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Questions and Answers About Vital Records

 
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.
Where is your office located? The Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of Vital Records is located at 222 Marketridge Dr., Ridgeland MS 39157. You can find driving directions online with Google Maps or a similar service.
What time does the Vital Records office open in the morning? The Vital Records Walk-in customer service counter is open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. We are closed for state holidays.
Can I get my birth or death certificate the same day at the walk-in customer service counter? Walk-in customers who complete an application and pay the fee will receive the birth certificate that day, unless a search is required. Death and marriage certificate applications are accepted at the counter and fee paid but the certified copy will be mailed to the customer within 7-10 business days.
Can I order a birth certificate by phone? To order by phone, please call 1-877-295-4229.
What is your website address to place an online order? Online orders can be processed with Vitalchek.com.
What Vital Records are available?

The MSDH Vital Records Department has records on file for births or deaths filed in Mississippi from November 1912 to the present. Marriage statistical records are on file from January 1, 1926. From July 1, 1938 to December 31, 1941, records were kept only by the Circuit Court Clerk in the county in which the marriage license was issued.

Vital Records does not maintain divorce records. A five-year search of the divorce index is available for January 1, 1926 to June 30, 1938, and for January 1, 1942 to present for a fee of $17. A five-year search is available to locate the county where the divorce was granted, the book, and the page number in the Chancery Clerk's office where it is recorded. The Chancery Clerk's office will need to be contacted directly in order to obtain a certified copy of the divorce decree.

Are the certificates certified? Yes, the certificates have a raised seal and are the long form certified by the Mississippi State Department of Health's Vital Records office and can be used to obtain a passport, driver's license, school registration, traveling, etc. Short form or abstract birth certificates are no longer issued by the office.
How much do vital records cost? Birth, death and marriage certificates are $17. Additional copies of the same record ordered at the same time are $6.
What kind of payments do you accept? Walk-in customers can pay with cash, check, money order or credit card when applying in person. Mail requests can be paid by personal check or money order. Do not send cash in the mail. For orders placed by telephone or online can be purchased with all major credit cards, including American Express, Discover, Visa, and MasterCard.
If you do not find my vital record, will I get a refund? Vital Record fees are nonrefundable even if no record is found. A refund will be given for any additional copies ordered fees at the time of initial order.
Who is eligible to receive a copy of the certificate?

A certified copy of a birth certificate can be issued only to a person with legitimate and tangible interest as defined by the Rules Governing the Registration and Certification of Vital Events.

Primarily this is:

  • Registrant (the child named on the record), if of legal age.
  • Parent(s) listed on the birth record, if the Vital records office has not been notified of termination of parental rights.
  • Spouse, sibling(s), or grandparent(s)/child(ren) of registrant
  • Legal Guardian; guardianship papers must be provided.
  • Legal representative of one of the above persons; proof of representation must be provided.
  • Licensed adoption agencies working within the statutory authority of §93-17-205.
  • Other person(s) by court order; certified copy of court order must be provided.

For Genealogy purposes: Genealogy must be stated as purpose for certificate. Relationship to applicant must be provided. Plain paper copies are issued for genealogy requests.

How do I get a copy of the record if I am not an immediate family member? You must prove direct and tangible interest in a record in order to be eligible to receive the certified copy. Documents that may assist in proving tangible interest may include i.e. joint property deeds and documents an insurance policy listing both the decedent and applicants name or pertinent court documents.
What if I was born in another state? How can I order a vital record from another state? Visit the National Center for Health Statistics website for information on requesting vital records from other states.
Why do I have to send my photo ID? Mississippi vital records are not open to the public. Access to birth, death, or marriage records is restricted to eligible applicants. A valid photo ID is required to prove your identity and to prove that you are an eligible applicant.
What is an acceptable form of Identification?
  • Photo Driver’s License
  • Photo State Issued ID
  • Employment ID
  • School, College or University ID
  • US Military ID
  • Tribal ID
  • Alien Registration/Permanent Resident Card
  • Temporary Resident Card
  • US Passport

Send a photocopy and not the original documents with your request.

