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How to Find a Birth Record in South Carolina?
What Are Birth Records in South Carolina?
Birth records are official records of birth events. In South Carolina, birth registration is required to establish a person's legal proof of identity. The information collected from birth registration assists the government in making decisions on how to allocate state resources. On September 1, 1914, a law mandating registration of all births in South Carolina was signed into law, and actual statewide recording started 1n 1915. The state experienced massive compliance within a few years and has original copies of South Carolina birth records in its custody. Each county within the state, however, keeps copies of the state's records. Some cities even have records of births that were registered before the statewide recording began. A South Carolina birth record is required to obtain a passport, driver's license, personal identification, social security, and employment. It is also essential for various legal purposes. A person's birth record in South Carolina has the following information:
- The name of the person
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- Sex of the person
- The names of the parents
- Mother's maiden name
- Mother's marital status at birth
- Birth registration number
- Date and place of registration
How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in South Carolina
The Office of Vital Records of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is the statewide repository for South Carolina birth records. It, however, does not have any online medium where people can look up or obtain birth records. The Office of Vital Records has approved third-party vital records vendors from which interested persons can obtain copies of South Carolina birth records. The only persons who can order copies of South Carolina birth records online using third-party vendors are persons named on the documents. Such persons must provide copies of their valid photo identification for verification and pay applicable fees using their major debit or credit cards on all orders.
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 South Carolina
The State and Regional Vital Record Offices in South Carolina have records of the state's birth events from 1915 to date. They are responsible for making these records available upon request. Birth records on file at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) are not available for public viewing. Access to them is restricted to eligible individuals. In South Carolina, a birth record becomes publicly available 100 years after the date of birth. Interested persons may also visit the Vital Records Offices in each of South Carolina counties' health departments to get birth records from January 1, 1915. Besides using online services provided by third-party vendors, interested parties may obtain birth records in South Carolina in person, via mail, and by drop-off.
How to Get South Carolina Birth Records In-Person
The Vital Records Offices in South Carolina provide walk-in services for persons interested in obtaining birth records. Requesters may call the Vital Record Office to inquire about what is required of them before appearing in person. Typically, requesters must complete the Vital Records Birth Application Form and provide photocopies of their valid photo identification cards. They may then apply in person at any Vital Records Office location within the state.
How to Get South Carolina Birth Records by Mail
To apply for copies of birth records in South Carolina by mail, interested persons must first complete the Vital Records Birth Application Form. Completed application forms must be enclosed with requesters' self-addressed stamped envelopes, proofs of payment, and copies of their valid photo IDs before dispatch to the Vital Records Office. The state office of Vital Records in Richland County is the only location that accepts South Carolina birth records requests by mail.
How to Get South Carolina Birth Records by Drop-Off
Drop-offs are only accepted at the State Office of Vital Records. Requesters should complete the Vital Records Birth Application Form, provide copies of valid IDs, and then drop their requests at the designated place within the office. The Vital Records Office issues receipts for drop-off requests and mail records to requesters once processed. Requesters may also choose to pick up birth records processed via drop-offs at the Columbia State Office.
Where Can I Find Birth Records in South Carolina?
Requesters can obtain birth records in South Carolina at the State Office of Vital Records and Regional Vital Records Offices. They can also submit their requests at the Vital Records Offices in each South Carolina counties' health department. South Carolina has four Vital Records Regions, each comprising some county offices. Requesters must ensure to address their envelopes to "Vital Records" for all mail requests. Interested persons can visit the following Vital Records Offices to obtain South Carolina birth records:
2600 Bull St.
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 898-3630
222 Beaufort St. NE
Aiken, SC 29801
Phone: (803) 642-1686
1070 Heckle Blvd.
Rock Hill, SC 29731
Phone: (803) 909-7307
1407 King St.
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 525-7637
531 West Carolina Ave.
Varnville, SC 29944
Phone: (803) 943-3878
1550 Carolina Ave.
Orangeburg, SC 29116
Phone: (803) 533-7236
4050 Bridge View Dr.
N. Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: (843) 953-0032
220 McGee Rd.
Anderson, SC 29625
Phone: (864) 260-5667
200 University Ridge
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: (864) 372-3267
1736 S. Main St.
Greenwood, SC 29646
Phone: (864) 227-5970
151 E Wood
Spartanburg, SC 29305
Phone: (864) 596-2227
Pee Dee Region
203 N Page St.
Chesterfield, SC 29709
Phone: (843) 623-3767
1705 W. Evans St.
Florence, SC 29501
Phone: (843) 413-6440
531 Lafayette Cir.
Georgetown, SC 29440
Phone: (843) 546-0174
1931 Industrial Pk. Rd.
Conway, SC 29526
Phone: (843) 915-8802
105 N Magnolia
Sumter, SC 29150
Phone: (803) 934-2845
Note that the state office at Richland County is the only location that accepts mail and drop-off applications.
