How long do death certificates take

how long do death certificates take

Charleston, WV 25301-3701

Telephone: (304) 558-2931

Fax: (304) 558-8001

Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 - 5:00 Eastern Time

Obtaining a certified copy of a birth certificate:

The West Virginia Vital Registration Office is the state-level custodian of birth certificates for people born anywhere in West Virginia 1917 to date. The Vital Registration Office issues certified copies of birth certificates from the original certificate on file. Certified copies are legal proof of age, U.S. citizenship, and parentage. As such, they are accepted by local, state, and federal governments as legal proof for applying for: social security numbers, driver's licenses, entrance to schools, entrance to military, marriage licenses, U.S. passports, retirement benefits, etc.

Certified copies of birth certificates that are submitted to a foreign government may require additional "authentication" including an apostille certificate, from the WV Secretary of State's Office. This does not apply to certificates carried by the registrant out of the country to be used as identification. Please call the Vital Registration Office for more information on that process.

Who may obtain copies:

In terms of obtaining vital records, West Virginia is not an "open record" state. Access to certified copies of birth certificates is restricted to the following individuals:

  • The registrant (person named on the certificate) as long as they are 18 years or older or are emancipated by court order or marriage
  • Mother or father as listed on the certificate or current stepparent of registrant
  • Legal guardian (submit copy of guardianship papers)
  • Registrant's spouse
  • Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. of the registrant (including half and step relationships)
  • Brother or sister of the registrant (including half and step relationships)
  • Mother-in-law / father-in-law of registrant
  • Son-in-law / daughter-in-law of registrant
  • Grandparents and great-grandparents of the registrant

In addition, a legal representative of one of the above or an authorized government agency may obtain a certified copy.

Those who do not meet one of the above categories, but who can demonstrate a direct or tangible interest in the record, should contact the office directly for instructions.

If you have questions, please call (304) 558-2931 between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM eastern time.

Fees and charges:

There is a non refundable $12.00 search fee, which entitles the applicant to one certified copy of the birth certificate. The search fee covers a three year search that consists of the year specified, the year before, and the year after the year specified. Additional copies are also $12.00 each. If no record is found, a "No Record" letter will be mailed to the applicant informing them that no record is on file for the requested certificate. To request copies of a birth certificate, link to and print out the form and send it along with the appropriate fee t

Request Forms:

PDF birth certificate request form for mail-in requests: PDF format form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0(+)). Please fill in the form on your screen (if your computer allows it) before printing out the form and signing it on the signature line. You can use the "tab" key to move to the next part of the form. Use the "Enter" key to place checks in the appropriate boxes. If you cannot fill the form in on-screen, please print it and fill in the form by printing neatly, except where your signature is required.

If you cannot access the PDF form, try printing the following:

Please print clearly except where signature is required.

(Note: These forms cannot be used by walk-in Customers. Walk-in customers will be supplied a multi-part form when they arrive.)

How long will it take?

It depends on the workload within the office. During low volume periods, requests are usually processed within five working days after receipt. Normal turnaround time is two to three weeks, but is often quite faster. During March and April and August and September, the office experiences high customer service demand due to school enrollment. A minimum of three weeks should be anticipated.

An expedited service is available through a company called VitalChek at an additional charge. You may call the office and request this service using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card. Before calling, please print out a copy of the application form and be prepared to give all of the information, along with your credit card information, to the customer service representative. The VitalChek web site also provides information on obtaining birth and death records from other states, in addition to offering online ordering of certificates.

If you have questions concerning individual birth records, please call Vital Registration

between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM eastern time at 304-558-2931.

Obtaining a copy of a death certificate:

The West Virginia Vital Registration Office issues certified copies of death certificates of individuals who died within the borders of West Virginia.

Who may obtain copies:

Certificates will only be issued to the next of kin or to persons with a legal right to the certificate. If you have questions concerning the right to obtain a copy of a death certificate, please contact the Vital Registration Program at (304) 558-2931.

Fees and charges:

There is a non-refundable $12.00 search fee, which also entitles you to one certified copy of the death certificate. The search fee covers a three year search that includes the year specified, the year before, and the year after the year specified. If no record is found, a letter will be returned informing you of the inability to locate a record for the person. There is a charge of $12.00 for each additional copy. To request copies of a death certificate, link to and print out the form and send it along with the appropriate fee to:

Forms:

Or: PDF format form (requires Adobe Acrobat 3.0(+))

(Note: These forms can not be used by walk-in Customers. Walk-in customers will be supplied a multi-part form when they arrive.)

How long will it take?

Once the death certificate has been completed by a physician or other authorized individual, and submitted and processed by the Vital Registration Office, the following turnaround times can be expected. The completion and submission of the actual death certificate forms to the Vital Registration Office is usually handled by the funeral home. The funeral home will usually provide the family with some certified copies of death certificates as part of their fee. Subsequent requests should be directed to the Vital Registration Office.

During low-volume periods, requests are usually processed within five working days. Normally you will have two or three days for mail delivery of the request, three to four days for processing and two to three days for return mailing. With weekends and holidays, this results in a period of about ten to fourteen days to receive a response in the mail. During high-volume periods for the Vital Registration Office, such as around school entry times, Little League registration, and holidays, it may extend to as much as three weeks.

An expedited service is available through a company called VitalChek at an additional charge. You may call the office and request this service using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card. Before calling, please print out a copy of the application form and be prepared to give all of the information, along with your credit card information, to the customer service representative. The VitalChek Website also provides information on obtaining birth and death records from other states.

Obtaining a certified copy of an application for a marriage license:

The West Virginia Vital Registration Office issues certified copies of the applications for marriage licenses for those who applied for a license and were married in West Virginia. The completed marriage license application contains all of the facts of marriage and is legal proof that a marriage occurred in West Virginia. The Office is able to issue certified copies for marriages from 1964 forward. For marriages occurring before 1964, please contact the county clerk's office in the county where the marriage license was issued.

Who may obtain copies:

Certified copies may only be issued to:
  • The husband or the wife;
  • The adult children of the husband and/or wife;
  • the adult grandchildren of the husband and/or wife;
  • Those who can prove a tangible and direct legal interest in the document; or
  • A legal representative acting in behalf of one of the above.
If you have questions concerning the right to obtain a copy of a certified copy of an application for a marriage license, please contact the Vital Registration Office at (304) 558-2931.

Fees and charges:

There is a non-refundable $12.00 search fee, which also entitles the requestor to one certified copy of the application for a marriage license. The search fee covers a three year search that includes the year specified, the year before, and the year after the year specified. If no record is found, a letter will be returned informing requestor of the inability to locate a record for the person. There is a charge of $12.00 for each additional copy. To request copies of a marriage certificate, print out the form and send it along with the appropriate fee to:

Source: www.wvdhhr.org

Category: Insurance

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