The fee for a search of the file which entitles the applicant to one certified copy of the record if found is:
- Birth Certificate $20
- Death Certificate $20
- Marriage Certificate $20
A charge of $3 is required for each additional copy of the certificate ordered at the same time as the first copy.
What is the difference between a “certified” and an “uncertified” copy of a birth certificate?
A certified copy of a birth certificate issued by the Local Vital Records Office will have a raised seal, will show the signature of the Local Registrar, and will be printed on security paper. A certified copy may be required to obtain a state-issued driver’s license or identification, for travel to foreign countries, to obtain a passport, or for benefit purposes. State law restricts who may obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate. A certified copy can only be issued to those people with a “direct and tangible interest” (section II, categories A – E) which means the following people:
- The person named on the birth certificate (section II, category A).
- An immediate family member, defined as current spouse, current domestic partner (Declaration of Domestic Partnership registered in the Wis. Vital Records System under Chapter 770, Wis. Stats.), child, or parent (whose name is on the birth certificate and whose parental rights have not been terminated), brother/sister, or grandparent of a subject of the record (section II, category B).
- NOTE: Grandchildren, step-parents, and step-children can only obtain certified copies as in section II, categories C – E.
- The legal custodian or guardian of the person named on the birth certificate. Legal proof, e.g., a court order of custody or guardianship, is required (section II, category C).
- A person authorized in writing by one of the above. A written and notarized authorization must accompany the application and the authorization must clearly state the relationship of the authorizing party to the subject of the record (section II, category D).
- A person who can demonstrate that the birth certificate is required to determine or to protect a personal or property right (section II, category E). Proof is required.
If you do not meet one of the above criteria, you cannot receive a certified copy of a birth certificate.
An uncertified copy will contain the same information as a certified copy but it is not acceptable for legal purposes, such as proof of identity (section II, category F).
Limitations on access to certain birth certificates
An uncertified copy will contain the same information as a certified copy but it is not acceptable for legal purposes, such as proof of identity.
According to Chapter 69, Wis. Stats., uncertified copies of the following types of birth certificates may not be obtained by anyone:
A child born to unmarried parents and paternity has not been established.
A child born to unmarried parents and paternity was established by court order.
Only persons with a “direct and tangible interest” (categories A – E) may obtain certified copies of those types of birth certificates listed directly above.
How long will it take to process my request?
- Applying in Person
In-person requests for certified or uncertified copies of birth certificates are usually completed within minutes of application, if the birth certificate is on file, and Internet access is available.
- Applying by Mail
Requests for certified or uncertified copies of birth certificates are processed the same day of the request is received plus mail time to complete.
What identification is required when applying for a certified or uncertified copy of a birth certificate?
A photocopy of the applicant’s current ID as listed below must be submitted with all fax mail applications. A current ID as listed below is required when applying in-person. At least one form of ID must show your current name and current address. Expired cards or documents will not be accepted.
The acceptable forms of identification are:
One of these:
Wisconsin driver’s license
Wisconsin photo ID
Out-of-state driver’s license or photo ID card
Two of these:
Government-issued employee ID card or badge with photo
Check or bank book
Major Credit Card
Health Insurance Card
Recent dated, signed lease
Recent utility bill or traffic ticket