District Of Columbia Public Records Archive

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If you are interested in obtaining public documents in Washington DC, there are specific steps you need to take in order to access the District of Columbia public records you want without difficulties. There are procedures that every individual requesting a certified copy of a public document must observe. Like in every state in the country, Washington DC deals with vital documents, such as birth certificates, death reports, marriage licenses and divorce decrees, with great care and consideration. And although these types of data are generally accessible by any member of the public, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, policies must still be put in place to protect the well being of every citizen.


If you want to get a hold of your own birth records, or an immediate family member?s death certificate, the District of Columbia?s Vital Records Division maintains a wide collection of birth and death profiles that is available for public access. Overseen by the DC Department of Health, the Vital Records Division stores and disseminates birth certificates and death reports from August 1874 all the way to the present. However, in accordance to specific laws, birth reports are only made available to the District Of Columbia Public Records general public 100 years after the subject?s date of birth. And death certificates, 50 years after the listed date of death. Only immediate family members are permitted access to these documents at any time.

To be eligible to acquire a certified copy of a birth or death certificate, you will need to fill out the correct request form and submit it at the appropriate office. The application form can be picked up in person at the Vital Records Division office. Or, you can download the form in PDF format at the official website of the District of Columbia Department of Health. In the homepage of the website, you will find the Vital Records portal, which will direct you to a page containing the download link, along with other important information regarding the current fees and the record acquisition process.

For marriage records and divorce decrees, the procedures and requirements involved may by slightly different, not to mention the source. For these public documents, the DC Superior Court is the ultimate entity that handles the storage, maintenance, and dissemination of all marital documentations in the District of Columbia. Requests are accepted at the district court offices, which is also where you will get the request forms to fill out. If you have no time to visit the office in person, you can also download the form in the DC Courts website. Additionally, if you and your partner are planning to get married, this is where you can obtain a marriage license as well.

Of all those mentioned sources of vital documents, there is an easier and more practical source that you may want to consider, especially if you frequently conduct background searches. For those who run a public records search regularly, there are independent record retrieval services that provide its clients unlimited access to a comprehensive database of public documents, from birth certificates to divorce decrees. All the service requires is a one-time payment, and the customer is free to run vital record searches from every state in the country, including its territories.