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How to Find a Birth Record in Michigan?

What Are Birth Records in Michigan?

Michigan birth records are the official documentation of birth occurrences in Michigan. A birth record is a legal record that provides formal recognition by a state of a child's birth and a permanent and official record of a child's existence. Information from birth records is critical towards identifying and quantifying health-related issues and measuring progress toward quality improvement and public health goals.

A Michigan birth record consists of the following data:

  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Child's full name
  • Mother's name
  • Father's name
  • Child's gender
  • Type of birth
  • Mother's marital status
  • Birth registration number

Each certified birth record issued in Michigan has a similar appearance since March 2003 and birth records before 1950 have had this appearance since March 2001. A certified Michigan birth record is printed on a special paper containing several security features. These include a unique pantographic background, microprinting, visible fibers, invisible fibers, true watermarks, artificial watermarks, thermochromic ink, and a die embossed raised seal.

Michigan birth record issuing authority cautions that requesters do not accept any copy of a birth record if the three heat-sensitive images on the back do not disappear when rubbed or pressed. A birth record copy should also be declined if the presence of the watermarks in the paper by holding the paper to light cannot be verified. A true Michigan birth record contains three distinctive identifying numbers:

  • The state file number identifying the record of birth
  • The AFS number that identifies the requester of the copy
  • The security paper number in red bleed through ink that identifies the copy

In accordance with MCL 333.2894, a person shall not willfully and knowingly make a false statement in a birth record or report required to be filed or for a certified copy of a birth certificate. Any individual who runs afoul of this provision is considered guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 1 year, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Michigan?

Michigan does not provide online access for the public to look up birth records online. Birth records are only made available to specific categories of persons. However, Michigan partners with an independent company as the only authorized birth record online service provider. Online orders are more typically used for urgent requests. Persons interested in using this service can select 'Order A Record Online' from the left side menu bar on the Michigan Department of Human and Health Services (MDHHS) website.

Note that an individual can request their own birth record as well as their children's birth records online. Birth records older than 100 years can still be ordered online. However, persons requesting birth records as heirs of deceased individuals whose records are less than 100 years old, must submit their requests via mail. Heirloom birth records can be ordered through Michigan's third-party birth record online service provider.

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 Michigan?

Birth records in Michigan are available from 1867. However, the initial registration year varies by the county where the birth occurred. Michigan allows eligible persons to obtain birth records by mail or in person. Under Michigan law (MCL 333.2891(3)), the identity of the requester must be verified before releasing a copy or allowing a change to a birth record. The state allows for three tiers of documentation to be provided by requesters seeking to obtain birth records: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3. No photo identification is required to obtain any birth record above 100 years in Michigan.

A Tier 1 documentation establishes identity. Acceptable Tier 1 documentations include:

  • United States or a foreign passport
  • United States passport card
  • United States or United States territories driver's license or identification card
  • A United States Military Identification Card with both picture and signature
  • Other United States or United States Territories issued document that meets the following criteria:
  1. Document must be unexpired.
  2. Document must contain a photograph and at least the following information: name, date of birth, date of expiration, signature, and address.

Tier 2 documentation must include all documents in one of the following categories:

  • Any of the documents in Tier 1 that has expired within the past 5 years and any one document from Tier 3 issued within the past year.
  • Employment identification with a photo, accompanied with a pay stub or W-2 form issued within the past year.
  • Student identification with a photo, accompanied by a current report card or other proof of current school enrollment. Both documents must be for the same institution.
  • Department of Corrections identification card accompanied by probation or discharge papers issued within the past year.
  • If an inmate is currently incarcerated, a Department of Corrections identification card, accompanied by a verification of incarceration issued within the past year

Tier 3 documentation must include a minimum of three alternative documents of different types from the list below. One of the documents must have been issued within the past year:

  • Any of the documents in the Tier 1 document expired more than 5 years ago.
  • Social Security Card (must be signed)
  • Marriage or Divorce certificate
  • IRS form W-2
  • Paycheck stub
  • Bank statement
  • Voter registration
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Health insurance card
  • Utility Bill
  • Doctor/hospital/dentist bill
  • Religious or community organization documents
  • Military DD-214 discharge paper or equivalent
  • School records
  • Letter or benefit statement from a government agency such as SSA or IRS
  • Land or rental agreement
  • Military ID with either a picture or signature.
  • Other documents that establish identity to a degree equivalent to those listed above

Mail Requests

To obtain a Michigan birth record by mail, download and complete an Application for a certified Copy form and enclose with the appropriate fee in a mail to:

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Vital Records Requests
P.O. Box 30721
Lansing, MI 48909

Send “RUSH” record requests (expedited requests) to:

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Vital Records RUSH
P.O. Box 30721
Lansing, MI 48909

In-Person Requests

To make an in-person request for a Michigan birth record, visit the Vital Records office at:

333 South Grand Avenue
South Grand Building, 1st Floor
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: (517) 335-8666

The office is open between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except for State holidays. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vital Records office is closed to the general public until further notice.

