Are Birth Records Public in Minnesota
Per Minnesota Statutes § 144.225, vital records which include birth records are public information in Minnesota. However, under sub-section 2 of the statute, birth certificates and records of children born out of wedlock are confidential. These records are only disclosable to eligible persons and entities as well as for particular reasons. Examples of eligible individuals, entities, and reasons for disclosing confidential birth records include:
- A parent or guardian of the child
- The child provided they are 16 years or older
- The child if they are homeless regardless of their age
- Pursuant to a court order
- The Commissioner of Human Sevices
- Tribal child support programs
Furthermore, unless the child is adopted, their birth records generally become public after 100 years. However, under Minnesota statutes § 13.10, if 30 years has elapsed since the creation of a confidential birth record and ten (10) years has passed since the death of its registrant, the record becomes public birth records.
Birth records in Minnesota are maintained at the state level by the state Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records and at the county level by counties' vital records offices. The MDH Office of Vital Record also provides the data used by the Minnesota Vital Statistics System (MVSS) in compiling the state’s vital statistics of vital events.
What are Birth Records in Minnesota?
A Minnesota birth record is a document issued by the government that records the birth of a person that occurs within the boundaries of the state. It usually includes the names of the subject's parents and is one of the first legal documents any individual may acquire. Generally, a birth record is used for vital statistics, military, tax, and census purposes in the United States. Birth records in Minnesota also contain information on the circumstances of births. Birth registration is the only legal way for any child to own a birth certificate. Statewide birth registration in Minnesota started in 1908, and by 1915, there was general compliance.
A Minnesota birth record has two parts. One part is a legal record, while the other contains medical and private information. For all births to married parents, the legal part of the record is a public record. Mothers who are not married at the time of childbirth may choose to make the birth record public at the time of birth. In Minnesota, birth records are a legal record used as legal proof of age, parentage, and citizenship. They are also required to enroll in school, apply for a driver's license, play on a sports team, apply for a passport, and Social Security. Any Minnesota birth record will contain the following information:
- Full name of the child (record owner)
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Name of parents
- Mother's marital status and maiden name
- Type of birth
- Sex of child
- Place and date of birth registration, including birth registration number
Where to Find Public Birth Records in Minnesota
Interested persons can find and obtain Minnesota public birth records through the state Department of Health’s office of vital records, a county vital record office, or third-party online vendors. Record seekers may also use the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) online database to inspect public birth records registered between 1900 to 1934. Any aforementioned sources can provide uncertified copies of Minnesota public birth records on request. Uncertified birth records are informational copies of birth records. These types of birth records can not be used for legal purposes.
Unfortunately, the MDOH does not offer walk in services for ordering and inspecting Minnesota public birth records. Hence, record seekers would need to complete and submit a noncertified birth record application by mail or fax to the address or fax number indicated at the bottom of the form. Furthermore, in certain situations, the record seeker may need to sign their application in front of a notary public. These circumstances include when the record seeker is the mother listed on the record and they want the registrant's health information included on the certified copy or when they are unsure of the record's privacy status. The record seeker would also need to send relevant fees along with the application.
Record seekers can also inspect and order public birth records through county vital record offices. While some county vital record offices offer walk in services for ordering public birth records, for example, Hennepin county and Ramsey county vital record offices. Others like Olmsted county may require record seekers to book an appointment to order public birth records in person. County vital records offices typically maintain dedicated application form record seekers can complete and submit along with relevant fees and supporting documentation to request public birth records. Inquirers can request these forms at a county vital record office. These forms may also be found on the official websites of counties. These forms are generally tagged as “non-certified birth applications”.
Lastly, record seekers can opt to place an online order for Minnesota public birth records through third-party online vendors. To use these online vendors, the record seekers would need to know the registrant's full name, birth date, and state and county of birth. It should be noted that these websites are run independently by private entities and are not sponsored by the government. As such, the accuracy and availability of records may differ by service providers and from government sources.
How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Minnesota
Interested individuals can look up birth records in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). The MNHS has indexes and records of births that occurred in the state between 1900 and 1934 online. It is publicly accessible. Users must provide the given, first, and last names of the subject in the search field to look up records of births that occurred within this period.
The Office of Vital Records of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) currently has no provision for looking up birth records online. Individuals who wish to obtain a birth record online may order it from any state-approved third-party vital record provider. Requesters should note that these independent providers charge additional fees for their services.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
How to Get Birth Records in Minnesota
The Office of Vital Records of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) maintains birth records and issues them upon request in Minnesota. County Vital Records Offices are also repositories to records of births that take place in the counties. Interested persons may either order certified or non-certified birth records. A certified copy of a Minnesota birth record may be used for legal use, but a non-certified copy is only for informational use. Requesters must notarize their application forms before presenting such requests.
