Texas.gov: Frequently Asked Questions

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Texas.gov: Frequently Asked Questions

Texas.gov allows online ordering of certain vital records: birth certificates and death certificates, birth-verification and death-verification letters, and marriage-verification and divorce-verification letters.

Ordering

Birth Certificates and Birth-Verification Letters

Death Certificates and Death-Verification Letters

Marriage-Verification and Divorce-Verification Letters

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Ordering

I'm trying to order online, and I'm getting the error message that my information could not be verified. What do I do?
If you have verified that you have entered your information correctly and still get the error message, you can apply through another method. Click here for alternate instructions for ordering.

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When will I receive the record I've requested?
Most Texas.gov orders are currently being shipped in 10-15 business days. The shipping time depends on the type of shipping you select.

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Will I need Internet access after I place my order?
While you will need Internet access during the order, you will not need it after the order is completed. If you choose to enter an e-mail address as part of your order, you will receive a confirmation e-mail after the order has been submitted.

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How else can I order vital records?
Texas vital records are available through other methods, as described on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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How can I order vital records from other states?
If you would like to request vital records from other states, visit the CDC website for more information.

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Can I save my order and then later resume working on it?
No. The Texas.gov Vital Records Application provides users with a way to compose and submit an order only during a single session.

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Can my order include requests formore than one record?
Yes. You may request as many records as you are qualified to order at one time. For protected birth certificates, you can request only three copies of each record at a time.

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If the record I requested is not found, can I get my money back or request another record?
No. When any search of the files does not result in a record being found, the fee for the search is not refundable or transferable to another search for another record.

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Can you ship my order to an address other than my own?
Yes. You can specify the shipping address as part of the ordering process. Delivery can be to one of the 50 states, or to any of the U.S. territories, U.S. commonwealths, or U.S. military addresses. For military addresses, the entry in the "State" field must be AA, AP, or AE. To ship orders outside the United States, you can use the forms and instructions available on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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How can my order be shipped to multiple addresses?
In order to ship to multiples address, you must create a separate order for each address. Each order would need to be paid for separately.

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How do I pay for my order?
Texas.gov accepts American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards.

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What kind of records can I order online?
There are six types of records available for online ordering:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Birth-Verification Letter
  • Death Certificate
  • Death-Verification Letter
  • Marriage-Verification Letter
  • Divorce-Verification Letter

Additional services are available by mail and through other methods as described on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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What is the difference between a protected (closed) record and an unprotected (open) record?
A protected (closed) record is a birth certificate or death certificate that is available for purchase only by qualified individuals. There are two types of protected (closed) records available for order online: a birth certificate with a date of birth from the past 75 years, and a death certificate with a date of death from the past 25 years.

To purchase a protected (closed) birth certificate:
If you reside in Texas, you can order your own record or the records of your immediate family members. If you live outside of Texas, you can order your own record or the record of your child, if you are listed as a parent on the record.

To purchase a protected (closed) death certificate:
If you live in Texas, you can order the records of your immediate family members. If you live outside Texas, you must be the surviving spouse of the deceased, a parent of the deceased or the funeral director of the funeral home on the record.

As part of the order, you will be required to submit some identifying information about yourself that will be verified. If the verification is successful, you will be permitted to complete the order of the protected record.

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I am not allowed to order online based on my relationship to the record, but I believe I have a right to the record. Why can't I order the record using TexasOnline? What are my options?
Texas.gov restricts access to protected records due to security concerns. If you believe you have legal right to a record, you can still apply through other methods on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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How are you ensuring that my personal record cannot be purchased by just anyone?
The security of Texas vital records is extremely important to the state. Texas.gov requires that protected-record applicants enter identifying information that is verified before a record is released.

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Am I required to enter my Social Security number to order a record online?
If you are ordering a protected record, the answer is yes. All data submitted to Texas.gov will be kept secure. Verifying the identity of the customer is necessary to protect the security of Texas vital records.

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Can you check to make sure the record I want exists before I order it?
No. The fees for the records are considered searching fees and are not refundable or transferable to another record.

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What if I don't know the middle name for one of the names on the record?
Middle names should be filled in if they are known to assist in identifying the record. However, they are not required.

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Birth Certificates and Birth-Verification Letters

What is the earliest date of birth for which I can order a birth certificate or birth-verification letter online?
Birth certificates or birth-verification letters for births registered in Texas from 1903 to the present can be ordered online.

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May I order anyone's birth certificate online?
No. Birth certificates with a date of birth within the past 75 years are protected records. If you reside in Texas, you can order your own record or the records of your immediate family members. If you live outside of Texas, you can order your own record or the record of your child, if you are listed as a parent on the record. If you cannot order online, you must apply through other methods, as described on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a birth certificate online?

