Obtaining a Certified Copy (GS 130A-93)

Request a Copy

Pursuant to NC law, only certain people are entitled to a certified copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate. The certified copy is the official record with a raised seal. It is required for a driver’s license, passport, enrollment in school, to apply for Social Security, sports, registration to vote, join the military, prove citizenship, employment, the Real ID or Gold Star ID, or legal and business purposes. Anyone can get an unofficial copy (no seal) of a record. An entitled person who cannot request the record, can appoint a family member, authorized agent or legal representative to get it on their behalf. The Agent Authorization form available for this situation. NCGS 130A-93.


Who Can Get a Copy

The following people are entitled to a certified copy of a Vital Record - Birth, Death, Marriage certificate or Military Discharge
DD214. NCGS 130A-93,2.

  • The person, Spouse, Parent, Sibling, Child, Stepchild, Step-parent, Grandparent.
  • A person seeking information for legal determination of property rights.
  • Authorized Agent, Attorney, Legal Representative (proof required).

Valid identification is required for the person requesting the certified copy. No ID is needed for the unofficial copy (no seal).


How to Request a Copy

A record may be requested in person, by mail (US Postal Service) or online. We do not accept email or fax requests for copies of records. When requesting a copy, it is important that accurate and complete information is provided, such as the full legal name and complete dates.This will help locate the record.

Allow 10 days before requesting a copy of a new birth, recent death, or marriage to ensure that the record has been received and processed.

Anyone age 62 and older is entitled to one free certified copy of a birth certificate. Only the person named on the certificate may obtain the record.

A birth certificate for someone who is adopted must be requested from the state office NC Vital Records at 919-733-3000. Adoption birth certificates are not issued in local offices.


Office - Walk-In

If you are coming into the office to get a certified copy of record, a government issued photo ID is required. The certified copy is $10, the uncertified copy is .50. Accepted forms of payment are cash,credit and debit cards, money orders and cashier’s checks. Personal checks, counter checks and e-checks are not accepted.

Request by Mail

If requesting a copy by mail, send payment in the form of business check, bank check or money order. Print the Application for a Vital Records Copy and enclose a photocopy of your ID. Mail the request to: Forsyth County Register of Deeds, Vital Records, 201 North Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for a fast return of the record. Do not send cash in the mail. Personal checks, counter checks, and checks drawn out of the country are not accepted. When requesting a copy for more than one person, complete an application for each person. Payment should be for the exact amount of the transaction. We do not accept requests for copies by fax, email or telephone.

If you are unable to download the application form, a hand written or typed request is acceptable. Include the following information:

  • Type of record request - Birth- Death- Marriage
  • Full name on the record
  • Date of birth, death, or marriage
  • Your relationship to the person named on the record
  • Your signature

If requesting a copy of a marriage license, provide both applicant’s full names before marriage, the date of marriage, your relationship to the parties, and your full signature on the application. Out-of-County Birth Certificates cannot be requested by mail.


Request Online

Only birth, death and marriage records filed in Forsyth County are available to order Online. To request a vital record from another county or state, contact the Register of deeds office that originally filed the record. Out-of-County Birth Certificates cannot be requested online.

Orders will be processed within 30 days of submitting the request. Applications are not processed on weekends or holidays. If requesting a certified copy, a series of security questions must be answered before the application is processed and the certificate mailed. This is to ensure that the person requesting the records is authorized or entitled to receive it.

Additional charges are applied to the transaction for the convenience of ordering online using a credit or debit card. We do not accept credit and debit card transaction by telephone. The cost for a certified copy is around $15, the uncertified copy is approximately $4. Order at forsythrod.permitium.com.

Accepted ID for a Certified Copy

  • State issued driver’s license
  • State issued photo ID
  • US Military ID
  • Passport, Visa
  • Department of Corrections ID
  • State or U.S Government ID

If you do not have the required photo ID listed, two legible photocopies from the following list will be accepted. (Must be two different forms of ID).

  • Temporary driver’s license
  • Utility bill with current address
  • Car registration or title
  • Bank statement with address
  • Income tax return - W-2 showing address
  • State-issued concealed weapon permit showing address
  • Court document

Anyone who does not have the ID required to get a certified copy can appoint an authorized agent or an entitled person to request the record for you.

