Are South Carolina Vital Records Public?
Yes. In compliance with the South Carolina Code of Laws, vital records are generally open to the public. However, the information contained in some of these records is considered confidential and so access to them may be limited to either only named registrants, registrant’s immediate family members or other authorized parties.
What Information Do I Need to Search for South Carolina Vital Records Online?
Typically, when interested parties carry out online searches for South Carolina vital records, the following information may be required:
- Name of a registrant on the record
- The date the vital event occurred
- County or city the event took place
Additional information specific to the type of record being searched for may be required such as the case number and location of the court proceeding when searching for divorce records.
How Do I Obtain South Carolina Vital Records?
Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of a vital record in South Carolina will be required to provide a valid government, employer, or school-issued photo ID and any other document that the record custodian may require for identification purposes. Requests should be submitted to the Vital Records Office at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
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 providing it is not a juvenile
What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and an Informational Copy?
The major difference between certified copies and informational copies is that certified copies of vital records may serve as legal documents that can be used for official purposes while informational copies of vital records have no legal use.
Are South Carolina Marriage Records Public Information?
Yes. South Carolina marriage records are public information in the state of South Carolina and may be requested by interested parties. However, certified copies of marriage certificates are only issued to parties named on the records, the parties’ adult children, legal representatives, and a former or present spouse of either of the named parties. Requestors who do not belong to any of the aforementioned groups may be issued a statement of the marriage, including the date and county where the marriage occurred.
How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in South Carolina?
Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of public marriage records may contact the probate court in the county where the marriage license was issued. Although this process may vary depending on the county, it usually involves an in-person visit to the courthouse to obtain these records. Finally, interested parties may also obtain copies of marriage records for marriages that occurred from July 1950-December 2017 from the South Carolina DHEC. To obtain marriage records from this office, requestors will be required to complete a vital records marriage/divorce application form, which they may submit either in-person or via mail-in to:
Office of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Mailed requests to this office take an average of 2-4 weeks to process. Certified copies of vital records in the state of South Carolina typically cost a non-refundable $12 search fee per record and an additional $3 for every extra copy of the same document required. However, these fees may vary depending on the particular location where the required document is domiciled as well as the method through which the record is obtained.
How to Get a South Carolina Marriage Certificate
Anyone inquiring about how to find marriage records in South Carolina should be aware that only those with the proper authorization can receive a certified copy of the marriage certificate. These individuals include:
- One of the married party (groom or bride)
- The married party’s adult child(ren)
- Either married party’s present or former spouse
- Legal representatives of either married party
Other requesters besides the aforementioned individuals merely receive a statement confirming the marriage took place along with the date and county where the marriage license was issued.
Marriage records documented between July 1950 to December 2021 are available through the DHEC Vital Records Office. Marriage records that were kept before or after the time period specified above can only be obtained from the probate court that granted the original marriage license.
The South Carolina vital records office accepts marriage certificate requests in person, by mail, and by drop-off. Generally, in-person requests are processed faster than any other request method, with an average processing time of 30 to 45 minutes. For more information about ordering a South Carolina marriage certificate through the DHEC, visit the DHEC marriage certificate webpage.
Meanwhile, most county probate courts provide an online marriage license lookup portal that record searchers can use to conduct free marriage license records searches. Most of these marriage license lookup portals require the registrant’s first name, last name, or license year to conduct free marriage license records search. Examples of these search portals include Greenville county marriage license search portal and Lexingtion county marriage license search portal. Alternatives include contacting or going in person to the county's probate court to order relevant records.
Are South Carolina Divorce Records Public Information?
Yes. South Carolina divorce records are generally considered public information. However, in some cases, these records may be sealed and can only be accessed by obtaining a court order authorizing the unsealing of these records. This usually happens in cases that involve neglected or abused minors or if the records contain proprietary business information.
In addition, certified copies of divorce reports are typically only issued to either of the divorced parties named on the document, their adult children, a present or former spouse of the named parties, and a legal representative of any of these parties.
How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in South Carolina?
Parties who wish to obtain copies of divorce decrees may do so by contacting the clerk of court for the South Carolina family court where the divorce proceeding occurred. Interested parties may also obtain copies of divorce reports by utilizing the services of a third-party vendor online or by completing and submitting a marriage/divorce application form to the South Carolina DHEC. However, interested persons should note that this office only has records for divorces between July 1962-December 2016.
How to Get a Certified Divorce Certificate in South Carolina
In South Carolina, certified copies of divorce reports, also known as dissolution of marriage records, decreed between July 1962 to December 2021, are maintained and available through the DHEC. However, dissolution of marriage records are not public records in South Carolina. Only qualified persons are allowed to obtain these records. These persons include:
- Either of the divorce parties
- The divorce party's adult child(ren)
- Present and former spouses of either divorced party
- Legal representatives of qualified individuals.
