The certified copies issued by the Tennessee Department of Health – Office of Vital Records always have a raised seal. A raised seal is the same as an embossed seal.
The Tennessee Office of Vital Records can only accept cash, personal check or money order. However, for your convenience, we have contracted with an independent company to provide you with credit card service. Additional fees will be collected by the independent company.
To use this service call 1-866-233-0740.
Other than the person named on the certificate, certified copies may only be issued to a spouse, parent, legal guardian or child of the person named on the certificate. If you are acting as an authorized representative for one of these people, the Tennessee Office of Vital Records may release the certificate to you under the following conditions:
If you already have a certified copy of your certificate and need an apostille added, you may send your request and your certificate directly to the Secretary of State along with the required fee of $2.00 per document. More information may be found at http://www.state.tn.us/sos/forms/apos.pdf.
If you do not have a certified copy of your certificate, you may apply to the Tennessee Office of Vital Records for both a certified copy of your certificate and an apostille by:
After preparing your certified copies, the Office of Vital Records will forward your copies, your check, and your request to the Tennessee Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will apply the apostille and return your documents to you as directed in your request.
Additional information may be found at http://www.state.tn.us/sos/forms/apos.pdf.
If you send an expedite fee in addition to the fee required for your certified copy(s) and ask that your request be expedited, the Tennessee Office of Vital Records will give your application a priority status. It will be filled as soon as possible. In order to further expedite your request, you may choose to enclose a pre-paid, self-addressed shipping envelope.
The long form certificate is a printed image of the original certificate of birth. In addition to the child’s name and date of birth, it contains information such as the name of the hospital, address of parents, parents’ dates of birth, etc. The “short form” certificate is a computer generated extract of the information listed on the original birth certificate. The short form is not available for births prior to 1949. If the date of birth on the certificate is 1976 or later, the information included on the short form is:
The short form certificate does not include parents’ names on births prior to 1976.
Both short form and long form certificates issued by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records contain a raised seal which denotes certification. If the date of birth on the certificate is prior to 1976, you probably want the long form, since the short form does not include parents’ names. If you were born in 1976 or later, a short form may be adequate, but would depend on the anticipated use(s) of your certificate.
Short form birth certificates prior to 1976 do not include parents’ names. Short form birth certificates after 1976 have only parents first and last name. Therefore, we would recommend that you get a long form birth certificate to apply for a passport.
Certified copies of birth certificates are generally available for issue 30 to 45 days after the birth. If you request the certificate by mail, please allow an additional four to six weeks for delivery of the certificate.
Yes. You should follow the instructions for requesting a certificate and include a copy of your guardianship papers with your request.
The mother’s copy of a birth certificate is generally not accepted as a legal copy. However, you may use your mother’s copy to satisfy identification requirements when obtaining a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate.
My baby was born at home. How do I file for a birth certificate?
If a hospital or other birthing facility was not involved in the birth of your child, you should contact the health department in the county where your child was born. They will initiate the process to have a birth certificate filed. Click here for local health department telephone numbers.
If the copy of your child’s birth certificate has arrived at the Tennessee Office of Vital Records from the hospital where your child was born, we will honor an expedite request. An expedite fee will be required in addition to the fee associated with receiving a certified copy of the birth certificate. See the fee schedule for information.
If the white and black copy of your birth certificate does not include a multi-colored or raised seal, it is not a certified copy and probably will not be accepted as a legal document. Even if your white and black copy does contain a seal, it may not be accepted as a legal copy due to the age of the document.
If you were born in Tennessee and believe that you never had a birth certificate, you should still follow the instructions to request a certified copy from the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. If no record of your birth is located, the Tennessee Office of Vital Records will send you a letter certifying that no record is on file. Many agencies that ask for a birth certificate will accept this certified letter from the State of Tennessee in place of a birth certificate.
If you have received a letter certifying that no record of your birth in on file, you may ask that a delayed registration of birth be filed. You will be required to furnish old documents as evidence to prove the facts of your birth. Contact the Tennessee Office of Vital Records for more detailed information.
A new birth certificate can be issued with the child’s father listed, if all of the following are true:
The father’s name may be added to a birth certificate by completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, if all of the following are true:
If the answer to any of the above questions is false, a court order would be required to add the father’s name to the birth certificate.
After an adoption, the original birth record and all other legal documents related to the adoption are sealed and are not accessible except under certain procedures specified by state law. If you were adopted in Tennessee, requests for access to information about your adoption and copies of your sealed adoption records should be directed to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Department of Children's Services
7th Floor, Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN 37243
If you were born in Tennessee but adopted in another state, the Tennessee Office of Vital Records will require a court order to open and release your original birth certificate and other information from the sealed file. The court order should come from either the court in which you were adopted or the Chancery Court in Davidson County, Tennessee.
You should submit the following to this office:
Tennessee law allows creation of birth certificates only for persons born in Tennessee. We can create and file a report of foreign birth for a child born in another country but adopted by a Tennessee resident. In order to accomplish this, we would need the following documentation: