County Vital Records Office Reference
On this page: Authorized Requesters, Adoption, Adding a Father to the Birth Record, Amending a Birth Record, Corrections to Birth and Death Records, Data Practices, Death Record Amendments, Death Registration by Family, Delayed Registration, Fees, Home Births, Marriage, Parent Notices, Record Retention, and VA Birth and Death Certificates
The Authorized Requesters Table (PDF) is a job aid for county vital records office personnel. It lists the persons or entities who may buy vital records documents by document type. The table also lists requirements by requester. For example: Employee ID, Parent's name must be on the subject’s record, MN Attorney License Number.
- Minnesota Statutes, section 144.225
- Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.23
- Minnesota Statutes, chapter 260E
After a child born in Minnesota is adopted, the district court completes a Certificate of Adoption form and mails the form, along with the $40 fee, to the Office of Vital Records at the Minnesota Department of Health. The original birth record is replaced with a record showing the new information. The original record is confidential and may be released only to a birth parent listed on the record, the adopted person if the birth parent(s) have given written consent, or by court order.
If the child was born in another country and adopted by people who live in Minnesota, the adoptive parents file the adoption papers from the country of birth with the district court in the county where they live. The district court completes a Certificate of Adoption form and mails the form, along with the $40 fee, to the Office of Vital Records. The information provided on the Certificate of Adoption form is used to create a Minnesota birth record. The birth certificate for this child will state that the certificate is not evidence of United States citizenship.
For additional information, see the MDH Birth Records after Adoption webpage.
Add a father to the birth record
There are two ways to add an unmarried father to his child’s birth record.
Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage
Parents who are not married to each other may use the Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form to voluntarily establish paternity for a child born to them. When both parents agree that the man is the biological father, they sign the form. The form must be filed with the Office of Vital Records so that the father's name is added to the birth record. There is no fee to file an ROP. Certified copies of ROPs are issued only by the Office of Vital Records.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services administers the Recognition of Parentage Program. ROP forms and other parentage forms may be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services Forms website.
A paternity adjudication is a court order legally establishing paternity. When a certified copy of the order and a $40 fee are submitted to the Office of Vital Records, the original birth record is replaced with a record showing the father’s information. The original record is confidential and cannot be issued without court-ordered direction.
For additional information, see the MDH Birth Records and Paternity webpage.
Amending a Birth Record
An amendment is any change made to an item that prints on a birth certificate. An amendment is required to make changes to items that print on the birth certificate after (a) issuance of a birth certificate or (b) after the subject is one year old, whichever occurs first. A person authorized to request amendment of items that print on the birth certificate must:
- Read the Birth Amendment Packet (PDF). The packet includes the amendment application, instructions for filling out the application and, what the customer needs to know about "supporting documents"
- Gather the documents to support the requested changes
- Fill out the Birth Record Amendment Application included in the amendment packet
- Sign the Birth Record Amendment Application form in front of a notary public
- Mail the notarized Birth Record Amendment Application, supporting documents and the required fees to the Office of Vital Records at the address on the amendment application
For additional information, see the MDH Birth Record Amendments webpage.
Corrections to Birth and Death Records
A correction is a change made to a birth or death record before issuance of a certificate and within one year of the date of the event.County vital records offices may
- Correct a birth record upon receipt of a parent notice
- Complete a Data Entry Error Correction (for birth record filed before 2001) (PDF) to correct a pre-2001 birth record
- Direct persons who want changes to the cause or manner of death to the medical certifier who originally provided the cause of death or a coroner/medical examiner from the county where the death occurred
Changes to health or medical information on birth or death records, including the cause or manner of death, are also corrections. Only the Office of Vital Records may make these corrections.
Data Practices - birth and death records
The legal and demographic information on most birth records is public. Information on records for children born to unmarried parents is confidential unless the mother indicated at the time of birth that the record should be public. All health information and social security numbers are private.