The Office of Vital Records rejects application forms that are incomplete, not notarized, or not fully paid at the point of application. It also returns applications for confidential records or records with health information, particularly for a non-certified birth record request, if not notarized. Requesters should use the Non-certified Birth Record Application Form to apply for non-certified Minnesota birth records. To obtain a certified copy of a birth record in Minnesota, an interested party should use the Birth Certificate Application Form. The available options for ordering copies of birth records from the Vital Record Offices include:
In-Person Minnesota Birth Record Request
The State Office of Vital Records does not process in-person birth record requests. Persons interested in obtaining Minnesota birth records in person should visit their local county Vital Records Offices where such events occurred. Requesters must provide copies of their valid photo IDs and make necessary payments to obtain birth records in person.
Mail-In Minnesota Birth Record Request
Both the State Office of Vital Records and the County Vital Records Office accept mail applications for Minnesota birth records. Interested individuals must enclose in their requests proof of payment, completed application forms, self-addressed stamped envelopes, valid proof of identification, and other required documents. Requesters are encouraged to call the receiving offices to make inquiries on all documents required in order to forestall delays in processing their applications.
Where Can I Find Birth Records in Minnesota?
Eligible individuals can get birth records in Minnesota from the State Office of Vital Records and any County Vital Records Office. Minnesota birth records registered before 1900 can be obtained from the county of birth or the Minnesota Historical Society. The State Vital Record Office has birth records from 1900 to date. Requesters can either visit these offices or send mail applications.
- To obtain a Minnesota birth record at the State Office of Vital Records, send a mail request to:
Minnesota Department of Health
Office of Vital Records
P.O. Box 64499
St. Paul, MN 55164-0499
- Requesters can obtain Minnesota birth records from the locations of their local County Vital Record Offices where such births occurred in person or by mail.
- To get birth records maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society, interested persons can submit their requests in person or via mail at/to:
Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Phone: (651) 259-3000
In any instance that a Minnesota Vital Records Office cannot find a requested birth record, the office will issue a "Statement of No Birth Record Found" to the requester. Requesters can contact the Office of Vital Records by email or call (651) 201-5970 for inquiries in Minnesota birth records.
How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in Minnesota
No hospital is authorized to issue birth records in Minnesota. Although most births occur at the hospitals, the official repository of birth records in the state is the Office of Vital Records of the Minnesota Department of Health. Copies of birth records are also available at the local Vital Records Office in the county where such births occurred.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Minnesota?
Anyone can obtain non-certified copies of birth records in Minnesota. Most birth records of persons born out of wedlock are confidential. Individuals requesting Minnesota confidential birth records must ensure to notarize their application forms to avoid rejection. Per Minnesota Statutes, section 144.255, subdivisions 2 and 7, access to a confidential birth record in Minnesota is restricted to the following persons:
- The person named on the certificate if the individual is at least 16 years old
- A legal parent who must tender a certified copy of guardianship documents
- A parent named on the certificate
- A person who has obtained a court order for the release of a birth certificate
- Delegates of Minnesota programs that provide medical assistance, child support, and services
Persons and entities listed below can obtain a certified birth certificate (public) in Minnesota:
- The person named in the certificate (Registrant)
- A parent named on the registrant's certificate
- The registrant's grandparent
- The registrant's child
- The registrant's great-grandparent
- The registrant's grandchild
- The current spouse of the registrant
- The registrant's great-grandchild
- Registrant's health caregiver who must provide a power of attorney document
- Party responsible for filing registrant's birth record, usually a birth attendant or health professional
- Registrant's conservator, guardian, or legal custodian who must tender a certified copy or a court order designating them as such
- An adoption agency
- Registrant's legal representatives
- Attorney (Attorney's License Number required)
- Registrant's successor (for a case where the registrant is deceased)
- An employee of a local, state, or federal agency who must provide their employee ID
- A person who has obtained an order of the court for release of a birth certificate (this is different from a subpoena)
Besides completing their application forms, persons requesting birth certificates in Minnesota must provide their valid photo IDs. The acceptable ones include:
- State identification card
- Driver's license
- Military ID card
How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Minnesota?
One copy of a certified birth certificate in Minnesota costs $26. Reprints in the same order as the one purchased at $26 cost $19 each. Per Minnesota Statutes, section 144.226, this fee is non-refundable. One copy of a non-certified Minnesota birth certificate costs $13, while duplicates in the same request come at $6 each. Expedited request processing costs $20, excluding United Parcel Service (UPS) cost. Requesters who opt for UPS delivery will pay an additional $16 on their orders while there is no extra cost for certificates delivered by Regular First Class Mail.
All the Vital Records Offices in Minnesota charge a uniform amount for birth certificates. However, payment options differ by county. While some counties may accept credit card payments, others may not. Generally, the State Office of Vital Records accepts payment by check, credit card, or money order. All money orders and checks are payable to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Any birth certificate request sent to the Vital Records Office without proof of payment will not be processed. The MDH advises requesters never to mail cash. Checks returned for non-payment typically results in a $30 charge awarded against the requesters. Such can equally lead to civil charges against them.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Minnesota?
Requesters may get copies of birth certificates in Minnesota for applications made in person at the County Vital Records Offices the same day. Requests mailed to the Office of Vital Records takes between two and three weeks to be processed from the day of receipt. Persons who want expedited processing and delivery may have their requests fulfilled in less than seven business days. Such requesters should, however, write "Expedite" on their envelopes.
