Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 7. Vital Records
3/4/2021

Article 7. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 32.1-270. State Registrar may reproduce records; disposition of documents from which permanent reproductions made.

To preserve original documents, the State Registrar is authorized to prepare typewritten, photographic, electronic, or other reproductions of original vital records in his custody. Such reproductions when certified by him shall be accepted as the original records.

The documents from which permanent reproductions have been made and verified may be disposed of as provided by regulation.

Any vital record issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles shall be on security paper provided by the State Registrar and shall be considered a certified vital record and accepted as the original record.

Code 1950, § 32-353.25; 1960, c. 451; 1979, c. 711; 1983, c. 240; 2013, c. 534.

§ 32.1-271. Disclosure of information in records; when unlawful; when permitted; proceeding to compel disclosure; when certain records made public.

A. To protect the integrity of vital records and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the system of vital records, it is unlawful, notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 2.2-3700 through 2.2-3714, for any person to permit inspection of or to disclose information contained in vital records or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such vital records except as authorized by this section or regulation of the Board or when so ordered by a court of the Commonwealth.

B. Data contained in vital records may be disclosed for valid and substantial research purposes in accordance with the regulations of the Board.

C. Any person aggrieved by a decision of a county or city registrar may appeal to the State Registrar. If the State Registrar denies disclosure of information or inspection of or copying of vital records, such person may petition the court of the county or city in which he resides if he resides in the Commonwealth or in which the recorded event occurred or the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Division I, for an order compelling disclosure, inspection or copying of such vital record. The State Registrar or his authorized representative may appear and testify in such proceeding.

D. When 100 years have elapsed after the date of birth, or 25 years have elapsed after the date of death, marriage, divorce, or annulment the records of these events in the custody of the State Registrar shall, unless precluded from release by statute or court order, or at law-enforcement request, become public information and be made available in accordance with regulations that shall provide for the continued safekeeping of the records. All records that are public information on July 1, 1983, shall continue to be public information. Original records in the custody of the State Registrar that become public information shall be turned over to the Library of Virginia for safekeeping and for public access consistent with other state archival records, subject to the State Registrar and the Library of Virginia entering into a memorandum of understanding to arrange for continued prompt access by the State Registrar to original records for purposes of amendments to those records or other working purposes. The State Registrar's office may retain copies thereof for its own administrative and disclosure purposes.

E. The State Registrar or the city or county registrar shall disclose data about or issue a certified copy of a birth certificate of a child to the grandparent of the child upon the written request of the grandparent when the grandparent has demonstrated to the State Registrar evidence of need, as prescribed by Board regulation, for the data or birth certificate.

F. The State Registrar or the city or county registrar shall issue a certified copy of a death certificate to the grandchild or great-grandchild of a decedent in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Board in regulation.

G. The State Registrar or the city or county registrar shall disclose data about or issue a certified copy of a death certificate to a nonprofit organ, eye or tissue procurement organization that is a member of the Virginia Transplant Council for the purpose of determining the suitability of organs, eyes and tissues for donation, as prescribed by the Board in regulations. Such regulations shall ensure that the information disclosed includes the cause of death and any other medical information necessary to determine the suitability of the organs, eyes, and tissues for donation.

H. The State Registrar shall seek to enter into a long-term contract with a private company experienced in maintaining genealogical research databases to create, maintain, and update such an online index at no direct cost to the Commonwealth, in exchange for allowing the private company to also provide such index to its subscribers and customers. The online index shall be designed and constructed to have the capability of allowing birth, marriage, divorce, and death entries on the index to be linked to a digital image of the underlying original birth, marriage, divorce, or death record once any such underlying record has become public information, and the index shall be designed to allow the Library of Virginia to create and activate such links to digital images of the original records. Any social security numbers appearing on original birth, marriage, divorce, or death records shall be redacted from the digital images provided to the public in the manner provided by law, which may include bulk redaction of social security fields from the images via automated methods.

