Are Birth Records Public in Missouri?
No. Birth records are not open to the public in Missouri under 19 CSR 10-10. Certified copies of birth certificates are only provided to authorized individuals with a direct and tangible interest in a record. For example, the record holder, family members, legal representatives, and other authorized agents. These individuals can complete a Missouri birth certificate application at the Missouri Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jefferson City or a local vital statistics office.
What are Birth Records in Missouri?
Birth records document births and are essential parts of Missouri vital statistics. They serve as primary proofs of legal identities and are typically issued upon request as certified copies of birth certificates. In Missouri, certified copies of birth certificates exist in two forms, namely short-form birth certificates and long-form birth certificates.
The short-form of a copy of a birth certificate is also known as birth certification. Generally regarded as abstracts, it is a simple version of an original birth certificate, and it is issued for most birth record requests. A certified copy of Missouri birth certificate can be used for the following:
- Driver’s license application
- School registration
- Insurance proceeds claims
- Social security number application
- Death benefits payouts/claims
Officially called Certificates of Live Births, long-form copies of birth certificates are exact replicas of original birth certificates. They contain additional information about births, such as the birth time and parents’ occupations. Although rarely required, they may be preferred when short-form copies have undergone multiple alterations/amendments. They are also useful for genealogy purposes. A typical Missouri birth record contains the following information:
- Child’s name
- Child’s gender
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Full names of the parents
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Bureau of Vital Records manages and issues certified copies of birth certificates in the state. This official government organization also keeps records of other vital events like marriage, death, and divorce. Data regarding these vital events can be accessed from the DHSS Bureau of Vital Statistics or a local public health division. A record seeker can obtain a birth certificate (and other vital records like a divorce certificate, marriage certificate, or death certificate) online, by mail, or in person. Generally, online orders are processed through authorized online vendors.
According to the DHSS Bureau of Vital Statistics, 69,277 births were recorded in Missouri in 2020, which was a 4% decrease compared to the 72,103 births in 2019.
Where to Find Public Birth Records in Missouri
Birth records and all other vital statistics records in Missouri are provided only to specific parties, not the general public. However, certain official government organizations maintain older birth records that can be accessed by the public, namely:
Record seekers can find pre-1910 Missouri public birth records on the Missouri Digital Heritage's official website. Pre-1910 public birth records are also available through the Missouri State Archives Birth & Death Records Database. As an alternative, the State Archives allows record seekers to request birth certificates online or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Records from 1910 to the present are available at the DHSS Bureau of Vital Records office but are only offered to eligible persons.
How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Missouri
Although the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records issues certified copies of birth records to applicants, it does not directly process online requests. Eligible requesters can obtain birth records online using the services of state-approved third-party vital records vendors. Users must, however, know that these vendors are independent companies, and they charge additional fees to the DHSS approved search fees. The online vendors offer overnight delivery services for expedited requests. Generally, online orders of birth certificates can take up to 5 to 7 business days.
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 Missouri
The Missouri Bureau of Vital Records provides mail-in and in-person service for birth record requests. It processes applications for Missouri births that occurred from 1910 to date. Requesters can search the Missouri Birth and Death Records Database (Missouri State Archives) online for births recorded before 1910. In-person requests are the fastest way to obtain copies of birth records in Missouri because applicants can receive records on the same day.
Short-form copies of birth certificates can be obtained at any local health department or the State Vital Records Office in Jefferson City. The long-form copies, on the other hand, can only be obtained from the State Vital Records Office. Both forms are also available online through the services of state-approved third-party vital records providers.
An eligible requester can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate via mail application to their local health department or the DHSS Bureau of Vital Records. They should take the following steps to do so:
- Download and fill out the Application for Missouri Vital Record-Birth/Death form
- Attach proof of tangible interest or notarized statements (if applicable)
- Include the proof of payment of the required fee
Requesters can then mail their completed applications with self-addressed stamped envelopes to:
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Bureau of Vital Records
930 Wildwood Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65109
To obtain a birth record in person, a requester can visit the local health department (or local public health agency) in the county or city where the birth occurred. They can also go to the office of the Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City. A requester can complete an in-person Missouri birth certificate application by doing the following:
- Including documentary proof of direct tangible interest or notarized statement (if applicable)
- Providing a valid state-approved photo ID (or two supporting documentation as proof of identification if a picture identification card is unavailable)
- Enclosing payment proof with the application
- Submit a print-out of the filled Application for Missouri Vital Record - Birth/Death with the requirements above.
