Are Minnesota Vital Records Open to the Public?
Yes. Minnesota vital records are generally open to the public because Minnesota is an open records state per the Minnesota Data Practices Act. The law also guarantees members of the public the right to inspect and obtain copies of publicly available records.
What are Vital Records in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, vital records refer to official documents that contain information about vital events occurring within state limits. Records of deaths, marriages, divorces, and births are generated and maintained by the Vital Records Office of the Minnesota Department of Health. The Department is responsible for maintaining a centralized system for vital records and ensuring their confidentiality, accuracy, and accessibility.
How Do I Obtain Minnesota Vital Records?
In accordance with the Minnesota Data Practices Act, parties who wish to obtain copies of vital records in the state are generally not required to provide a form of identification or a reason for trying to obtain the records in question. However, some vital records are classified as private or confidential, and unauthorized access to the documents is restricted. In situations like this, the requestor must provide an acceptable ID that grants access to the vital record of interest or a court order that authorizes access to the vital record.
How Do I Obtain Minnesota Vital Records Online?
Minnesota vital records can be requested online from the Minnesota DPH’s website. However, given the requirements for accessing these records, the vital records orders are fulfilled in person or via mail. When requesting Minnesota vital records online, the requester will be required to provide any information necessary to facilitate this task. Generally, this information includes:
- Names of the parties on the record
- The date the vital event occurred
- The town, city, or county where the life event happened
- Case number (when searching for divorce records)
Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:
- The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved in providing it is not a juvenile
What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?
In the state of Minnesota, non-certified copies of vital records are used for informational purposes only, while certified copies of the same records may be used for official purposes, such as establishing identity and processing insurance benefits.
Are Minnesota Marriage Records Public Information?
Yes. Marriage records in Minnesota are public records and are accessible by interested members of the public.
How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Minnesota?
The Minnesota official marriage system is a database created and maintained by the state to aid interested persons to perform a search for public marriage records online. However, some counties in Minnesota do not upload marriage records. In such cases, interested parties who wish to obtain copies of marriage certificates use a third-party vendor or contact the county where the marriage license was issued. Regarding the latter, copies of marriage records typically cost $9, excluding additional fees accrued for mail requests.
How to Get a Minnesota Marriage Certificate
To obtain a Minnesota marriage certificate, contact the county registrar where the marriage license was issued or the Minnesota Department of Health. Eligibility is limited to the named individuals, their immediate family members, legal representatives, or those with a court order.
Are Minnesota Divorce Records Public Information?
Yes. Minnesota divorce records are public information in Minnesota and can be accessed by any member of the public. In some cases, however, the court may order the record custodian to seal divorce records. Sealing a divorce record typically happens when both divorcees agree to do so or if the court grants a party’s petition to seal the divorce record. Either way, good cause has to be shown before the presiding judge orders the record custodian to seal the divorce records in question.
How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Minnesota?
Besides using third-party vendors to search for and obtain divorce records, interested persons may first contact the clerk at the district court in the county where the divorce case was adjudicated. Interested persons may use this online directory to get the contact information of county clerks as well as directions to all the county courts in the state. Finally, interested parties may also view divorce records online through the centralized portal that the Minnesota judiciary maintains. However, parties who wish to search this portal must know the divorce case number.
How to Get a Certified Divorce Certificate in Minnesota
Divorce certificates can be obtained from the district court where the divorce was granted or the Minnesota Department of Health. Only the named individuals, immediate family members, legal representatives, or those with a court order are eligible to access these certificates.
Are Minnesota Birth Records Public Information?
Yes. Birth records in Minnesota are generally public records and may be requested by any member of the public. However, birth records of children born to unwed mothers are considered confidential unless the birth mother designates the birth certificate as a public record at the time of birth. Access to these records is restricted to the following parties:
- The person named on the birth certificate (must be at least 16 years old)
- A parent named on the record or a legal guardian with certified proof of guardianship
- Authorized representatives of certain state programs
- Parties who can provide a court order authorizing access to the sealed birth records
How Do I Obtain Minnesota Birth Records?
Interested parties who wish to obtain Minnesota birth records may do so by contacting any of the county vital records offices. Copies of birth records may also be obtained from the Minnesota State Office of Vital Records, the state agency that acts as central custodian for birth records. Requestors will be required to complete a birth certificate application or a non-certified birth record application, depending on the intended use of the birth certificate. Either way, the requester must enclose the form and necessary documentation in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail or fax the application packet to:
Minnesota Department of Health
Central Cashiering – Vital Records
P.O. Box 64499
St. Paul, MN 55164-0499
Fax: (651) 201-5740
The same instructions apply to persons who wish to order birth certificate replacements. Non-certified birth records may be obtained by any member of the public, while certified copies of birth certificates are typically only issued to parties with a tangible interest in the record. Certified copies of birth certificates cost $26 each, while non-certified copies of birth records cost $13 each and an additional $6 for extra copies requested at the same time.
Mail requests are characteristically slow and take an average of two (2) weeks to process. Interested members of the public who wish to obtain informational copies of Minnesota birth records may use third-party service providers.
Are Birth Certificates Public in Minnesota?
Minnesota birth certificates are not public records. The Minnesota Statutes §144.225 outlines the provisions for the disclosure of birth certificates, limiting access to the individual, immediate family, legal representatives, or those with a court order.
Are Minnesota Death Records Open to the Public?
Yes. Minnesota death records are open records and can be accessed by any interested member of the public.
How Do I Obtain Death Records in Minnesota?
Interested parties may obtain public death records from any county vital records office if the death happened after 1997. For death records before 1997, requestors must contact the local vital records office in the county where the death occurred. Interested parties can also send mail requests for death records or perform a death certificate search on the Minnesota Department of Health database. The death record search by name only covers deaths that have happened in Minnesota since 1997.
Parties who wish to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate are required to sign and date the application form in the presence of a notary public. As is the case with Minnesota birth records, certified copies of death certificates may only be obtained by interested parties who can prove a tangible interest in the record, while non-certified copies may be obtained by completing a different application form. Either way, certified and non-certified death records cost $13 per copy and $6 for each extra copy of the same record.
How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Minnesota?
Adoption records in the state of Minnesota are sealed by statutory law and may only be accessed by authorized parties, including the adoptee and adoptive parents. Adoptees may obtain non-certified copies of birth records by filing an adopted person’s request for original birth record information. The adoptive parents must use a separate request form - request for the original birth record of an adopted person application form. Then, the requester must enclose the record in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail the record to:
Minnesota Department of Health
Central Cashiering – Vital Records
P.O. Box 64499
St. Paul, MN 55164-0499
What are Vital Statistics in Minnesota?
Minnesota vital statistics are data relating to the birth, death, marriage, divorce, still birth of Minnesota residents. They are essential for public health planning, disease control, policy development, and resource allocation. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Office of Vital Records collect and maintain vital statistics.