Following contract implementation, the State Registrar shall maintain a publicly available online vital records index or indexes, consisting at a minimum of name, date, and county or city of occurrence for births (naming the child), marriages (naming the spouses), divorces (naming the parties to the divorce), and deaths (naming the decedent), which vital records index information, except as otherwise precluded from release by statute, court order, or law-enforcement request, shall be public information from the time of its receipt by the State Registrar and shall be accessible on the State Registrar's website and on or through the Library of Virginia website.

Code 1950, § 32-353.26; 1960, c. 451; 1979, c. 711; 1983, c. 240; 1984, c. 189; 1985, c. 313; 2005, c. 60; 2009, c. 505; 2011, c. 109; 2012, cc. 16, 356; 2020, c. 900.

§ 32.1-272. Certified copies of vital records; other copies.

A. In accordance with § 32.1-271 and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto, the State Registrar or a district health department shall, upon receipt of a written request, issue a certified copy of any vital record in the custody of the State Registrar or of a part thereof.

The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles shall be authorized to issue a certified copy of a birth, death, marriage, or divorce vital record, or a part thereof, in the custody of the State Registrar.

Such vital records in the State Registrar's custody may be in the form of originals, photoprocessed reproductions or data filed by electronic means.

Each copy issued shall show the date of registration. Any copy issued from a record marked "delayed" or "amended," except a record amended pursuant to subsection F of this section or subsection D of § 32.1-269, shall be similarly marked and show the effective date.

Certified copies may be issued by county and city registrars only while the original record is in their possession, except that at the option of the county or city registrar true and complete copies of death certificates may be retained and certified copies of such records may be issued by the county or city registrar.

B. A certified copy of a vital record or any part thereof issued in accordance with subsection A shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated, provided that the evidentiary value of a vital record filed more than one year after the event or a vital record which has been amended shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence.

C. The federal agency responsible for national vital statistics may be furnished such copies or other data from the system of vital records as it may require for national statistics if such federal agency shares in the cost of collecting, processing and transmitting such data. Such data may be used for research and medical investigations of public health importance. No other use of such data shall be made by the federal agency unless authorized by the State Registrar.

D. Other federal, state and local, public or private agencies or persons in the conduct of their official duties may, upon request and payment of a reasonable fee, be furnished copies or other data from the system of vital records for statistical or administrative purposes upon such terms or conditions as may be prescribed by the Board. Such copies or other data shall not be used for purposes other than those for which they were requested unless so authorized by the State Registrar.

In promulgating regulations relating to the terms or conditions for public or private agencies or persons obtaining copies of death certificates in the conduct of their official duties, the Board shall include within its definition of "legal representative" (i) any attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia, upon presentation of his bar number and evidence of need to obtain such copy; and (ii) any funeral director or funeral service licensee licensed to practice by the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, upon presentation of evidence to so practice and evidence of being in charge of final disposition of the registrant's dead human remains or cremains or evidence of need to obtain such copy.

E. No person shall prepare or issue any certificate which purports to be an original or certified copy of a vital record except as authorized in this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder.

F. Certified copies of birth records filed before July 1, 1960, containing statements of racial designation on the reverse thereof shall be issued without such statement as a part of the certification; nor for this purpose solely shall such certification be marked "amended."

Any American Indian or Native American whose certified copy of a birth record filed before July 1, 1960, contains a racial designation that is incorrect may obtain, without paying a fee, one certified copy of his birth record from which such incorrect racial designation has been removed. Such certification shall not be marked "amended" solely for this reason.

G. With the increased fees to be charged for vital records and the additional deposits to the Vital Statistics Automation Fund, the Board of Health shall establish, within the district health departments, a statewide system for decentralizing certification of vital records, when such records are prepared or issued from data in the custody of the State Registrar and the Board of Health. Such system shall include the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to the authorization in subsection A.

Code 1950, § 32-353.27; 1950, pp. 484, 485; 1954, c. 429; 1956, c. 412; 1958, c. 296; 1960, c. 451; 1966, c. 353; 1972, c. 500; 1979, c. 711; 1983, c. 240; 1994, c. 373; 1997, c. 470; 1999, c. 600; 2005, c. 448; 2013, c. 534.