An individual can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate without using the Application for Missouri Vital Record - Birth/Death. Such an applicant may use a duly notarized written request and provide the following information:
- The full name of the person named on the birth record (Registrant)
- The registrant‘s date of birth
- The registrant’s place of birth
- Parents’ names (including the mother’s maiden name)
- Relationship with the registrant (for a requester other than the person named on the birth record)
- Reason for requesting the birth certificate
The notarized written request must be enclosed with proof of tangible interest or a signed notarized statement authorizing record release. A check or money order for the search fee must also be included and mailed with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Bureau of Vital Records. Note that walk-in services are only allowed at local public health agencies. Record seekers can enjoy expedited services when they complete in-person Missouri birth certificate applications at local health departments. On the other hand, an applicant must schedule an appointment to obtain birth certificates in person at the Bureau of Vital Records.
Where Can I Find Birth Records in Missouri?
The Missouri DHSS Bureau of Vital Records maintains records of Missouri births from 1910 to the present. They also issue certified copies of birth certificates to qualified persons upon request. Eligible requesters can use the mail-in or in-person options to request copies of birth records in Missouri. Other repositories of birth records in the state include:
- Local Health Departments
- St. Louis City Recorder’s Office
Local Health Departments
Local Health Departments, also known as Local Public Health Agencies (LPHAs), partner with the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records to provide Missouri vital records. They are authorized to issue birth records promptly and conveniently at the county and city level. LPHAs provide expedited services compared to the state vital records office. The Local Health Departments house local vital records offices and constitute part of the statewide system that registers, certifies, and reports births events. The Missouri Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City established this system in its bid to provide essential vital records service to state residents. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) provides a directory for the Local Health Departments on its official website. The address listed for the Bureau of Vital Records is:
Bureau of Vital Records
Jefferson City Vital Record Lobby
930 Wildwood Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65109
St. Louis City Recorder’s Office
The St. Louis City Health Department, unlike other local health departments, does not issue certified copies of birth certificates for births within the city. The residents of St. Louis City can, however, request birth certificates from the Recorder of Deeds Office at:
Recorder of Deeds Office
City Hall Room 126
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in Missouri
The hospitals in Missouri are not legal custodians of birth records, and as such, are not authorized to issue them.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Missouri?
Birth certificates in Missouri are not open records. Consequently, the members of the public are barred from accessing them. Access to a Missouri birth record is restricted to specific persons to protect the privacy of the person named on it. Per state law, only authorized individuals are considered eligible to request certified copies of Missouri birth certificates. A requester must also have a direct and tangible interest in a birth record, which must be supported by documentary proof. The following individuals qualify as eligible requesters of a birth record in Missouri:
- The person named on the certificate (Registrants)
- Immediate family members
- Legal representatives
- Authorized agents
- Legal guardians
- Foster parents
- Legally-recognized fathers
An immediate family member is anyone in the primary line of descent (within the direct family tree) up to but not including a cousin.
How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Missouri
A certified copy of a birth certificate in Missouri costs $15, so is the cost of each additional copy of the certificate. This fee also covers the charge of a five-year search of the requested record. Applicants whose requests require a further five-year search to find their records of interests will pay for a corresponding number of additional copies to perform the search. The acceptable forms of payments are personal checks and money orders. Checks and money orders are payable to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Requesters must include payment proof in their mail applications to the Bureau of Vital Records. Local health departments collect the fees paid for copies of birth certificate orders they fulfill. Third-party Vital records vendors also charge additional fees for processing Missouri birth certificate orders.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Missouri?
The request channel determines how long it takes an applicant to receive a requested birth certificate in Missouri. The standard duration taken to process mail-in and in-person requests is within two to four weeks. Requesters who make online and telephone birth certificate requests through third-party Vital records providers can have them processed within five to seven business days. Third-party online vendors equally offer expedited mailing services for online applications. Additionally, local public health departments process and fulfill walk-in requests for birth certificate requests on the same day of application. Requesters can confirm processing times or check their request status by calling the Bureau of Vital Records at (573) 751-6387.