  • The full name of the individual on the birth certificate (middle names are requested, but not required)
  • The date of that individual's birth
  • The city or county where the birth took place
  • The full name of the father if one is listed on the birth certificate
  • The full maiden name of the mother if one is listed on the birth certificate

If you are ordering a protected birth certificate (one with a date of birth within the past 75 years) you will also need the following items:

  • Your current state-issued driver's license or state-issued identification card (you will need to be able to reference the actual card)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your address

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What formats of birth certificates are available online?
Four formats are available. For each copy of a birth certificate, you will need to specify the format you want. The four formats are:

  • Standard size (short form or abstract): The most commonly issued format because it satisfies most purposes, including registering a child for school or sports and obtaining a driver license in most states. If the birth record is not available in this format or if the state you live in requires the full size for a driver license, a full-size birth certificate will be issued instead.
  • Full size (long form): Used most often to obtain a passport. It's also typically required for purposes of dual citizenship, Indian Registry and immigration. Because this format contains information that can facilitate identify theft, we recommend that you order this format only when it is required.
  • Heirloom birth certificate: A specially-designed certificate with an engraved intaglio border, heirloom-quality paper, background security features, and a gold embossed seal. State law prevents issuance of this certificate to persons whose births were established by court order or delayed record procedures.

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What is the difference between a birth certificate and a birth-verification letter?
A birth certificate is a certified copy of a birth record and provides legal proof of a birth registered with the State of Texas.

A birth-verification letter is a letter that states whether or not a birth was registered with the State of Texas. If the record is found, the verification letter will include the name, date of birth, county of birth, and state file number.

Because a birth-verification letter might not be accepted in place of a certified copy, we strongly recommend that you make sure that the verification letter will meet your intended use before you order it.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a birth-verification letter online?

  • The full name of the individual on the birth certificate
  • The date of that individual's birth
  • The city or county where the birth took place
  • The full name of the father listed on the birth certificate, if known
  • The full maiden name of the mother listed on the birth certificate, if known

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Death Certificates and Death-Verification Letters

What is the earliest date of death for which I can order a death certificate or death-verification letter online?
Death certificates or death-verification letters for deaths registered in Texas from 1903 to the present can be ordered online.

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May I order anyone's death certificate online?
No. Death certificates with a date of death within the past 25 years are protected records. If you live in Texas, you can order the records of your immediate family members. If you live outside Texas, you must be the surviving spouse of the deceased, a parent of the deceased or the funeral director of the funeral home on the record. If you cannot apply online, you may apply through other methods, as described on the Texas Vital Statistics website.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a death certificate online?

  • The full name of the deceased on the death certificate (middle names are requested, but not required)
  • The year of that individual's death
  • The month and day of the death, if known
  • The city or county where the death took place
  • The Social Security number of the deceased, if known
  • The full maiden name of the mother listed on the death certificate or the full name of the father listed on the death certificate
  • Place of birth of the deceased, if known
  • Date of birth of the deceased (required when the exact date of death is not known)

If you are ordering a protected death certificate (one with a date of death within the past 25 years) you will also need the following items:

  • Your state-issued current driver's license or state-issued identification card (you will need to be able to reference the actual card).
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your address

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What is the difference between a death certificate and a death-verification letter?
A death certificate is a certified copy of a death record and provides legal proof of a death registered with the State of Texas.

A death-verification letter is a letter that states whether or not a particular death was registered with the State of Texas. If the record is found, the verification letter will include the name of the deceased, the date of death, the county of death and the state file number. Because a death-verification letter might not be accepted in place of a certified copy, we strongly recommend that you make sure that the verification letter will meet your intended use before you order it.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a death-verification letter online?

  • The full name of the deceased on the death certificate
  • The year of that individual's death
  • The month and day of the death, if known
  • The city or county where the death took place
  • The Social Security number of the deceased, if known
  • The full name of the father listed on the death certificate, if known
  • The full maiden name of the mother listed on the death certificate, if known
  • Place of birth of the deceased, if known
  • Date of birth of the deceased, if known

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Marriage-Verification and Divorce-Verification Letters

Which marriages and divorces can be verified?

Verification letters of marriage are available for marriages that occurred from 1966 to 2005.
Verification letters of divorce are available for divorces that occurred from 1968 to mid-2006.

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Is a marriage-verification letter the same as a marriage license?
No, a marriage-verification letter is not the same as a marriage license. A marriage-verification letter is a letter that verifies whether or not a marriage has been recorded with the State of Texas since 1966. For copies of marriage licenses, contact the county clerk in the county in which the marriage license was obtained.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a marriage-verification letter online?

  • The full name of the husband on the marriage license (optional if the wife's name is entered on your request for the record)
  • The full name of the wife on the marriage license (optional if the husband's name is entered on your request for the record)
  • The date, or date range if the exact date is unknown, when the marriage occurred
  • The county or city where the marriage license was obtained, if known
  • The date of birth for the husband, if known
  • The date of birth for the wife, if known
  • The age of the husband when the marriage occurred, if known
  • The age of the wife when the marriage occurred, if known

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Is a divorce-verification letter the same as a divorce decree?
No, a divorce-verification letter is not the same as a divorce decree. A divorce-verification letter is a letter that verifies whether or not a divorce has been recorded with the State of Texas since1968. For copies of divorce decrees, contact the district clerk in the district where the divorce was granted.

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What information do I need to know before I can order a divorce-verification letter online?

  • The full name of the husband on the divorce decree (optional if the wife's name is entered on your request for the record)
  • The full name of the wife on the divorce decree (optional if the husband's name is entered on your request for the record)
  • The date, or date range if the exact date is not available, when the divorce was granted, if known
  • The county or city where the divorce was granted, if known
  • The date of birth for the husband, if known
  • The date of birth for the wife, if known
  • The age of the husband when the divorce was granted, if known
  • The age of the wife when the divorce was granted, if known

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Last updated May 02, 2013