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Birth Certificates

Note: If you are applying for a copy of a vital record, you must submit a valid government, school or employer issued photo ID (or photocopy of one). When we receive applications without proper identification, we reject them automatically; we do not process them.


Note: If you are applying for a copy of a vital record, you must submit a valid government, school or employer issued photo ID (or photocopy of one). When we receive applications without proper identification, we reject them automatically; we do not process them.

There Are 4 Ways to Apply for a Birth Certificate

1. Walk-in

Average processing time is 30-45 minutes.

You will need to provide:

  • A completed application form
  • A $12 non-refundable standard searching fee
  • $3 for each additional copy
  • A valid government, school or employer issued photo ID.

Where to Go:

  • DHEC State Vital Records Office, Columbia – Issues long form birth certificates (required for travel) and short forms; initiates and completes corrections.
    • Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    • Telephone: (803) 898-3630
    • Address: 2600 Bull St., Columbia, SC 29201

2. Mail

Average processing time is 2-4 weeks.

You will need to send:

  • A completed application form
  • A $12 non-refundable standard searching fee (Add $3 for each additional copy)
  • A valid government, school or employer issued photo ID (photocopy of one). When we receive applications without proper identification, we reject them automatically; we do not process them.

Mail to:

DHEC Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC  29201

3. Phone

Orders through VitalChek,, Average processing time is 5-7 business days. Call 1-877-284-1008 (toll-free) to order a record.

You will need to provide:

  • A $17 non-refundable standard searching fee
  • A $9.50 additional charge to pay for the services of VitalChek
  • Shipping fees should you choose to have your record sent to you by UPS rather than regular U.S. mail.
  • VitalChek is not affiliated with the state of South Carolina. It is the only authorized vendor of this service.

4. Online orders through VitalChek,

Average processing time is 5-7 business days.

Visit VitalChek on the Web, 7 days a week, 24-hours-a-day. Only the person named on the birth certificate may order through VitalChek.

You will need to provide:

  • A $17 non-refundable standard searching fee
  • A $9.50 additional charge to pay for the services of VitalChek
  • Shipping fees should you choose to have your record sent to you by UPS rather than regular U.S. mail
  • Only person named on the birth certificate may order through VitalChek.

Who can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate?

You are entitled to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate if you are:

  • The person named on the certificate (if you are at least 18 years old),
  • The parent(s) named on the birth certificate, or
  • The legal guardian, or a legal representative of one of these.

Immediate family members and/or their respective legal representative may obtain a certified copy of a birth record if the registrant is deceased. An original, certified copy (no photocopies) of the registrant's death record must be submitted with the request. There are no exceptions.

What information is needed to apply for a birth certificate?

  • Full name of the person whose birth certificate is being requested
  • Full date of birth (month, day, year)
  • County of birth
  • Mother's full name before she married
  • Father's full name
  • Signature of the person requesting the birth certificate and their current mailing address
  • Relationship between the person named on the birth certificate and the person requesting the certified copy
  • The full name and complete mailing address of the person to whom the certificate is to be mailed
  • Area code and daytime telephone number of the person requesting the certificate.

What types of birth certifications are issued?

  1. A computer-generated long form (needed for travel)

    The computer-generated long form contains the:
    • State file number
    • Name of registrant
    • Date of birth
    • County of birth
    • Place of birth (city)
    • Father's name (if listed on the original birth certificate)
    • Father's place of birth
    • Mother's maiden name
    • Mother's place of birth
    • Date record filed, and
    • The date issued.
  • The computer-generated long form can be issued by the state office location – DHEC, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201 and by Regional Vital Records Offices (see map).
  1. A short form certification or birth card (this cannot be used for travel)

    The birth card is a wallet-size certification that contains the:
    • State file number
    • Name of the person whose certificate is being issued
    • Date of birth
    • Gender (sex)
    • County of birth, and
    • The date the birth was filed.

What type of birth certificate is needed for travel?

The only type of birth certificate acceptable for travel is a long form birth certificate.

How do I amend or change the information on a birth certificate (such as name corrections)?

The procedures and requirements depend upon the specific information to be changed and whether any previous changes have been made. Specific instructions can only be provided after a review of the birth/death record.

If you have requested a birth/death certificate in the past 12 months, you may return that to the office that issues certificates and notify us as to the specific change you would like to make. If you have not requested a birth/death certificate in the past 12 months, this would be the first step you need to take. Again, you should indicate the correction you wish to make. Staff will review the certificate on file and advise you.

How can I check on the status of a birth certificate request?

If you have not received any response to your request within 30 days of submission, you may call 803-898-3630 or e-mail us (saleebap@dhec.sc.gov) for an update.

How can I get a delayed birth record established?

A delayed birth record can be established if 3 different documents verifying the birth facts claimed are submitted. The documents that are submitted must be at least 10 years old and must show the place and the date the document was filed. Copies of document ARE NOT acceptable. Only original or certified copies will be accepted. One of the three documents must show the full name of the mother prior to any marriages and the full name of the father. Examples of records that usually verify this information are:

  1. Parent's marriage license
  2. Birth certificate of a brother or sister

One of the 3 documents must show the correct age or the full date of birth and the place of birth. Examples of record that usually verify this information are:

  1. School records
  2. Birth certificates of children born to the person whose record is being established.
  3. Voters' registration records
  4. Marriage record of person whose birth record is being established

One of the 3 documents must verify the full correct date of birth (month, day and year). Examples of documents that usually verify this information are:

  1. Drivers' license
  2. Insurance policies
  3. School records
  4. Medical Records
  5. Military records

Evidence Requirements for Establishing or Verifying Birth Facts

To be acceptable, records that are submitted MUST have been on file at least the required length of time, they must verify the facts claimed, they cannot contain alterations, and must be the original not a Xerox of the original and they must be submitted in either of the following forms:

  1. Documents with wrong information are not acceptable. The documents must contain the information you are claiming.
  2. Documents that are submitted MUST be the original or a certified Xerox copy from the record custodian.

How can I correct the date of birth on a birth certificate?

If the difference is less than 90 days, original or certified documentary evidence filed within 5 years of application for correction is required. If the difference is over 90 days, original documentary evidence filed within the first 7 years of life is required. A date of birth cannot be corrected to a date that is beyond the file date listed on the birth certificate nor can it be corrected to a date that is in conflict with a sibling.

Examples of documentary evidence include a certified 10-year driving record and certified school records. Staff will provide specific instructions after a review of the birth record and the requested correction.

The first step is to request a certified copy of your birth certificate and provide a note as to the date of birth you would like to have on your certificate. Staff will review the birth record and advise you specifically on whether the correction can be made as corrected and what evidence would be required. Once the evidence is provided, an affidavit of correction is prepared that must be signed by the registrant in the presence of a notary. There is also a $15 amendment fee.

You may submit this by mail or in person at a regional vital records office or the DHEC State Vital Records Office in Columbia. Mail requests generally take up-to 4 weeks for an initial response. The processing time for the correction will depend upon how soon the required evidence is provided and the returning of the affidavit. Please include a phone number.

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