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How to Find a Birth Record in Georgia?
What Are Birth Records in Georgia?
Birth records in Georgia are official recordings of birth events within the boundaries of the state. Georgia only started a statewide registration of birth in January 1919, but some counties and cities periodically recorded birth events before 1919. However, many of them were delayed birth registrations, most of which were documented by the counties' Probate Courts. Georgians need birth records for enrolling in school, tax purposes, obtaining health insurance, and applying for a driver's license. More importantly, a birth record establishes an individual's identity. A birth record is a vital record, and in Georgia is usually available three weeks after a child's birth.
A typical Georgia birth record contains the following information:
- Full name of the child
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Gender of the child
- Mother's maiden first and last names
- Mother’s marital status
- Names of parents
- Birth registration number, date of registration, and the place of registration
How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Georgia
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), in conjunction with the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), developed the Request Official Vital Event Records (ROVER) service. ROVER is an online platform that enables interested persons to request only certified copies of Georgia birth records. There are no known means of looking up birth records online in Georgia. It takes as little as five minutes to conclude Georgia birth records requests using ROVER. Requesters must provide copies of their valid photo IDs and pay the required fees by credit cards only. A requester's ID should be scanned and ready for upload before initiating an online request via ROVER. The State of Georgia also has some other approved third-party vital record vendors that process online birth record requests.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
How to Get Birth Records in Georgia
The Vital Records Office of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and County Vital Records Offices provide public access to birth records in the state. Persons interested in getting copies of Georgia birth records must provide complete and accurate information on the individuals named in the documents. They are also required to state their relationship with the records owner and the reasons for making such requests. Eligible persons may request Georgia birth records from January 1919 to the present at the State Office of Vital Records, while older records are available at the local county offices where the births occurred.
How to Get Georgia Birth Records in Person
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) provides a walk-in service for persons wanting to obtain copies of birth records. Requesters must provide their information, registrants' data, and their parents' details in their applications. A request for a birth record in person at the DPH must include the requester's valid identification, applicable fees, and a completed Request for Search of Birth Form (Form 3918). Interested parties can equally make in-person requests for birth records at the Vital Record Offices in all 159 counties in Georgia. Most in-person requests for birth records at these offices are fulfilled the same day.
How to Get Georgia Birth Records by Mail
All mail applications for birth records in Georgia must include the requesters' self-addressed stamped envelopes. The copies of requesters' valid photo IDs and proof of payment must also be enclosed with their applications via Form 3918 to avoid repudiation of such requests. All the local county Vital Records Offices, as well as the DPH, receive and process mail orders of birth records. However, an individual who wishes to obtain a copy of a birth record and applies by mail in Georgia must exercise patience. Getting birth records via mail usually takes longer than the other methods. Interested parties intending to mail their requests to county offices should call ahead and inquire about county-specific requirements.
Where Can I Find Birth Records in Georgia?
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is a statewide repository for all records of births that have taken place in Georgia since 1919. Likewise, the Vital Records Offices in all Georgia counties maintain records of births that occur within their borderlines and issue them upon requests. A county Vital Record Office in Georgia may either be a Probate Court or a Health Department. Interested persons can obtain some records of births that occurred prior to 1919 from the counties' Probate Courts. Requesters who have completed the appropriate forms and possess all required documents may apply for Georgia birth records in person or via mail at/to the following locations:
Georgia Department of Public Health
1680 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 303049
The State Vital Record Office provides walk-in service between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except on state holidays.
There was no official documentation of births before 1919 in Georgia. However, The Georgia Archives holds some birth records older than 1919. These include records for Clark County (1808-1852), Emmanuel County (1822-1863, for K-Z surnames only), and the City of Gainesville in Hall County (1865-1919). The records are widely scattered as microfilms and are not complete for these dates. Georgia Archives opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. Anyone interested in obtaining such documents may visit the Georgia Archives at:
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260
Phone: (678) 364-3710
How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in Georgia
The hospitals in Georgia do not issue copies of birth records. A hospital only gives out a confirmation of birth letter. The letter is usually mailed to a newborn's parents within five to seven days after discharge from the hospital following a birth event. All birth events in Georgia are registered with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Georgia?
In Georgia, birth records are generally presumed to be public records. However, access to birth certificates in the state is limited to only individuals or entities having direct or tangible interests to the persons named on the records. These are immediate relatives and their legal representatives. According to the 2010 Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. 31-10-26 (2010), an individual or entity eligible to request a birth certificate in Georgia include:
- The registrant (the owner of the certificate)
- The registrant's parents, whose names appear on the birth certificate
- Grandparents of the registrant
- The registrant's spouse
- A legal guardian to the registrant
- An attorney
- An adult sibling or child to the registrant
- Federal, State, and County agencies
The 2010 Georgia Code also spells out the specific documents that eligible requesters must provide to enable them to obtain copies of birth certificates. These are:
- The registrant must provide valid government-issued photo identification at the time of application.
