of Vital Statistics (Birth and Death Certificates)
WHEN ARE BIRTH AND DEATH CERTIFICATES
submit birth certificate information to the Bureau of Vital
Statistics. This information is verified, given a file number,
registered and signed by the local Registrar. Generally, it
takes at least
90 daysafter a birth before the official Certificate of Birth
is available. Most Certificates of Death are available
45 days after death. Having the name of the funeral home
is helpful if we have to conduct a search, but it is not a necessity.
CERTIFICATES ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE
all births and deaths that have occurred within the City of
Houston since 1915 are on file. This includes some areas
within the city limits of Houston, but outside of Harris County.
In addition, some records of county births and deaths are available.
A limited number of death records between 1872-1915 and birth
records between 1892-1915 are available. Birth records
from 1900-1937 and 1969-1996 are available through our computer
system with some exceptions. Almost half of all records
from 1997 up to the present are available on our computer system.
Approximately one-third of the official birth records from 1938-1968
are available on the computer system. Death records prior
to 1976 are not available on the computer system at this time.
Bureau of Vital Statistics is working hard to make all certificates
available through the computer system in order to provide better
service. We appreciate your patience.
“Certification of Birth
Facts” is the only type of certificate available in the
local office for people born in the State of Texas, but not
in the City of Houston. These “Certification of Birth
Facts” are available for most people born in the state of Texas
since 1926. These certifications are considered legal
for most purposes but may not be accepted by the United States
Passport Office, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
Border Patrol or other government agencies. If you plan
to use a Certification of Birth Facts as an official document
you should first verify if it is acceptable for official use
by the agency/entity involved.
cannot process requests for out-of-state birth or death certificates.
Statistics records are exempt from the Texas Public Information
Act and are not considered public information.
ORDER TO OBTAIN A BIRTH OR DEATH CERTIFICATE, ALL APPLICANTS
MUST BE ABLE TO PROVIDE OFFICIAL PHOTO IDENTIFICATION.
Be prepared to provide a picture ID such as a current, valid:
driver’s license, state/city/county ID card, student ID, employment
badge or card, military ID, US Passport or other official photo
identification. If you do not have any type of photo identification
please contact the office for assistance.
OF A QUALIFIED APPLICANT
A qualified applicant is defined as the registrant,
or immediate family member either by blood or marriage, his
or her guardian, or his or her legal agent or representative.
Local, state and federal law enforcement or governmental agencies
and other persons may be designated as properly qualified applicants
by demonstrating a direct and tangible interest in the record
when the information in the record is necessary to implement
a statutory provision or to protect a personal legal property
right. Aunts, uncles and cousins are not considered
immediate family members.
person claiming to be a member of the immediate family or legal
guardian, but with a different last name must show legal documentation
of the relationship to the person named on the certificate
OR provide a letter of authorization from the person named
on the certificate or immediate family member of that person.
Photo identification (driver’s license, etc) of the applicant
and the person authorizing the applicant to obtain a certificate
the father’s name does not appear on a Certificate of Birth,
he or a member of the child’s immediate family must provide
legal documentation of his relationship to the child OR he must
provide a signed letter from the mother, authorizing him to
apply for and receive the certificate.
seeking a certificate for legal reasons must provide documentary
proof of the legal need. For example, a person needing
a copy of a death certificate for insurance purposes should
bring a copy of the policy naming them as beneficiary.
and those representing legal firms, insurance companies, financial
institutions, etc. shall provide a letter on the firm’s letterhead
stating the exact legal need for the certificate, as well as
the documentation mentioned above. Private investigators
and document servers must provide a signed letter of authorization
from an immediate family member. If representing a firm,
the applicant must bring all of the above documentation as well
as a signed letter of authorization from the firm to act as
photo identification of all applicants and others involved in
the application request is required. The Bureau of Vital
Statistics reserves the right to verify all letters of authorization
and documents furnished by the person applying for the certificate.
To falsely obtain, use or alter another person’s Certificate
of Birth or Death is a third degree felony with a fine of up
to $10,000.00 and 2 to 10 years in prison (HSC195).
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