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How to Find a Birth Record in Delaware?

What Are Birth Records in Delaware?

Delaware birth records are official documents prepared by the state’s Division of Public Health to record births that occur within the borders of the state. Birth records in Delaware are vital records provided by the relevant state agency and given to eligible individuals upon request. In Delaware, residents can request these records from the Office of Vital Statistics in the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services.

The birth records issued in Delaware are birth certificates. A Delaware birth certificate contains the following details:

  • Registrant’s or child’s name
  • Registrant’s gender
  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Type of birth
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name including maiden name
  • Mother’s marital status
  • Birth registration number

Birth records are important for a number of reasons. They are required for establishing identity and nationality. A Delaware birth certificate spells out a child’s legal names and confirms that they are a citizen of the United States. This document is required when generating the registrant’s social security number and when preparing a travel passport.

Delaware birth certificates also have legal power. They can be used to establish familial links to relations in the court of law. Cases involving estate division, guardianship, and parentage may require birth records to settle disputes. Furthermore, insurance companies may require birth certificates from those laying claims to the benefits of others.

Delaware also records every birth in the state to be able to accurately measure its population growth. The state needs population trends in order to allocate its resources. Health initiatives are examples of government programs that rely on data from vital records such as birth certificates. Researchers can also use these records to conduct genealogical studies. Medical researchers can also use these records to see emerging trends in infant health and birth rates.

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Delaware

Delaware does not provide online access to birth records. It makes no provisions for looking up the records of births that occur in the state. This is in line with its policy of making birth records confidential. Registrants and eligible individuals cannot look up their birth records online in Delaware. However, they may request for these records online.

The Office of Vital Statistics in Delaware does not accept online orders for birth certificates. However, it partners with two third-party record providers for processing requests for birth certificates submitted online. Its online Birth Record order page redirects to these providers. Note that these third-party providers charge additional fees besides the copy fees required by the Delaware Division of Public Health.

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 Delaware

There are three ways to get birth records in Delaware. These are:

  • Online
  • By mail
  • In person

To order copies of a birth certificate online, visit the websites of the third-party providers approved for processing vital records by the Office of Vital Records.

Those who elect to order certified copies of Delaware birth certificates in person can do so at any of the three locations of the Office of Vital Records. They may visit these offices to complete the request form or bring written requests to the Dover location of the Delaware Office of Vital Records in Kent County. Requesters are encouraged to visit the locations nearest to them and to call ahead to make appointments. Call:

  • (302) 744-4549 for the Dover office in Kent County
  • (302) 283-7130 for the Newark office in New Castle County
  • (302) 856-5495 for the Georgetown office in Sussex County

Note that the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics has recently stopped accepting walk-in requests for birth records. This is to ensure the health and safety of employees and requesters during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this restriction is in place, the agency encourages requesters to order for Delaware birth records online or by mail.

To request certified copies of a Delaware birth record by mail, start by downloading, printing, and completing the Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Birth Certificate. Enclose a copy of a valid official photo identification. This can be a driver’s license, passport, State ID, or Work ID. Children applying for their birth records must include their parents’ IDs. Send the completed application, ID, and fee for the number of copies requested to any of the three locations of the Delaware Office of Vital Records.

Adoptees requesting certified copies of their original birth certificates can also order these in person, online, and by mail. The procedures and documents required for such requests are the same as for regular birth certificates. However, an adoptee requesting their original birth certificate must complete and submit the Adoptees Application for a Certified Copy of Original Birth Certificate form.

The Delaware Public Archives maintains birth records issued in the state up to 1947. These are open to the general public. To request such records in person, visit the Archives. A requester can also call the Archives or submit an enquiry using the Contact Form provided. Make sure to select Birth Records from the category drop-down menu. Alternatively, members of the public can request archived birth records by sending request emails to archives@delaware.gov. The Archives also accepts mail requests.

Where Can I Find Birth Records in Delaware?

The Office of Vital Records is the only agency authorized to provide recent birth records in Delaware. It maintains all birth records generated in the state from 1948 to the present. To obtain certified copies of birth certificates, applicants must visit or mail their requests to the offices of this agency. The are three locations of the Office of Vital Records in Delaware and these are located at:

Jesse S. Cooper Building
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Chopin Building
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702

Thurman Adams State Service Center
546 South Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947

All three locations are open from Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. except on public holidays.

For births recorded in Delaware prior to 1948, contact the Delaware Public Archives by calling or visiting its Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room at:

121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-5000

How to Get Birth Records From Hospitals in Delaware

Delaware hospitals do not maintain birth records except for hospital records generated during childbirth. These healthcare facilities provide some of the details found on birth certificates and forward their records to the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics. Hospitals in Delaware make no provisions for processing requests for birth records. Anyone looking for certified birth certificates in Delaware must send their applications to the Vital Statistics office.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Record in Delaware?

