Houston Health Department
Birth and Death Certificates
You may also apply in person at 8000 North Stadium Drive.
Birth & Death (VITAL) RECORDS PROGRAMThe Houston Health Department Bureau of Vital Statistics maintains records of births, deaths, and fetal deaths that occur in the County of Harris. Bureau of Vital Statistics core functions include records retention, serving as a liaison to the state, funeral home relations and providing birth and death certificates to the general public. Birth records are available from 1882, death records from 1874, and fetal death records from 1906.
RestrictionsTexas law mandates that birth and death certificates are confidential records with restricted access.
Texas Public Information Act Section 552.115 (a)(1): Birth records are restricted until 75 years after the file date.
Texas Public Information Act Section 552.115 (a)(2): Death records are restricted until 25 years after the file date.
EligibilityDuring the restricted access period, birth and death records can only be issued to qualified applicants.
Application to apply for a birth or death record (PDF)
- Defined as: the registrant
- Member of his or her immediate family either by blood or marriage
- His or her guardian
- Legal representative or agent.
Types of Birth CertificatesA birth certificate is required for enrolling in school, signing your child up for their first youth sports league team, obtaining their social security number, and even if they begin to prepare registering for marriage.
There are four types or birth certificates, although the Long Form version or Standard size can satisfy most of your needs. Read below to understand which you may need to order, no matter what the circumstance:
- Standard size (short form or abstract):This certificate is the most commonly used, as it will be accepted when registering a child for school or in a youth sports league, and also when you are applying for a drivers license.
- Full size (long form):This certificate is most often used to obtain a passport, apply for dual citizenship, Indian Registry and immigration.
- Heirloom birth certificate:A specially-designed certificate with an engraved intaglio border, heirloom-quality paper, background security features, and a gold embossed seal. State law prevents issuance of this certificate to persons whose births were established by court order or delayed record procedures.
FAQsFind out more information on obtaining a certain vital records from Texas.gov.
PassportsAll person seeking birth certificates to apply for a passport must obtain a long form birth certificate and then apply at one of the following Houston Passport Acceptance locations. For information on how to apply for a passport visit the U.S. Passport Service Guide. Birth abstracts can be used for most purposes except for genealogy, immigration and passports.
Complete a copy of the appropriate application:
**Remember to bring Approved Valid Identification / Recuerda traer Aprobado Identificación VálidaFurther information on Qualified Applicants may be found here.
- Death Certificate Mail Order Process/Proceso de Correo para Acta de Defunción
- Notarized Proof of Identification Form (for mail in Death Certificate Processing)
The City of Houston Bureau of Vital Statistics no longer accepts mail-in orders for Birth Certificates.
For mail-in orders, please contact the State Office:
The Texas Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 12040
Austin, TX 78711-2040