New Law Increases Security for Birth and Death Certificates in Vermont

News Release

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2019

Media Contact:
Ben Truman
Vermont Department of Health
802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281

 

New Law Increases Security for Birth and Death Certificates in Vermont
Act 46 (2017) goes into effect July 1, 2019

BURLINGTON – A new vital records law that goes into effect July 1 will enhance the safety and security of certified birth and death certificates, better protect against misuse of these documents and reduce the potential for identity theft.

The law, which was passed by the Vermont legislature in 2017, also streamlines the process to create, store, issue and track birth and death certificates through a new electronic Statewide Vital Records System.

The new law specifies who can obtain a certified copy of a birth or death certificate, such as certain family members, or court-appointed parties or their legal representatives. People who request these documents must present valid identification and complete a brief, standardized application. The law does not change the procedure for requesting Vermont marriage, civil union, divorce or dissolution certificates.

“Many people may not realize that before this law went into effect, anyone could get a certified copy of anyone else’s birth or death certificate,” said Jessie Hammond, public health statistics chief at the Vermont Department of Health. “With these updated security measures, we are helping to protect Vermonters’ personal information.” 

People can search the new electronic system for an index of Vermont birth and death certificates dating back to January 1, 1909, and order certified copies online after entering valid identification information. They can also visit any town or city clerk’s office or the Health Department to request a certified copy or apply by mail. The fee for a certified copy is $10.

The Health Department’s oversight of the state’s vital records dates back to the recognition that such records – particularly death records – are an important tool for studying the location and spread of epidemics. Since 2000, the Vermont vital records system includes eight types of vital events: births, deaths, marriages, divorces, civil unions, dissolutions, fetal deaths and abortions.

Learn more at healthvermont.gov/stats/vital-records

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