All data on a death record is public, including the medical data and decedent’s social security number.
Fetal death reports
The data on fetal death reports is classified the same as birth records.
Death Record Amendments
Changes or additions to death records after issuance of certificates, or a year or more after the death are “amendments”.
Anyone may request a change to a death record. A person might want to change wrong information on a death certificate they purchased; or a person might want to add missing information to a death certificate.
County vital records offices may amend records within five years after the death. Requests may come from funeral homes or others.
Requests from funeral homes
- Funeral homes use a distinct application form - Funeral Home Application to Amend a Minnesota Death Record (PDF).
- The form is good for amendment requests made within a year of the death.
- No documents are required to support the amendment.
- A funeral home may request an amendment from a county or the state vital records office a year or more after the death but must complete the Death Record Amendment Application (PDF) . Supporting documentation is required.
Requests from other individuals
- Individual must complete the Death Record Amendment Application (PDF) , and
- Individual must provide documents to back up the amendment request
- More information is on Change a Death Record
- No documentation is necessary if the individual is the informant named on the death record and the amendment request is made within a year of the death
Amendment requests made five years or more after the death must go to the Office of Vital Records.
Cause or manner of death changes
A request to change the cause or manner of death on a death record, even after issuance of a certificate is a correction.
The person who wants to request a change to the cause or manner of death must contact the medical certifier listed on the death certificate. The medical certifier named on the death certificate, or the medical examiner in the county where the death occurred, must approve requests to change the cause or manner of death.
Death Registration by Family
A family that chooses not to use the services of a funeral home must register the death directly with the Office of Vital Records. Please refer families to the Office of Vital Records Help Desk at 651-201-5970.
A birth, death, or fetal death, not registered with the Minnesota Department of Health Office of Vital Records within one year of the birth, death, or fetal death, is considered 'delayed'.
'Delayed registrations' require supporting documentation and payment of a fee. Customers who need to file a delayed birth or death must contact the Office of Vital Records Help Desk at 651-201-5970 for forms and information.
Certificates and records
Reports of birth or death record data
- $15 per report
- Death data, or public birth data
- Time span - no greater than one year
A birth occurring outside of a birthing facility must be registered directly with the Office of Vital Records. The midwife or parent registering the birth must contact the Office of Vital Records Help Desk at 651-201-5970.
Each month, county vital records offices must report the number of marriage certificates filed the previous month.
At the beginning of each year, county vital records offices must report the number of civil marriage licenses issued for the previous year. For the annual report, the Office of Vital Records needs to know the number of licenses sold at the full fee and the number sold at the reduced fee. The Annual Report of Marriage Licenses Issued opens in January for about a month. The Office of Vital Records notifies county vital records offices when the annual report form opens.
To file your county's report, see the County Office Marriage Reporting webpage.
A parent notice or “parent verification” form is printed with the information that will appear on the child's birth certificate. Parents can review the information that will be on the birth certificate for accuracy and use the form to request corrections (if needed) and to order certificates.
All government records must be maintained in accordance with a record retention schedule. Birth and death records are maintained forever, but many of the documents you deal with daily should not be kept indefinitely. Retention Schedule Number 04-115 (PDF) was created in 2004 for use by local issuance offices to help manage birth and death records.
For more information about county records management and retention please contact the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC).
VA Birth and Death Certificates
Complimentary VA certificates are available from Minnesota vital records offices. The VA certificates help families and veterans to present claims to United States Veterans Administration or in connection with any veteran’s organization or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The requester must complete an application and show acceptable identification to obtain one or more VA certificates.
VA certificates are available to:
- The surviving spouse or next of kin of a veteran
- Service officers of veteran's organizations chartered by the U.S. Congress or the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs
County vital records offices must process requests for VA certificates by selecting “Certified birth certificate (VA)” or “Certified death certificate (VA)” in MR&C. Do not waive fees to issue regular certificates.