- The registrant's parents must provide valid photo identifications.
- Grandparents must tender the proof of relationship with their grandchild whom they intend to obtain their birth certificate. The most preferred evidence is the birth certificate of the registrant's parents.
- The legal guardian of the person named on a birth certificate must a certified copy of the court order authorizing legal custodianship on such a registrant.
- The registrant's spouse must provide at the least a notarized permission letter from the spouse, a copy of their marriage certificate, and a copy of the registrant's photo identification bearing the spouse's signature.
- An attorney representing an immediate relative must provide the following:
- A signed and notarized note by the attorney on letterhead
- Supporting documentation enclosed with the fee
- Bar number showing who they represent and the purpose of the application
- In the case of adoption, a notarized release from the registrant's biological mother
- An adult sibling or child to the registrant must provide evidence of the relationship with the person named on the certificate and valid government-issued photo identification. The sibling's or child's birth certificate listing one of the same parents' names is good enough as proof of relationship.
- The state and county Vital Record Offices may reveal information in birth records to authorized representatives of government agencies at all levels in the conduct of their official assignments.
How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Georgia?
Generally, all orders for birth certificates in Georgia at the Vital Records Offices (state and counties) cost $25. The fee is non-refundable, and per Georgia law, a prepayment is required before providing a record or service. The $25 payment includes the search cost and a copy of a certified birth certificate. Records custodians typically issue not-on-file notes to requesters if they are unable to retrieve their records of interest. Requesting parties pay a $5 fee for each additional copy of birth records in the same order if required.
For online orders via ROVER, requesters pay $25 for search, $8 as a processing fee, and then $5 per additional copy of the requested certificates. Individuals who seek expedited processing and shipping will pay an extra $10 fee per order. The acceptable forms of payment include Money Order, Debit/Credit Cards, cash (for in-person requests), and Certified Check. Requesters must enclose payment evidence in their mail applications.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Georgia
The time it takes to process and get a birth certificate in Georgia largely depends on the application method. Most in-person requests are fulfilled and records provided to applicants the same day. It usually takes between eight to ten weeks to get a Georgia birth record if it is a mail request. For online requests using ROVER, requesters may obtain copies of birth certificates of their interests in a minimum of four weeks and a maximum of six. Interested persons may, however, request expedited shipping of online orders, which typically deliver Georgia birth certificates in about five business days.
How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Georgia
To expunge a record means to erase it completely. However, the State of Georgia does not provide for a birth records expungement at this time. Record expungement refers to the process by which a court gives an order to treat a record as it had never occurred and removing it from public access.
How to Seal Your Birth Records in Georgia
Sealing birth records involves making copies of the records unavailable. Georgia is one of the states in the United States with sealed adoption records. Every adoption comes with an original birth certificate and an amended birth certificate. An adoptee's amended certificate is usually given to their adoptive parents once an adoption is finalized. It bears the names of the adoptive parents. An original birth certificate typically includes, among other information, the names of an adoptee's biological parents. Besides the change of parents' names, all vital information in an original certificate is the same as those in an amended copy. Once an adoption process is concluded, the adoption record and the adoptee's original birth certificate are sealed by order of the court. Sealing a birth record helps to protect the privacy of an adoptee's biological and adoptive parents. The following outlines the steps to sealing birth records in Georgia:
- The court sends the adoption record to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and other relevant Vital Records Offices and orders them to seal it.
- The DPH issues a new certificate bearing the names of the adoptive parents. They will then place a seal on the adoptee's original birth certificate and the evidence of adoption.
- The DPH forwards the sealed record to the State Registrar.
How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Georgia
Persons who can access the information in a sealed Georgia birth record include an adult adoptee, adoptive parents, biological parents, and adult biological siblings. Also, an adoptee's child, if already deceased, may access the information in their parent's sealed birth record. Unsealing a birth record means getting access to the content of a previously sealed record. A sealed Georgia birth record contains both identifying and non-identifying information.
Identifying information in an adoption record leads to a clear identification of an adoptee, the biological parents, and other birth siblings. These include names, employment information, and addresses. Non-identifying information describes in detail an adoptee and birth relatives (parents and siblings). Physical description, age, race, medical history, adoptee's place and date of birth, and the reason for adoption are some non-identifying information in a sealed birth record.
In Georgia, adoptive parents can only access non-identifying information in a sealed birth record, especially those that will assist in the provision of medical treatment. An adoptee age 18 or older or an adoptive parent may write to obtain non-identifying information regarding the adoptee's birth parents. Similarly, an adult adoptee (age 18 or older) may request the release of identifying information in their sealed birth record in writing to the State Adoption Unit. The unit will make such information available to the adoptee if the biological parents have given their written consent to release their names. A sealed original birth certificate in Georgia can only be unsealed by order of the court or as provided by statute.