How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in South Carolina
Hospitals in South Carolina do not issue birth records. The Office of Vital Records of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) registers all births that occur within the boundaries of the state. It also maintains such records and makes them available on request.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in South Carolina?
Anyone can request uncertified copies of birth records that have been registered for over 100 years in South Carolina. However, only certain persons can obtain certified copies of a birth record on file at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). These persons include:
- The individual named on the birth certificate, who is at least 18 years old (Registrant)
- The Parents named on the birth certificate
- The legal guardian of the person named on the certificate (certified court order confirming guardianship is required)
- A legal representative of one of the registrant, registrant parents, and registrant's guardian
- Registrant's immediate relatives or their legal representative in the case of a deceased registrant (they must submit an original, certified copy of the registrant's death record with their request)
The Office of Vital Records issues computer-generated long forms as the only variant of birth certificates to requesters. A person applying for a certified copy of a birth certificate in South Carolina must provide the following information:
- Full name of the registrant and the date of birth
- Place of birth (County)
- Full names of registrant's parents
- Registrant's mother's maiden name
- Requester's full name, day time telephone number, and mailing address
- Statement of the relationship between the requester and the registrant
The Office of Vital records rejects birth record requests that do not contain applicants' valid identification. The acceptable means of identification by requesters who want to obtain South Carolina birth records include:
- Any United States DMV Office issued picture identification. Examples include driver’s license and learner’s permit (unexpired)
- Current school or employer picture identification card
- Military card (unexpired – active duty or retired member)
- United States Passport (unexpired)
- The United States Citizen Identification Card (form l-197)
- Temporary Resident Card (form l-688 – unexpired)
- Permanent Resident Card (form l-551 – unexpired)
- Weapon or gun permit issued by federal, state, or municipal government (unexpired)
- Foreign Passport (unexpired)
- Re-Entry Permit (l-327 – unexpired)
- Refugee Travel Document (form l-571 – unexpired)
How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in South Carolina?
The cost of requesting a birth certificate in South Carolina is $12. The fee covers record search and one certified copy of a certificate if located. Requesters who want additional copies of birth certificates in the same order will pay $3 per copy. The approved means of payment includes cashier's check, money order, credit/debit cards, and cash. Cash (not more than $50) and credit/debit cards are only permitted for in-person requests. These fees are non-refundable even when the custodians cannot locate requested records. Per South Carolina statute, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is the authorized body to charge for vital records. Hence, checks and money orders for birth certificates in the state are payable to the South Carolina DHEC.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in South Carolina?
It takes between 30 and 40 minutes to process most in-person requests of South Carolina birth certificates at the State Vital Records Office. Mail requests are typically processed between two to four weeks, while the average processing time for drop-off applications is two days. A person using the service of an approved third-party vital records vendor will get the requested birth certificate between five and seven days.
How to Expunge Your Birth Records in South Carolina
Currently, birth records are not eligible for expungement in South Carolina. An expungement is a court order that removes or destroys a document, leaving it with no trace of a previous existence.
How to Seal Your Birth Records in South Carolina
Following every adoption in South Carolina comes the sealing of adoption records. The Office of Vital Records of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issues an original birth certificate in a child's name at birth. However, once an adoption is finalized, there is always a need to amend the adoptee's original birth certificate. The original certificate and other adoption records then become sealed. The reason for sealing birth records in adoption is to protect the privacy of the adoptees and the birth parents, especially from societal shame if such adoptees were born to unwed parents. The vital information in an adoptee's original birth certificate is not different from those in an amended certificate. However, the original birth certificate bears the birth parent names, while an amended certificate has the adoptee's parents' names. In South Carolina, the Department of Social Services (DSS) handles the adoption process, while the Family Court is responsible for sealing birth records in adoptions.
How to Unseal Your Birth Records in South Carolina
In South Carolina, identifying information in a sealed birth record can be provided to the adoptee who is age 21 or older, birth parents, siblings, and grandparents. These persons, including adoptive parents, can access its non-identifying information. Before the disclosure of identifying information in a sealed South Carolina birth record, eligible parties will undergo counseling by the adoption agency regarding the effects of such disclosure. Section 44-63-140 of the South Carolina Code, as amended, allows the following regarding sealed adoption records for adoption finalized after July 1, 2019:
- Adult adoptees 18 years of age or older can obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.
- Birth parents can execute contact preference and medical history forms to release medical history information to adult adoptees upon request.
- Birth parents can consent to the release of original birth certificates.
Adoptees can obtain copies of their original birth certificate if they were born in South Carolina. The duplicate of the original birth certificate issued is in the form that indicates it is not a certified copy and that it may not be used for legal purposes. Besides this, they can obtain copies of all other documents in the sealed adoption files once their birth parents have given their written permission. To unseal these documents, an adoptee must complete the Vital Records Non-Certified Pre-Adoptive Birth Application Form and submit it in person or by mail at/to:
Division of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The requesting adoptee must provide valid photo identification and pay the applicable fees when applying to unseal birth records in South Carolina.