§ 32.1-273. Fees for certified copies, searches of files, etc.; disposition.

A. The Board shall prescribe the fee, not to exceed $12, for a certified copy of a vital record or for a search of the files or records when no copy is made and may establish a reasonable fee schedule related to its cost for information or other data provided for research, statistical or administrative purposes. Whenever any veteran or his survivor requires a certified copy of a vital record to obtain service-connected benefits, one copy of such record shall be provided directly to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs upon their request and one copy shall be provided to the veteran or his surviving spouse, upon request. Upon request of the surviving spouse of a veteran, the funeral director or funeral service licensee providing funeral services for the veteran may obtain one certified copy of the death certificate for service-connected benefits. No charge shall be imposed upon a veteran or his survivor for a copy related to obtaining service-connected benefits.

B. Fees collected under this section by the State Registrar shall be transmitted to the Comptroller for deposit. Two dollars of each fee collected by the State Registrar shall be deposited by the Comptroller into the Vital Statistics Automation Fund established pursuant to § 32.1-273.1 for so long as shall be authorized. Ten dollars of each fee shall be credited to a special fund to be appropriated by the General Assembly, as it deems necessary, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter. When the Vital Statistics Automation System is completed, no further deposits into the fund shall be made and all fees collected under this section not credited to the special fund created by this subsection shall be deposited into the general fund of the state treasury.

C. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall collect a fee of $12 for each certified copy of a vital record that it issues and shall transmit all such fees to the State Registrar on a monthly basis to ensure that the State Registrar recovers all costs associated with the issuance of certified copies of vital records at Department of Motor Vehicles facilities. In addition, for each certified copy of a vital record that it issues, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall collect a processing fee of $2 as provided in § 46.2-205.2.

D. Fees collected under this section by county and city registrars shall be deposited in the general fund of the county or city except that counties or cities operating health departments pursuant to the provisions of § 32.1-31 shall forward all such fees to the Department for deposit in the cooperative local health services fund.

E. Fees assessed against local departments of social services for furnished copies of vital records as needed to administer public assistance and social services programs, as defined in § 63.2-100, shall be payable on a quarterly basis.

Code 1950, § 32-353.28; 1950, p. 484; 1954, c. 429; 1956, c. 412; 1958, c. 296; 1960, c. 451; 1978, c. 308; 1979, c. 711; 1981, c. 527; 1983, c. 240; 1986, c. 194; 1988, c. 287; 1994, c. 373; 2002, c. 747; 2011, cc. 94, 148; 2013, c. 534; 2020, c. 360.

§ 32.1-273.1. Virginia Vital Statistics Automation Fund.

For the purpose of fully automating the system of vital records provided for in this chapter, including the statewide system for decentralizing certification of vital records, there is hereby established the Virginia Vital Statistics Automation Fund.

Four dollars of each fee collected by the State Registrar shall be deposited by the Comptroller to this fund to be appropriated for this purpose to the Department of Health by the General Assembly as it deems necessary.

Deposits to this fund shall cease at such time as the system of vital records for Virginia has become fully automated and the fund shall expire. Any funds unexpended at expiration shall revert to the general fund.

1983, c. 235; 1994, c. 373.

§ 32.1-274. Persons in charge of institutions and funeral directors, etc., to keep records; lists sent to State Registrar.

A. Every person in charge of an institution shall keep a record of personal data concerning each person admitted or confined to such institution. This record shall include such information as required for the certificates of birth, death, and reports of spontaneous fetal death and induced termination of pregnancy required by this chapter. The record shall be made at the time of admission from information provided by the person being admitted or confined, but when it cannot be so obtained, the information shall be obtained from relatives or other persons acquainted with the facts. The name and address of the person providing the information shall be a part of the record.

B. When a dead human body is released or disposed of by an institution, the person in charge of the institution shall keep a record showing the name of the deceased, date of death, the name and address of the person to whom the body is released and the date of removal from the institution, or, if final disposal is by the institution, the date, place, and manner of disposition.

