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vital records

Authorized Copy vs. Informational Copy 

Authorized Copy

California law defines individuals who can obtain an authorized copy of a birth, death, and marriage certificate as:

  • The registrant or a parent, legal guardian, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner of the registrant.
  • A party entitled to receive the record as a result of court order or an attorney or licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code. (Please include a copy of the court order.)
  • A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business. (Companies representing a government agency must provide authorization from the government agency.
  • Any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant's estate (Include a copy of the power of attorney or documentation identifying you as executor.)
  • An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate.
  • Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of employment and on behalf of persons specified in HSC § 7100 (a) (1)-(8).
  • Surviving next of kin (As specified in HSC § 7100).

Confidential Section of a Birth Record

The confidential section of a birth record is restricted and contains confidential medical and social information. The information from this section is often used for health or research purposes.

The following individuals authorized to obtain a confidential copy of a birth record are:

  • The person named on the birth certificate.
  • The parent who signed the birth certificate or, if no parent signed the certificate, the mother.
  • The person who has petitioned to adopt the person named on the certificate of live birth (subjected to Section 102705 of the Health and Safety Code and Section of 9200 and 9203 of the Family Code).

Informational Copy

If you cannot obtain an authorized copy under California law, you can obtain an informational copy.  An informational copy contains the same information as an authorized copy, but will have a legend across the face with the statement "Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity."  Certain items may be redacted and an informational copy may not be used to obtain identification. However, authorized and informational copies are both considered "certified copies.”


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