate the record that would demonstrate the link. (An example would be siblings might have same parents.)
For additional information regarding vital record access, see the Missouri Code of State Regulations.