Birth, Death, Marriage Records

Copies of birth, death and marriage certificates are available in the Register of deeds office where the original record is filed. If a birth or death event occurred in a different county, Out of County Birth and Death Certificates may be obtained in Forsyth County.

Adoption Birth Certificate

For Information about Adoption Birth Certificates and records, contact the state office, NC Vital Records for assistance at 919-733-3000 or 919-733-3526 This applies the Intercountry and International Adoptions. These records are not issued in local Register of deeds offices.

Out-of-County Birth and Death Certificate

Out of County Birth Certificates may be requested in any county in North Carolina from the Register of deeds office provided:

  • The birth occurred in North Carolina
  • The birth year is 1971 to the present date
  • The person is Not Adopted

The birth certificate no longer has to be requested from the original county of birth or the state office, NC Vital Records. The cost is $24. Additional copies under the same search are $15. We do not issue non-certified copies. NC law for entitlement to a certified copy apply.

Out-of-County Death Certificates are available for a person who passed away in any county in North Carolina after October 2021, from local Register of deeds offices.

A certified copy of these birth and death records are $24 each. Additional copies are $15 per copy. NC law for entitlement to a certified copy apply. N.C.GS 130-93.

If the required criteria are not met to obtain an Out of County Birth or Death Certificate, the record must be obtained from the Register of deeds office where the birth certificate is filed or the death occurred.

Note: Birth certificates are maintained by each state for people who live in that state. The Register of deeds office does not request certificates from another state or country.

Not born in North Carolina, contact the state vital records office in the state where they were born to get a copy of the birth certificate. See the National Center for Health Statistics: Where to Write for Vital Records https://www.cdc.gov.nchs/w2w.

Born Outside the United States, whose parents were United States citizens at the time of birth or someone born on a Military Base should contact the U.S. Department of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/birth-abroad.html.

Before we begin the record search, it is important that you let us know if there is a double last name, non-traditional spelling of any part of the name, punctuation in the name or if the name has been changed by a court order. There is a $14 search fee for each attempt to locate the record. Forsyth County birth certificates are still $10 per certified copy.

Delayed Birth Certificate

A person born in Forsyth County NC who does not have a registered birth certificate on file, and who is more than 1 year old, may apply for a Delayed Registration of Birth Certificate. You must first contact NC Vital Records to conduct a statewide search for the record. The search fee is $24 non-refundable. If no record is located, you will receive a No Record Found letter. At that point, contact the Register of deeds office for the next step in the process.


Apostille

This document is used to verify the seal and signature on a certified public record, such as a birth, death ,marriage certificate, court order, notarial act, academic diploma or a legal document presented in a foreign country. Form available at authen@sosnc.com .



Marriage License

A copy of a Marriage license is available after both original forms (Register of Deeds Copy and Vital Records Copy) have been returned the office. If any information on the license needs to be corrected, contact the office that issued the license before making any changes. This is a legal document.


How to Correct a Vital Record

Clerical errors, incorrect dates and misspelled names can be amended on birth, death and marriage records with documentation and proof to support the change on the original record. All changes are approved by the state office, NC Vital Records.


Paternity (Add the Father’s Name)

The natural or biological father’s name can be added to a child’s birth certificate depending on the marital status of the parents when the child was born. If the parents are or were married, contact the Register of deeds office. If the parents are not and were never married, contact the Clerk of Court’s Office at 336-779-6309.


Amendment

To correct a misspelled name, incorrect date, or clerical error on a vital record, birth, death or marriage, contact the Register of deeds office.This is a lengthy process. You should be in the office no later than 3:00pm with documentation and proof to support the change. For assistance call 336-703-2700.


Court Ordered Name Change

To add, remove or change a legal name on a birth certificate, contact the Clerk of Court office at 336-779-6303. This process is done by Court Order.

County Services

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Contact Us

  • 201 North Chestnut Street
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
  • Phone: 336 703 2700 (Live)
  • Phone: 336 703 2700
    (After Hours Recording)
  • Fax: 336 748 3158
  • Email: Contact Us
Office Hours

8:00 — 5:00 (Monday — Friday)

Obtain Marriage License

8:00 — 4:30 (Monday — Friday)