How to Get a New Birth Certificate in Missouri
In Missouri, a person can get a new birth certificate from the Bureau of Vital Statistics after adoption and legitimation.
When individuals complete a domestic adoption process, the Bureau of Vital Statistics creates a new birth certificate in the adopted child's name upon request. Missouri residents (or their legal representatives) can also request new birth certificates for their foreign-born adopted children by submitting all necessary documents from the state vital records office. Alternatively, they can allow the court to forward the Certificate Decree of Adoption to the vital records office. In addition to the necessary documents, the adoptive parents must complete and submit a Request for Filing Birth Certificate as Result of Foreign Adoption form to the office before a new birth certificate can be established.
If the mother of a child born in Missouri marries the biological father after the birth, the Bureau of Vital Records can create a new birth certificate. However, both parents must submit the following:
- An official father's affidavit
- An official mother's affidavit
- An official copy of the marriage certificate or license
- $15.00 for a new birth certificate and $15 for processing
How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Missouri
Expungement of a record is the legal process for destroying such a document in a way that makes it seem like the event never occurred. Missouri expungement law describes expungement procedures. It articulates the conditions under which an individual may seek to expunge their record. Birth records do not qualify for expungement in Missouri State.
How to Seal Your Birth Records in Missouri
Missouri State law allows the automatic sealing of adopted children’s (adoptees’) birth records. Hence, a petition to seal adoption records is not required. The Missouri adoption records sealing process is handled by the courts where the adoption was finalized. In Missouri, sealed birth records are not open to the members of the public. Interested persons can only access them by court order. The need to protect the privacy of unwed birth mothers and adoptive parents from interference by birth parents are the reasons for sealing birth records.
How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Missouri
Unsealing an adoptee’s birth record in Missouri is the same as accessing and obtaining identifying information in the Missouri adoption record. Identifying information refers to details that could lead to the identification of birth parents’ identities. Generally, Missouri law prohibits adoptees from accessing their birth records. However, the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, which became effective on January 1, 2018, grants access to adoptees if:
- They are at least 18 years old
- They were born within the state
- They have filed requests and provided the state registrar with a suitable proof of identification.
After receiving requests, the state registrar issues uncertified copies of the adoptees’ original birth certificates to them. The Bureau of Vital Record prints “For genealogical purposes only - not to be used for establishing identity” on copies of birth records issued to adoptees. The fees and processing durations are the same for regular birth certificates.
However, a birth certificate will not be released to an adoptee if both birth parents have requested not to be reached. A contact preference form is filed by either an adoptee or birth parents to indicate whether they wish to be contacted or not. It is also used to request contact by an intermediary. If only one of the birth parents gave consent to be contacted, the other parent’s identifying information is redacted before issuing the birth certificate. Note that the direct descendant of a deceased adult adoptee can also request the adoptee’s original birth certificate.
This new law does not grant members of the public access to Missouri adoption records. An interested person must first obtain a court order to unseal a record of interest and then present it at the Bureau of Vital Records.
Who Signs Birth and Death Certificates in Missouri?
When a birth occurs at the hospital or en route in Missouri, the person in charge of the hospital signs and files the birth certificate within five days of the birth (§ 193.085, RSMo). If the birth occurs outside of the hospital, the following people can sign the birth certificate in order of priority:
- The physician
- Any other person around when the birth took place
- The father or the mother
- The individual in charge of the facility where the birth occurred
In contrast, when a person dies in Missouri, the physician in charge of the patient’s case will sign the death certificate 72 hours after death (§ 193.145, RSMo). If the physician is not on seat, the assistant physician, the chief medical officer, or the pathologist who performed an autopsy on the deceased can sign the death certificate. If the death occurred 36 hours after treatment by a physician, the case would be transferred to the county coroner, medical examiner, physician, or local registrar for investigation. If the cause of death is natural, the case will be transferred to the physician for signature. However, if the physician is unavailable, the medical examiner, coroner, or local registrar can sign the death certificate within 36 hours.