Birth records are not public records in Delaware. Delaware makes all birth records confidential for 72 years after they are prepared. During this period, only certain people are eligible to obtain certified copies of Delaware birth certificates. Persons eligible to request a Delaware birth record include:

  • The registrant named on the record
  • Children of the registrant
  • Parents of the registrant
  • Legal guardian of the registrant
  • Current husband or wife of the registrant
  • Attorneys or legal representatives of any of the parties listed above

The Delaware Office of Vital Statistics requires requesters to submit proofs of identity or relationship along with their requests. Registrants must provide current and valid government-issued photo IDs to establish their claims. Children must present certified birth certificates of the own to establish that they are related to persons named on requested records. Husbands and wives need certified marriage certificates to proof that they are the current spouses of the named individuals on the records.

Legal guardians need court orders confirming their claims and authorizing access to the birth records they seek. Delaware requires attorneys and legal representatives seeking birth records on behalf of their clients to complete the section of the application form meant for them and include a letter written in the format of the OVS legal template on their firms’ letterheads. These letters must establish the attorneys’ relationships to the persons named on the birth records, the purposes of their requests, and how they intend to use the requested records.

The general public cannot obtain copies of third-party birth records even if they fulfill other requirements of the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics. They can, however, access birth records that are no longer sealed after their confidentiality periods have elapsed. These are not available from the Vital Statistics office but from the Delaware Public Archives.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Delaware?

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, through its Office of Vital Statistics, charges $25 for each certified copy of a birth certificate. This means that the agency has the same fee for the first copy and each additional copy of the same record requested regardless of whether the extra copies were requested at the same time or at a later date. Note that this fee is non-refundable. If the Delaware Office of Vital Records cannot find the birth record requested, it will keep the fee paid for effort expended searching for the unavailable record.

The $25 fee is all requesters will pay if they are ordering Delaware birth certificates in person or by mail directly from the Office of Vital Statistics. Those that choose to order these records online should expect to pay additional fees. These cover the charges of the third-party record providers authorized by the Delaware Division of Public Health for processing online requests for vital records. Besides the additional fee charged for the convenience of an online order, a third-party provider will also charge a token extra for credit card payment processing. These providers accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards.

For walk-in requests for Delaware birth records, the Office of Vital Statistics accepts cash, money order, and check for fee payment. The only payment options accepted for mail requests are money order and check. When paying for birth record copy fees by check or money order, make it payable to the Office of Vital Statistics.

Delaware charges the same amount and accepts payments using the same methods for adoptees’ birth certificates as for regular birth records.

For archived birth records stored at the Delaware Public Archives, the fee for obtaining birth records is a minimum of $10 for up to 10 pages of records. There is an additional $5 fee for every 10 pages beyond the first 10 pages.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Delaware?

Walk-in requests for birth records in Delaware are processed immediately. As long as the birth certificates requested are available and the requesters are deemed eligible, they can obtain these vital records the same day while they wait.

Online and mail requests for Delaware birth records take longer to process. These orders usually take 2 - 3 weeks to process. After records are found, it may take another week for these to be delivered to requesters. Therefore, requesters can expect their requests fulfilled within 30 business days of submitting them as long as their applications are correctly filled, all required documents included, and the recommended fees paid.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Delaware

Expungement is a legal term that refers to the removal or excision of part or all of an individual’s court or criminal record. This most usually applies to individuals pardoned of their crimes and those exonerated after conviction. Expungement is also commonly used in juvenile criminal cases. In such cases, a Delaware court may expunge a minor’s criminal records after they turn 18 as long as they meet the court’s requirements for qualifying for this outcome.

Expungement does not apply to vital records in Delaware. The state makes no provisions for deleting parts of birth records. Therefore, it is not possible to expunge your birth record in Delaware.

How to Seal Your Birth Records in Delaware

There is no reason to apply to seal your birth record in Delaware. This is because the state makes all birth records confidential by default. These vital records stay out of the public domain and access to them is restricted for 72 years after they were prepared. After this period, they become public records and there is no way to keep them out of the public domain. Adoptees’ original birth certificates are also automatically sealed along with other birth records. These are not available to the general public or the adoptees until they turn 21. However, birth parents may apply to Delaware courts to block the release of original birth certificates of adoptees to anyone.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Delaware

There are no provisions for unsealing regular birth certificates in Delaware. The records stay sealed by default for the first 72 years and become unsealed thereafter. Adoptees’ original birth certificates, on the other hand, may be unsealed to be accessible to adoptees when they turn 21. This can be done simply by submitting a completed Adoptees Application for a Certified Copy of Original Birth Certificate form to the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics along with the required documents and fee.