Legal Concerns Ordering Vital Records

The occurrence of identity theft is on the rise and the legislature has identified the release of birth, death, and marriage records as a vulnerable point in this regard. Legislation was enacted to help protect the records from misuse.

Pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 103526, only specific individuals are allowed to receive an AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY of a birth, death or marriage record. An AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY of a birth record is required to obtain a driver’s license, passport, social security card and other services related to an individual’s identity. An AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY of a death record may be required to obtain death benefits, claim insurance proceeds, notify social security and obtain other services related to an individual’s identity. An AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY of a marriage record may be required to obtain a social security card or a driver license. Please see below for a list of authorized individuals.

Those who are not authorized may receive an INFORMATIONAL CERTIFIED COPY with the words INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY imprinted across the face of the copy.

When ordering in person, an authorized individual must complete an approved application, including a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, to receive an AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY. A notarized Sworn Statement / Certificate of Acknowledgment and a completed application form signed under penalty of perjury by the authorized requestor are required for all orders sent by mail.

Individuals permitted to receive an AUTHORIZED CERTIFIED COPY:

  • The registrant or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant.
  • A party entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code.
  • A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business.
  • A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant.
  • An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant’s estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant estate.
  • Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of his or her employment and who orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of any individual specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivisions (a) of subdivision (a) of Section 7100.

As the custodian of the vital records maintained in the department of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, we have a responsibility to safeguard the records from misuse on behalf of the citizens of Ventura County. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

To order an Authorized certified copy of a Birth, Death or Marriage certificate, you will need to fill out an Application to receive a certified Birth, Death or Marriage record. If you are ordering through the mail, you will also need to complete a Sworn Statement / Certificate of Acknowledgment. This form must be signed in front of a notary. These forms can be found on the County Recorder page, vital records page, and on the forms page.