Persons interested in obtaining heirloom birth certificates can do so by completing the Heirloom Birth Certificate Application form. A requester must provide a current valid driver's license, state-issued photo ID, or passport. Also, include a check or money order for the appropriate fee. This fee covers the certificate fee and the cost of returning the request via regular mail. Send the order form, fee, and valid photo ID to:

Vital Records Requests
P.O. Box 30721
Lansing, MI 48909

Note that the heirloom birth certificate is not a certified copy and cannot be used for legal purposes. Therefore, it cannot serve as legal proof of birth.

Birth records can also be obtained from the county clerk or registrar in the counties where births occur. Mail addresses and office locations are available on the various county government websites in Michigan.

Under Michigan law (MCL 333.2891(6)), a veteran can also obtain a certified copy of a birth record at no charge, for the purpose of securing a veteran's bonus, pension, or compensation. This copy will be marked "For Veterans Benefits Only, Not For Personal Use" and will only be valid for any of the listed purposes. A current valid photo ID is required if a veteran requests a personal birth record. However, a photo ID of the heir must be submitted if an eligible heir requests a veteran’s benefit copy of a birth record for the purpose of applying for benefits. Use the regular mail application form to apply for a veteran's benefit copy and indicate on the application that the purpose for the request is to secure a veteran's benefit or pension. Also, attach a copy of the DD-214 (or equivalent) military discharge to the application as well as a current valid photo ID.

Michigan also makes authenticated or exemplified copies of birth records available to requesters. These are birth records containing an apostille. Authenticated birth records contain the Great Seal of Michigan and are usually required by a foreign government for international adoption, work visa, marriage, establishing dual citizenship, or court action in a foreign country. The same eligibility rules apply to exemplified records as to certified copies of a birth record. Requesters must provide the name of the foreign country where the document will be used when placing a request for an authenticated birth record. An apostille cannot be applied to a document that will be used in the United States.

Anyone with an emergent need for a birth record can contact the Vital Records office at (517) 335-8666, option 3, or VRCustomerService@michigan.gov.

Where Can I Find Birth Records in Michigan?

Michigan birth records are maintained by the State of Michigan Vital Records Office. The Office is a division of the Michigan Department of Human and Health Services (MDHHS). Birth records are available as early as 1867. Michigan birth records are also maintained locally with the county clerks or registrars in the counties where births occur.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Michigan?

Certified birth records in Michigan can be obtained by:

  • Persons named on the records
  • Parents named on the records
  • Legal guardians of the persons named on the records
  • Licensed attorneys representing subjects of records
  • Heirs of deceased persons named on the records
  • Anyone who obtains an order to access the record from a court of competent jurisdiction that pays the required fee and supplies a court order. (concerns a Michigan court, a federal court, or another jurisdiction whose laws are not in conflict with Michigan laws)
  • Anyone if the birth record is at least 100 years old (MCL 333.2882(1)(b))

Note that if the subject of the record is adopted, only the adoptive parents are eligible to obtain a birth certificate. A copy of court documented guardianship papers is required if the legal guardian of the person named on the record intends to obtain a birth certificate. A licensed attorney representing the subject of a birth record who intends to obtain a birth certificate must submit a request letter on official letterhead. The attorney must provide the state bar number and the name of the person being represented along with the client's identification.

Heirloom birth certificates may only be issued to:

  • The child named on the record
  • A parent named on the record
  • Legal guardian
  • An heir of a deceased individual

Under Michigan laws, you cannot order a birth record for your spouse. The spouse must place a separate order for his/her own birth record.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Michigan?

There is a basic search fee of $34 for a certified copy of a Michigan birth record. Each additional copy costs $16, while each additional year search costs $12. The basic search fee covers a search of the year specified on an application for a birth record. If the exact date of birth is not known, the requester must provide a year to search. If no record is found, the requester will receive an official statement that the requested record is not on file with the Vital Records office. Note that the $34 basic search fee is non-refundable.