C. A funeral director, embalmer, or other person who removes from the place of death or transports or is in charge of final disposition of a dead body or fetus, in addition to filing any certificate, report or form required by this chapter, shall keep a record which shall identify the body, and such information pertaining to his receipt, removal, and delivery of such body as may be prescribed in regulations adopted by the Board.

D. Not later than the tenth day of the month following the month of occurrence, the administrator of each institution shall cause to be sent to the State Registrar a list showing thereon all births, deaths, and fetal deaths occurring in such institution during the preceding month. Such lists shall be on forms provided by the State Registrar.

E. Not later than the tenth day of the month following the month of occurrence, each funeral director shall send to the State Registrar a list showing thereon all caskets furnished, bodies prepared for disposition and transportation and funerals performed where no casket was furnished by the funeral director during the preceding month. Such lists shall be on forms provided by the State Registrar.

F. Records maintained under this section shall be retained for a period of not less than ten years and shall be made available for inspection by the State Registrar or his representative upon demand.

Code 1950, § 32-353.29; 1960, c. 451; 1979, c. 711; 1983, c. 240.

§ 32.1-275. Information as to births, deaths, marriages and divorces to be furnished on demand.

It shall be the duty of any person to furnish such information as he may possess regarding any birth, death, fetal death, marriage or divorce, upon demand of the State Registrar in person, by mail, or through the county, city, or special registrar.

Code 1950, § 32-353.30; 1960, c. 451; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-275.1. Matching of birth and death certificates; marking of certificates and copies.

To protect the integrity of vital records and prevent the fraudulent use of birth certificates of deceased persons, the State Registrar is hereby authorized to match birth and death certificates, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board, to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the fact of death, and to post the facts of death to the appropriate birth certificate. Copies issued from birth certificates marked deceased shall be similarly marked.

1983, c. 240.

§ 32.1-275.2. Notation on birth records of missing children.

Upon receiving a report of the disappearance of any child born in this Commonwealth, the State Registrar shall indicate in a clear and conspicuous manner in the child's birth record that the child has been reported as missing, including the title and location of the law-enforcement agency providing the report. Upon receiving a request for any birth records containing a report of the disappearance of any child, the State Registrar shall immediately notify the local law-enforcement agency which provided the missing child report to the State Registrar. The State Registrar shall transmit any relevant information concerning the applicant's identity, address, and other pertinent data immediately to the relevant local law-enforcement agency. The State Registrar shall retain the original written request until notified of the missing child's recovery or the child attains the age of eighteen. Upon notification that any missing child has been recovered, the State Registrar shall remove the report of the disappearance from the child's birth record.

1990, c. 295.

§ 32.1-276. Penalty imposed for violations.

Any person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a Class 4 felony:

1. Who willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in a report, record, or certificate required to be filed under this chapter, or in an application for an amendment, certification or verification of any such report, record or certificate, or who willfully and knowingly supplies false information intending that such information be used in the preparation of any such report, record, or certificate, or amendment thereof; or

2. Who without lawful authority and with the intent to deceive, makes, counterfeits, alters, amends, or mutilates any report, record, or certificate required to be filed under this chapter or a certified copy of such report, record, or certificate; or

3. [Repealed.]

4. Who willfully and knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, sells, furnishes or attempts to obtain, possess, use, sell, or furnish to another, for any purpose of deception, any certificate, record or report required by this chapter or certified copy thereof made, counterfeited, altered, amended, or mutilated or which is false in whole or part or which relates to the birth of another person whether living or deceased without lawful authority; or

5. [Repealed.]

6. Who is an employee of the State Registrar, the Department of Health, or the Department of Motor Vehicles while engaged in activities pertaining to the operation of the system of vital records who, without lawful authority, willfully and knowingly furnishes or possesses any certificate, report, record, or certification thereof, with the knowledge or intention that it be used for the purposes of deception; or

7. Who, without lawful authority, possesses any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or a copy or certification of such certificate, record, or report knowing same to have been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

Code 1950, § 32-353.31; 1960, c. 451; 1979, c. 711; 1983, c. 240; 2013, c. 534.