What if I do not have a photo ID?

If you do not have a photo ID, an immediate family member may order your certificate for you using their photo ID as the applicant. Or you may include two forms of identification from the following list with your application.

  • Social Security Card
  • Utility Bill (showing address)
  • Medicaid Card
  • Snap/EBT card (showing address)
  • Work Identification
  • Veteran Universal Access ID Card

Send a photocopy and not the original documents with your request. Applications received without photo ID or acceptable alternatives cannot be processed and will be returned.

How long will it take to receive my certificate? Standard orders (USPS) are processed in 7-10 business days. Online and telephone orders have the option of expedited delivery through UPS and are processed in 3-5 business days. For details regarding delivery methods click here.
I want to make a genealogy request for a birth and death record. Can I do that? Birth and death certificates are not open records. Access to birth certificates is restricted to qualified applicants for 100 years from the date of birth. Access to death certificates is restricted for 50 years from the date of death. A valid photo ID is required to prove your identity and to prove that you are a qualified applicant.
Can you tell me if the certificate is available or will I have to submit the fee and the application to find out whether you even have my birth certificate on file? Vital Records cannot give you any information concerning a record by phone. Vital Record fees include a search fee and are required to search for a record. Fees are not refundable or negotiable, even if the record is not found or is identified incorrectly.
What do I do if I need a Vital Record to provide to a foreign government (an "apostille or certification")? Upon requesting a birth, death or marriage record, include a $5 check or money order made payable to MS Secretary of State. The Mississippi Secretary of State provides Apostilles and Authentications for foreign countries. In order to provide this service, documents must be notarized by a Mississippi Notary Public or bear the signature of a Mississippi Public official (a certified vital record). The cost is $5.00 per document. For further information regarding document preparation, contact the Notary Division at (601) 359-1615 or visit their website.
Can you tell me over the phone if my birth certificate shows the correct name before I order it? Vital Records cannot give you any information concerning a record by phone. If you believe your name is not spelled correctly on your birth certificate and you would like to correct it, contact the Amendments Unit for detailed instructions at 601-206-8200.
I sent in the correct spelling of my name on the application for my birth certificate. Why did it come back to me with the incorrect spelling on the certificate? The Office of Vital Records has on file birth, death and marriage certificates filed by hospitals, funeral homes and county circuit clerks. The original record on file is used to fill your request. These documents can be amended but not from your application for a certified copy. If a correction needs to be made to the record, there are established policies and procedures that must be followed. Contact the Amendments Unit for detailed instructions at 601-206-8200.
I want to remove my baby’s father from the birth certificate. Can I do that?

If the mother was not married at the time between conception and birth, the father can be removed from the birth certificate by the “Rescission of Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This form is used to rescind (cancel) the legal claim of paternity created by a previously completed Acknowledgement of Paternity. It must be completed and filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics within:

  • one year from the date of the last signature on the Acknowledgement of Paternity, or
  • one year from the date of a proceeding to establish child support for the child.

The Rescission of Acknowledgement of Paternity may be completed by either person (father or mother) who originally signed the Acknowledgement of Paternity.

How do I add my baby’s father to the birth certificate? If the mother was not married at any time between conception and birth and there is no father listed on the birth certificate, the addition can be made with an Acknowledge of Paternity. The form can be downloaded at this website, or you can obtain one by calling our Amendments Department at 601-206-8200. When the father is added to the birth certificate, the last name of the child becomes that of the father.
How do I make a minor correction to my name on my birth certificate? A minor correction, by error or omission, may be made by affidavit and documentation of the name to be used (first or middle name only), age or date of birth. The documentation must be over 5 years old. Please contact our Amendments Department for further information and necessary forms at 601-206-8200.
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Last reviewed on Apr 6, 2018
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U web@HealthyMS.com
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