Types of Certificates

There are a number of vital records available for your purchase in the state of Pennsylvania. Residents can order birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and even adoption records in different ways. As long as you are authorized to obtain the record in question, you can get all of the information you need easily.

How to Request a Vital Record

In the state of Pennsylvania, there is a variety of methods that you can use to obtain vital records like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and adoption records. It is simply up to the customer in question to decide which of the following is the most convenient option for them:

  • Order online: Customers can order their vital records through Vitalcheck, an authorized service provider of the PA Department of Health.
  • Order in person: Customers can visit one of six open public offices to request their desired vital record.
  • Order by mail: Applicants can send the applicable form to a public office.

Acceptable Identity and Eligibility Documents

In order to obtain a vital record in the state of Pennsylvania, one must be considered eligible by the Department of Health first. When it comes to birth certificates, only the following individuals can obtain access to the records:

  • The person named on the record, as long as they are at least 18
  • Spouse
  • Sibling/half-sibling
  • Parent/step-parent
  • Child/step-child
  • Grandchild/great grandchild
  • Grandparent/great grandparent
  • Legal representative
  • Power of Attorney (either for the person named on the record or an immediate family member)

On the other hand, death certificates have their own set of requirements. Only the following individuals are allowed to apply:

  • Immediate members of the deceased’s family
  • Extended family who can show their relationship to the deceased
  • Legal representative of the deceased’s estate
  • Power of Attorney

Additionally, all applicants for a vital record are required to provide a government-issued photo ID when applying. Copies are accepted for those who apply by mail. This identification must verify the name and current address of the applicant. Some acceptable examples include driving licenses and PA ID cards.

Birth Certificates

Birth certificates show the date, place and name of birth of residents in Pennsylvania. These documents can be used for a number of purposes, including for personal identification, passport applications, employment reasons and Social Security.

Marriage Certificates

Marriage certificates show the names of the two parties who got married and the date in which they were joined. This document is often used to verify a name change in various state settings, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Death Certificates

If you need to prove the death of someone close to you for inheritance or a similar reason, you may have to obtain a death certificate from the PA Department of Health. The Division of Vital Records has certificates that date back all the way to 1906, and they can be used for any of the following purposes:

  • For settling an estate
  • For the transfer of property
  • For Social Security
  • For insurance purposes
  • For pension or retirement
  • For stocks or bonds

Adoption Records

In the state of Pennsylvania, adoption records are confidential. These documents are withheld from inspection and examination unless a court order is given to find out the information. Furthermore, court orders for adoption records can only be obtained by an adoptee who is at least 18 years of age or the adoptive parents if the child is under this age. The court will then try to contact the natural parents (without revealing their identities) and ask their consent to release their identity. If the natural parents agree to this, their identities will be provided to the adoptive parents/adoptee in question.

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