Online orders for birth records in Michigan cost $34 for the record, $12 for the “RUSH” fee, and $11.50 for the processing fee, making a total of $57.50. There is an optional overnight delivery fee of $19.75, for a total of $77.25 for persons interested in expedited returns. Requests for authenticated birth records requiring an apostille have varying fees.

In-person applications cost $34 each. An additional “RUSH” fee of $12 will be required for same-day service. A money order, credit card, or cash can be used to pay the required fees if same-day service is requested. If same-day service is not required, a personal check may be used.

Heirloom birth certificate applications cost $40. This fee includes a $20 contribution to the Children Trust Fund, Payment can be made by check or money order made payable to the "State of Michigan".

Veteran's benefit copies of Michigan birth certificates cost nothing. However, persons aged 65 or older applying for certified copies of their birth records are charged a reduced fee of $14 instead of the usual $34 fee. Note that this does not apply to a senior citizen ordering a record for someone else.

It is possible to obtain certified copies of birth records online or by mail from the county clerk offices in the counties where births occur for lesser fees than the basic $34 fee charged by the MDHHS. For example, Houghton and Kent Counties charge $10 for the first copy of a certified record of birth that occurred in their counties and $3 for any additional copies of the same record.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Michigan?

An online order typically takes a 2-week processing time. Requesters who pay the optional overnight delivery fee usually receive their records in 1-3 business days. For an in-person request, an order placed at the counter in the Vital Records lobby before 3:00 p.m. following the payment of the "RUSH" fee of $12 will attract same-day service. However, the requester must allow up to a 2-hour waiting period for the order to be processed. Lobby hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For mail requests, the processing time for a regular request is roughly 5 weeks, depending on the volume of the requests received. "RUSH" or expedited requests require approximately 2 weeks processing time, also depending on the volume of requests received.

Processing time for an heirloom birth certificate takes 5 weeks. This includes mail time and processing the payment through the Vital Records Accounting Department.

Requests for authenticated birth records require an additional 2-3 weeks processing time at the Office of the Great Seal, in addition to the regular processing time in the Vital Records office.

For additional information or inquiries on processing times for birth records, contact the Eligibility Unit of the Michigan Vital Records office at (517) 335-8666. The Unit sometimes offers additional help to meet custom processing time requests from requesters.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Michigan?

Expunging a birth record refers to permanently deleting part or all of this record. Michigan does not allow the expungement of birth records

How to Seal Your Birth Records in Michigan?

Birth records are automatically sealed in Michigan for the first 100 years after preparing them. There is no reason to obtain a court order to seal a Michigan birth record.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Michigan?

Michigan law requires that the Probate Courts, adoption agencies, and Department of Human Services release identifying information from adoption records in their possession. The state defines identifying information to include:
  • Name of a child before placement in adoption
  • Name of each biological parent at the time of termination of parental rights
  • Most recent name and address of each biological parent
  • Names of biological siblings at the time of termination

Although identifying information is available to adult adoptees depending on certain circumstances, the following individuals are entitled to receive non-identifying information:

  • Adoptive parents of a minor child
  • Biological or former parents
  • Adult biological or former siblings

Adult adoptees can obtain identifying information depending on when parental rights were terminated:

Before May 28, 1945

  • If no denial statement is found in the Central Adoption Registry (CAR), identifying information may be shared with the adult adoptee.
  • If no denial statement is found in the CAR, the adult adoptee would be provided a copy of the CAR clearance form, FIA 1921. The adoptee presents this form to the Department of Community Health (DCH) for a copy of their original birth certificate.

After May 28, 1945, but prior to September 12, 1980

  • The birth parent must have on file a statement of consent with CAR before identifying information about that birth parent can be shared.
  • If the birth parent is deceased, proof of death must be provided before identifying information on that birth parent is shared.
  • Lack of a birth parent statement filed in the CAR serves as a denial.
  • Confidential Intermediary program is available through the court that finalized the adoption.
  • Original birth certificates could only be obtained through a court order.

On or after September 12, 1980

  • If no denial statement is found in the CAR, identifying information may be shared with the adult adoptee.
  • If no denial statement is found in the CAR, the adult adoptee would be provided with a copy of the CAR clearance form, FIA 1921. (The adopted person presents this form to DCH for a copy of their original birth certificate).

The Central Adoption Registry (CAR) is a file kept by the Department of Human Services of only former parents and former adult siblings’ statements denying or consenting to the release of identifying information. These statements will be forwarded to adoption agencies and courts upon request so they can determine what type of information can be released to an adult adoptee. The Registry is accessed by the court or agency only.

Where an original birth record is to be obtained by court order, the petition must be filed with the court that finalized the adoption.