Frequently Asked Questions

How can I obtain a birth or death certificate from the Vital Records Registry for genealogical purposes?

The Louisiana Vital Records Registry is not able to accept requests for genealogical research. Birth and death records archived by the Vital Records Registry are confidential and are not public record.They may only be released in accordance with Louisiana law.

Birth records are archived by the Vital Records Registry for 100 years from the year of the event. Death records are archived by the Vital Records Registry for 50 years from the year of the event.

Orleans Parish Marriage records are public records and are archvied for 50 years from the year of the event.

Birth records over 100 years old, death records over 50 years old and Orleans Parish marriage records over 50 years old are public records and may be obtained from Louisiana State Archives at the Secretary of State's office.

How can I order vital records from other states?

If you would like to order vital records from another state, visit the Where to Write page on the National Center for Health Statistics website for more information.

Who may obtain a birth or death certificate?

If you are the person named on the document, parent of the person named on the document, adult child of the person named on the document, sibling of the person named on the document, grandparent of the person named on the document, adult grandchild of the person named on the document or an attorney for one of the above, you may obtain these documents.

Death certificates may also be released to the named beneficiary of an insurance policy or trust.

When another adult other than the mother or father listed on the certificate is requesting a record, they must present a judgment of custody for the child. Notarized custody papers or provisional custody mandates are not acceptable.

Why do I have to send a copy of my photo ID?

Birth certificates and death certificates are not open records. Birth records are confidential for 100 years. Death records are confidential for 50 years. An ID is required to prove your identity and to prove that you are a qualified applicant.

How do I obtain a certified copy of my marriage license if I did not purchase it in Orleans Parish?

Louisiana Vital Records Registry may only issue a certified copy of a marriage license purchased in Orleans Parish. If the marriage license was purchased in another parish, you must obtain a certified copy from the Clerk of Court office in that parish.

I need a certified copy of my divorce decree. How can I obtain this?

Louisiana Vital Records does not issue certified copies of divorce decrees. You must obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree from the Clerk of Court office in the parish where the divorce was granted.

What is the difference between a Short-Form Birth Certificate (Birth Card) and a Long-Form Birth Certificate?

Both certificates are legal certified copies of birth records and have a raised seal. However, some agencies or other governmental entities may not accept the birth card for certain purposes. It is recommended that you check with the agency or governmental entity prior to obtaining a birth card to verify that this document will be accepted.

Short-form birth certificates (birth cards) are $9.00 and include the name at birth, date of birth, parish of birth, father's initials, mother's last name and first initial, file date and issue date.

Long-form birth certificates are $15.00 and include the name at birth, date of birth, parish of birth, hospital of birth, mother's residence at time of birth, mother and father's full names, parent's place of birth, age of parents at the time of birth, file date and issue date.

 

How do I get a copy of a birth or death record if I am not an immediate family member or entitled to the record?

You may send in a written statement signed by an immediate family member listing the birth or death facts of the record you are obtaining. The statement must give permission to Louisiana Vital Records to release a certified copy of the certificate to you. The statement must also identify you by your full name, and you must present a photocopy of your picture ID with along with a photocopy of the immediate family member's picture ID.

How long after a birth occurs is it filed with Vital Records? When should I receive my child's complimentary birth certificate?

Most births are filed electronically; therefore, the birth certificate is available for issuance by the Louisiana Vital Records once the physician electronically certifies the birth record and, if applicable, the Acknowledgment of Paternity is mailed by the hospital and received by Vital Records.

A complimentary certified copy is provided to the parent(s) of newborns, free of charge, shortly after the birth record is registered. However, if you have not received your child's complimentary birth certificate within four months from the date of your child's birth, please call (504) 593-5100.

 

Where do I obtain my birth certificate if I was born abroad, with US citizenship?

You must contact the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. to proof of a U.S. Citizen Born Abroad.

Can a birth record or death record be faxed?

No. Vital records require the raised seal of the Vital Records Registry to be considered valid. Records are not to be faxed for any reason.

Can you find my birth certificate for free and tell me if it shows the correct name? Will I have to pay just to find out whether I have a birth certificate on file?

Louisiana Vital Records is not able to search records for no charge. Our fees for certified copies are considered search fees, even if the record is not on file with our office.

Can we obtain our license and also get married in the Orleans Parish Marriage Office?

You may only purchase your marriage license at the Orleans Parish Marriage Office. There are no officiants that can perform marriages at this office.

If I purchase my marriage license in Orleans Parish, can I get married in another parish? Can I get married in another state?

If you purchase your marriage license in Orleans Parish, that marriage license is valid in any parish inside the State of Louisiana.

Marriage licenses issued (purchased) in Louisiana may not be used for a marriage ceremony outside of the State of Louisiana.

Can a relative apply for my marriage license?

The bride and/or the groom is required to apply for a marriage license in person.