How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Minnesota
Expungement of records is the process by which such documents are destroyed from the state and federal records. Such erasures are executed in ways that make it seem like the records never existed in the first place. Most expungement proceedings happen in state courts. In Minnesota, per Minnesota Administrative Rules 4601.1400, the State Registrar is authorized to expunge a birth record that did not occur in Minnesota but was documented. However, this exempts birth records registered according to Minnesota Statutes, section 144.218, subdivision 2, for an individual born abroad and adopted in Minnesota.
How to Get a New Birth Certificate in Minnesota
Provided an individual is eligible under state law, they can request a new original copy of a birth certificate from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records (OVR) or a county’s vital records office. The fastest way state residents can order a new certified copy of their birth certificate is through a Minnesota county vital records office. Most county vital record offices offer both in-person walk in services and accepts requests for birth certificates sent by mail. For expedited service, record seekers are advised to make their request in person. Certified birth certificate request forms are typically maintained by county vital record offices. These forms are usually available on counties' official websites. Record seekers can complete and mail these forms along with the required fees and supporting documentation to the appropriate county vital record office to request a new birth certificate.
State residents can also order a new copy of an original birth certificate through the Minnesota Department of Health’s OVR. The OVR does not offer walk in services, they only accept applications sent by mail or fax. Record seekers can complete the birth certificate application form and submit it along with relevant fees and supporting documentation to the OVR. The OVR mailing address and the fax number are provided at the bottom of the form.
The OVR is the only state source for obtaining new original copies of birth certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth. As such, eligible persons can obtain these types of birth certificates by completing the stillbirth certificate application and submitting it along with necessary fees and supporting documentation to the OVR.
Record seekers can also opt to place an online order for a new birth certificate application through a third-party online vendor website. Although these websites offer an easy way of obtaining birth certificates as they are not geographically limited, they are not sponsored by the government. As a result availability and accuracy of records are unguaranteed.
Can You Find Minnesota Birth Certificates Online?
The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) online database is the only government source interested persons can use to find Minnesota birth certificates online. As mentioned earlier, the MNHS only maintains records of births that occurred between 1900 to 1934. Another way interested persons can find recent Minnesota birth certificates online is through third-party online vendors.
How to Seal Your Birth Records in Minnesota
Once an adoption is concluded in Minnesota, the District Court in the county where the adoptive parents reside completes a Certificate of Adoption form. The completed form is then sent to the State Vital Records Office. The Office of Vital records extracts the information provided by the court to prepare an amended birth record. After this, the District Court proceeds to seal the adoptee's original birth record and other adoption documents. Minnesota sealed adoption records are closed for 100 years from the date of adoption under Minnesota Statutes 259.61, 259.83, and 259.89. Only court orders can authorize their disclosure, except if they have been closed for over 100 years. Hence there is no need to petition to seal adoption records. Minnesota adoption records are automatically sealed for 100 years. Only after 100 years have passed are sealed Minnesota adoption records disclosable to the general public.
How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Minnesota
Persons eligible to access identifying information in a sealed Minnesota birth record include the adoptee (age 19 or older), adoptee's birth parents, and adoptee's adult birth siblings. Disclosure to birth siblings is subject to the consent of birth parents. Identifying information may also be released to adoptee's siblings if it is not considered the birth parents' privacy violation. An adoptee, age 19 or older, and the adoptive parents can access the non-identifying information in a Minnesota adoption record.
Any adoptee who wants to request a non-certified copy of a sealed original birth record must be at least 19 years old. The adoptee should complete the Adopted Person's Request for Original Record Information Form and submit it to the Office of Vital Records by mail. If the Office of Vital Records has birth parents' consent to disclose original birth record information to the adoptee, it will. If not, the Office of Vital Records will notify the adoptee in a letter declaring that the original birth record is unavailable.
Adoptive parents can access an adoptee's original birth record in Minnesota by completing a birth certificate application at the District Court in the county where the adoption occurred. The adoptive parent may then apply to the Office of Vital Records once the court issues an order of release.
Who Signs Birth and Death Certificates in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the location where births occur determines who prepares and signs birth certificates. If a birth occurs in or while en route to an institution, the person in charge of the institution or their designee is responsible for preparing the birth certificate. See Minnesota Statutes § 144.215. Meanwhile, if birth occurs outside an institution, the physician present at the time of birth or immediately after prepares and signs the birth certificate. Any of the following individuals in the listed order of preference, may prepare the birth certificate if there is no physician present:
- Anyone present at the time of birth or immediately afterward,
- The child’s father
- The child’s mother
- The person who is principally in charge of the location where the child was delivered.
According to Minnesota statutes § 4601.1800, death certificates are signed by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, coroner, or medical examiner.
What is a Minnesota Birth Index?
Minnesota birth index is a database that contains details of births recorded in the state. The only Minnesota birth index that is maintained by the government is the Minnesota Historical Society’s online people records search database. Some third-party online vendor that offers record search services may also sport certain variations of Minnesota birth indexes on their website.