Washington Vital Records
Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
Are Washington Vital Records Open to the Public?
Vital records are generally considered public records and thus open to members of the public in the state of Washington. However, according to the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 42.56.365, following an amendment effective from January 1, 2021, all vital records shall no longer be subject to the Washington Public Records Act which grants any member of the public the right to inspect and/or copy these records. Under the new Vital Statistics Law, information included in vital records may only be disclosed to parties authorized by the Washington State Department of Health.
What Information Do I Need to Search for Washington Vital Records Online?
Parties who wish to search for Washington vital records online will be required to provide the following information:
- Name(s) of the registrant(s) on the record
- The date the vital event occurred
- The city or county the event took place
In addition to these, requestors may also be required to provide additional information such as the location the event took place when searching for marriage and divorce records. Publicly available vital records are also accessible from some third-party websites.* These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
*Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What Do I Need to Obtain Washington Vital Records?
Parties who wish to obtain copies of vital records in the state of Washington are generally not required to provide any form of identification. However, some vital records contain confidential sections. This information may only be accessed either by requestors who are named on the record and can provide proof of identity or by court order. In addition to this, requestors who wish to obtain copies of vital records for research purposes or statistical studies may be required to submit a letter of request.
What’s the difference between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?
Generally, the main difference between a certified copy of a record and an informational copy of the same record is the fact that the certified copy of a record is considered the same as the original record and can be used for legal purposes while an informational copy may not be used as a legal document. With effect from January 1, 2021, under RCW Chapter.70.58A.530, certified copies of vital records in the state of Washington may only be issued to qualified applicants which include, the registrant, the registrant’s spouse or domestic partner, children or step-children, parents or step-parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren, legal guardians, legal representatives, and authorized governmental bodies.
Are Washington Marriage Records Public Information?
Marriage Records in Washington are presently open records and may be accessed by any member of the public.
How do I find marriage records in Washington?
The Washington State Department of Health maintains and issues records of all marriages that occurred in the state from 1968 to date. These records are indexed and can be found at the Washington State Library. Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of these records in person or via mail will be required to complete either a Marriage/Divorce Certificate Counter Order Form or a Marriage/Divorce Certificate Mail Order Form respectively. In-person requests should be made at:
Washington State Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
Town Center 1
101 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
Are Washington Divorce Records Public Information?
Generally, any member of the public may obtain information on any divorce that occurs in the state. However, some Divorce Records contain information that is considered confidential under statutory law and thus may not be accessed by unauthorized parties. Some of this information includes
- Retirement plan orders
- Vital statistics forms
- Notices of intent to relocate
- Certain family law and guardianship reports
- Sealed financial source documents such as income tax returns and credit card statements.
How do I find Divorce Records in Washington?
Interested parties may find, and where possible, obtain copies of divorce records by utilizing a third-party website. Requestors who choose to make use of this method will be required to provide the online vendor with any necessary information that will facilitate the search for the required records such as the location of the divorce and the names of parties involved. Interested parties may also obtain copies of divorce records for divorces that occurred from 1968-date in person at the Washington State Department of Health. Parties who wish to obtain records via this method will be required to complete and submit a Marriage/Divorce Certificate Counter Order Form.
A Marriage/Divorce Certificate Mail Order Form is also available for interested parties who wish to obtain these records via mail. In addition to this, interested parties may also obtain copies of divorce records by contacting the office of the clerk at the court where the divorce proceeding was heard.
Are Washington Birth Records Public Information?
Birth Records are presently considered public records in Washington. However, most Washington birth records contain a confidential section which is usually redacted if the record is obtained by a party who is not a registrant on the record.
How Do I Find Washington Birth Records?
Birth records in Washington typically fall under two categories, Pre-1907, and Post-1907. Records of births that occurred before 1907 are maintained and issued by the respective counties where the birth occurred while records of births that occurred from 1907-date are maintained by the Washington State Department of Health.
Interested parties who wish to obtain these birth records may either do so online via a third-website or by contacting the state Department of Health located at
Center for Health Statistics
Town Center 1
101 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
Department of Health
P.O. Box 9709
Are Washington Death Records Open to the Public?
Most Death Records are open to members of the public. However, some death records include a confidential section and the information contained in this section is usually redacted unless the record is obtained with a court order authorizing the disclosure of this information. As is the case with birth records, death records in the state of Washington are also grouped into Pre-1907 deaths and Post-1907 deaths.
How Do I Find Death Records in Washington?
Interested parties who wish to locate and obtain copies of death records may do so online through a third-party website. Death records for post-1907 deaths can also be obtained at the state department of health after completing either a Birth/Death Certificate Counter Order Form or a Birth/Death Certificate Mail Order Form. Copies of all vital records typically cost $20 per certificate requested. It should, however, be noted that interested parties who wish to obtain copies of vital records through a method other than the walk-in/in-person method may be required to pay an additional service fee which may vary depending on the request method utilized.
How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Washington?
In the state of Washington, adoption records are automatically sealed and original copies of these records may only be accessed by either an adult adoptee, a birth parent who is a registrant on the record or by parties who can obtain a court order showing good cause as to why the record should be unsealed. To obtain an original (pre-adoption) non-certified copy of a birth certificate from the state Department of Health, interested parties are required to complete an Adoptee Request for Original Birth Certificate from Adoption Sealed File. However, if an affidavit of non-disclosure has been filed by the birth parent on the record, then the requestor may not be able to obtain a copy of the birth record. Also, birth parents who wish to obtain copies of a birth certificate for their adopted child are required to complete a Birth Parent Request for Original Birth Certificate from Adoption Sealed File.
These forms and all applicable fees may be submitted via mail to
Department of Health/CHS
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507-9709
Copies of adoptee birth certificates cost $20 per copy. Parties who wish to make birth parent requests for birth certificates are also required to pay a non-refundable $15 fee for the opening of a sealed file. All fees should be in the form of either in checks, cashier’s checks or money orders made payable to the Department of Health.