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How to Find a Birth Record in Florida?

What Are Birth Records in Florida?

Birth records in Florida have documented details of new births, (including stillbirths), in the state and they are compiled by the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The state began recording births in 1899 but it was not until 1920 that there was general compliance to recording births by Florida residents. Some of the information captured on a typical Florida birth certificate includes:

  • Name of the child
  • Child’s gender
  • Child’s date of birth
  • Father’s full name
  • Mother’s full name including maiden name

It is important to obtain birth certificates in Florida because they are needed to process other vital documents such as proof of citizenship, international passports, and driver’s licenses. Birth certificates are also necessary for school registration, social security registration, and several other legal purposes.

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Florida

Birth records for births not up to a hundred years are sealed documents in Florida. This makes it impossible for members of the public to look up birth records online. To access birth records, Florida citizens can only mail in requests or submit applications in person at offices made available by The Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and the Health Department. However, provisions have been made for citizens to order and obtain birth records online from private companies authorized by the Bureau. The confidential nature of birth records allows only the registrants, whose names are on the certificates, or members of their family to order these birth records online. Several unlicensed third-party websites also offer birth certificate request services. To avoid falling victims to scammers, requesters are advised to order birth records from verified vendors only.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

How to Get Birth Records in Florida

To obtain birth certificates in Florida, inquirers can choose to mail in requests or submit applications in person to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Florida Health Department also has stations in each county where interested Florida citizens can order and pick up birth certificates.

Obtaining birth records by mail or in person has certain advantages over ordering the certificates online through verified private companies. Requesters that submit applications in person can obtain their birth certificates on that same day. It also costs less to obtain birth records in person as extra fees charged by online service providers will be bypassed.

Florida issues two types of birth certificates:

  • A shorter computer-generated certificate, with only a little information on it.
  • A manually produced certificate that contains more information.

Inquirers that order birth records online only have access to computer-generated birth certificates.

The first step to ordering birth records in Florida is to download and complete the Application for a Florida Birth Record. Requesters are to submit the completed application forms in person or by mail to the Bureau or outlets provided by the local County Health Departments.

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics

Florida’s Bureau of Vital Statistics is the body tasked with collating, keeping, and issuing birth records in the state. Florida citizens can either mail in requests or submit applications in person to the Bureau.

Walk-In Requests

The completed Application for a Florida Birth Record form should be submitted at the Bureau’s office situated at:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
1217 North Pearl Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

The Bureau’s offices are open to requesters from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. For additional information, requesters are to contact the Bureau at (904) 359-6900.

Mail-In Requests

Interested Florida citizens can also request birth records by mail. Completed application forms are to be sent by mail to:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

Some requesters may demand immediate processing and production of requested birth certificates. Such requesters are to mark the envelopes containing their valid applications and accompanying documents with “RUSH”. The Bureau charges extra fees for such expedited actions.

Local County Health Departments

Florida’s Health Department has offices in every county in the state. Each County Health Department has a Vital Statistics Unit where interested members of the public can seek and obtain birth records. Requesters can forward requests or walk into any County Health Department and apply in person for birth certificates. For example, to order birth certificates from the Hillsborough County Health Department, requests should be forwarded to:

Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County
Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 5135
Tampa, FL 33675-5135

Some County Health Departments have additional outlets at Tax Offices where members of the public can obtain birth records. These outstations ensure county residents have multiple access to obtaining birth certificates.

Requesters that are unable to access the Application for a Florida Birth Record form can obtain birth records by submitting written requests. Such a request must include:

  • Information of the person named on the certificate disclosing the full name of the registrant, sex, date of birth, city or county of birth, and parents’ full names.
  • Information of the person requesting (if on behalf of another person) including full name, relationship to the person on the certificate, mailing address, full phone number, and signature.
  • The type of certificate requested
  • Applicant’s photo identification. This can be either a driver’s license, State Identification Card, or International Passport.

How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in Florida

Florida hospitals do not issue birth certificates. Florida statutes require physicians and midwives to forward details of new births to the local registrar within 48 hours. This makes most hospital records merely suitable for data entry purposes. However, requesters can approach their local County Health Departments to seek official birth records. Many County Health Departments have offices at hospitals. An example is the Hillsborough County Health Department that has a Vital Statistics Office at the St Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. The Hillsborough County Health Department has also made locations at certain Tax Collector Offices in the county available for inquirers to obtain birth certificates. Requesters can walk in or mail applications to these locations and obtain official birth records.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Florida?

In Florida, members of the public only have access to birth records that are over a hundred years. For births not up to a hundred years, only registrants whose names appear on the certificates can obtain birth certificates. These registrants also have to be of legal age (above 18 years old) before being granted access to the certificates. Where registrants are not up to the legal age, birth certificates are issued to parents, guardians, or representatives. The parents must be the same people listed on the birth certificates while guardians must provide guardianship papers. In situations where the parents or guardians are not available, they can send representatives to pick up birth certificates on their behalf. Requests for birth certificates to be picked up by representatives must be accompanied by supporting photo identification documents. These representatives are also expected to submit completed and duly signed Affidavit to Release Birth Certificate.

Births resulting in stillbirths are also entitled to birth certificates. These certificates are only eligible to those whose gestation has passed 20 weeks and has a record of fetal death after birth. Requesters can obtain birth certificates for stillbirths that occurred from 1947 up to the present time. Only parents, their legal representatives, or those authorized by the court may be issued birth certificates for stillbirths. Once issued, birth records for stillbirths become public records.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Florida?

The cost of obtaining birth certificates in Florida depends on the mode of inquiry.

Online Requests

Third-party websites providing birth records request services charge these fees:

  • $19 fee to cover the Bureau of Vital Statistics’ first computer-generated certification (This includes a $9 search fee and a $10 rush processing fee).
  • $7 fee covering identity verification and filing records requests with the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • $4 for each additional computer-generated copy issued.

Shipping birth certificates through regular mail attracts no extra charges. However, receiving birth certificates by UPS mail attracts an additional cost of $15.50 per transaction charged by the shipping company for destinations within the United States.

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics

The Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics has two categories of prices for the different formats of birth certificates issued.

For computer-generated certificates, the Bureau charges:

  • $9 for the first computer-generated certificates.
  • $4 for every additional copy.

For the manually produced certificates, the Bureau requires requesters to pay:

  • $14 for the first copy issued.
  • $4 for each additional copy.

When unsure about the particular year the birth certificates requested were issued, requesters are to give the issuing bodies a possible range of years to be searched. This search costs $2 per year searched.

Walk-in requesters that demand same-day delivery are charged an additional $10 rush order and they can make payments by cash, checks, money orders, and debit cards. Birth records requests sent by mail and marked with “RUSH” also come with a $10 expedite action fee added to the original cost of the orders. Orders sent by mails can only be paid for with checks or money orders made payable to Vital Statistics.

All fees are nonrefundable, except for fees initially paid to cover additional copies but the records were not found. These fees are refunded after applicants submit written requests.

Local County Health Departments

The fees charged by Health Departments in Florida counties for obtaining birth certificates vary.

For instance, the Orange County Health Department charges $15 for birth certificates requests submitted at their office located at:

807 West Church Street
Orlando, FL 32805

Additional copies of that same birth certificate attract a fee of $8 each.

However, at Tax Collector Offices, Orange County charges $21.25 for each certified copy while additional copies cost $8 each. It should be noted that only Orange County residents are served at the locations made available at the Tax Collector Offices.

Hillsborough County’s Health Department, on their part, charges $14 for the first computer-generated birth certificate while additional copies are priced at $9 each.

Birth certificates for stillbirths can only be ordered from the Bureau of Vital Statistics and the fees charged are:

  • $9 fee for one calendar year search and one birth certificate.
  • $4 charged for each additional copy issued.
  • $2 for each year searched when the exact year to be searched is unknown.

Commemorative birth certificates suitable for framing and preservation as a family heritage can also be ordered from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. After completing and submitting the application for commemorative certificate requests, requesters are billed $34 for the first commemorative copy produced. Additional commemorative certificates are priced at $25 each.

To amend errors on birth certificates, requesters are required to download and complete this amendment form. This form, alongside supporting documents to prove errors were made on the initial certificates, are to be submitted to the Bureau and a nonrefundable $20 fee is charged for one amended certified record.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Florida?

Online Requests

It usually takes less than a week to receive birth certificates ordered online. Requesters are notified of the exact date certificates will be delivered after completing the ordering process online.

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics

Usually, it takes between 3 - 5 business days to process and generate birth certificates at the Bureau for requests sent by mail. Shipping and delivery may take one or two extra days. However, walk-in applicants can have their birth certificates handed to them on the same day after paying the extra $10 rush order processing fee.

Local County Health Departments

At the Health Departments in different counties, birth certificate requests are processed almost immediately. Walk-in requests filed at the Hillsborough County Health Department are usually processed and produced on the same day at no extra cost. The Hillsborough County Health Department also processes applications received by fax before noon and delivers, also by fax, on the same day. To access this service, requesters must have paid the $10 expedite fee. Birth certificate orders received after noon will be delivered on the next business day. Requesters are to fax their applications to (813) 903-3370.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Florida

Florida statutes define expunction of a record as the court-ordered physical destruction of parts or all of a person’s criminal records. When records are sealed, members of the public are restricted from gaining access to the records while some government entities have unrestrained access to the sealed records. However, these government agencies also do not have access to expunged records. Expunging records benefits offenders greatly because previous criminal records will no longer hinder past offenders from gaining access to some opportunities.

Florida does not make provision for expunging birth records. Florida statutes describe several types of expungements all relating to criminal records with no reference to the possibility of expunging birth records.

How to Seal Your Birth Records in Florida

Birth records are automatically sealed in Florida. Only birth records that are over a hundred years are made public in the state. When under seal, members of the public are restricted from gaining access to the birth records. Access to a sealed birth record is limited to adults whose names appear on the birth certificates. Persons below the age of 18 do not have access to birth certificates even if their names are on those certificates. Parents and guardians can obtain birth records on behalf of minors under their care. When unavailable, guardians and parents can send representatives to obtain birth records. These representatives must submit completed and signed affidavits alongside their birth record requests. Photo IDs of these representatives are also required to confirm the identities of the requesters.

Adoption records, including court proceedings, are also sealed in Florida.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Florida

Upon the completion of adoption processes in Florida, all the records concerning the adoptions are sealed. The records sealed include the original birth certificates, with adoptees issued new birth certificates. These new certificates will bear the same file numbers as the original copies but the names of the adoptive parents will replace that of the birth parents. There will also be no indication that the certificates belong to adopted children. The aim is to remove every stigma associated with adoption and ensure adoptees have a normal upbringing.

Up until 1977, adoptees had unrestricted access to obtain their sealed original birth certificates. However, amendments to Florida statutes led to adoptees requiring court orders before accessing and obtaining their sealed original birth certificates.

To unseal birth records, adoptees are to file petitions with the Clerk of the court in the county the adoptions took place. The Clerk sets the court action in progress and helps to get the case heard. If the court rules so, adoptees can then access and obtain their original birth certificates.