Qualified persons can request a certified divorce certificate in person, via mail, or by drop off at the DHEC Vital Records Office. The request must include a fully completed application form, the applicable search fee, and a valid photo ID from a government agency, institution, or place of employment. Unqualified record searchers can only receive a declaration confirming the existence of a divorce, along with the date and county of divorce.
A certified divorce certificate can also be ordered from third-party online vendors. Divorce certificates may be ordered online or over the phone through the website of these third-party online vendors or through phone numbers they provide. For more information about divorce certificates, contact the DHEC Vital Records Office or visit its divorce reports web page.
Are South Carolina Birth Records Public Information?
Yes. South Carolina birth records are public records. However, access to them is restricted and certified copies of these records are typically only issued to a registrant named on the record who is at least 18 years old, the registrant’s parents named on the record, the registrant’s legal guardian, and a legal representative of any of these parties. In cases where the registrant is deceased, the registrant’s immediate family members or their legal representatives may obtain a certified copy of the birth record. However, these parties must submit an original certified copy of the registrant’s death record along with a request for the required birth record.
How Do I Obtain South Carolina Birth Records?
In addition to searching for and obtaining copies of birth records online via the services of a third-party vendor, interested parties may also order birth certificate replacements in person from any of the regional vital records offices located in the state. Requestors will be required to complete and submit a birth application form. Applicants can submit this form in person or via mail-in to
Office of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The average processing time for in-person requests at any of the state vital records offices is 30-45 minutes.
Is a Birth Certificate Public Record in South Carolina?
No, certified copies of an original birth certificate can only be issued to authorized individuals for approved purposes, in accordance with South Carolina Code of Laws Section 44-63-80. Authorized individuals include the registrant (if they are of legal age), their parents or legal guardians, and legal representatives. Certified copies of state residents' birth certificates are also accessible to the Department of Social Services for the purposes of determining paternity and enforcing child support obligations.
Most South Carolina vital records, including birth certificates, have a time limit after which they become public records. Birth certificates becomes public record 100 years from the date of recording. Public birth records are available to anyone who submits the necessary paperwork and fee to South Carolina Vital Record Office.
A replacement birth certificate can be obtained from the South Carolina Vital Records Office if a state resident's copy of their original birth certificate gets destroyed or misplaced. Requests may be made in person at the state vital records office, by mail, or by drop-off. For expedited service, request should be submitted in person between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. In-person requests are processed within 30 to 40 minutes. Regional vital record offices and the DHEC State Vital Records Office both accept in-person requests.
A replacement birth certificate can also be ordered online from a third-party vendor by registrants. The typical turnaround time for online requests is five (5) to seven (7) days. Some third-party vendors also accept phone orders. More information about how to request certified and public birth records are available on the DHEC Vital Records Office birth certificate webpage.
Are South Carolina Death Records Open to the Public?
It depends. Death records in South Carolina become public records after 50 years. When this happens, uncertified copies of these records may be obtained by any interested member of the public. Parties who wish to receive public death records may be issued a statement of the event, which includes the date the death occurred, as well as the county where it appeared.
Certified copies of death certificates in the state of South Carolina are only issued to an immediate family member of the decedent named on the record, a legal representative of one of these members, or an interested party that can adequately demonstrate the right to perform a death certificate search.
How Do I Obtain Death Records in South Carolina?
Interested parties may initiate a death record search by name in South Carolina by completing and submitting a death application form in person or via mail to South Carolina DHEApplicants may also obtain copies of these records online by utilizing the services of a third-party website. Finally, interested parties may also get death records from 2005-date in person at any regional vital records offices.
Is a Death Certificate Public Record in South Carolina?
No, only eligible individuals in South Carolina may request and obtain certified copies of death certificates. These eligible parties include
- The decedent’s immediate family members, such as their parents, grandparents, spouse (not divorced), siblings, child, and grandchild.
- Legal representatives of any of the aforementioned immediate family member
- Anyone who can provide evidence that they have a tangible interest in personal or property rights, the descendant death certificate can resovle.
If the person requesting the records is ineligible, they will only receive a statement that the death occurred rather than a certified copy of the death certificate. The statement would mention the deceased's death date and county. Death certificates typically becomes public after 50 years.
How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in South Carolina?
South Carolina adoption records are sealed by statutory law and may only be accessed by authorized parties. According to Section 140 of the South Carolina Code of Laws Title 44 Chapter 63, non-certified copies of original pre-adoption birth records may be obtained by an adoptee born in the state who is at least 18 years old and whose adoption was finalized after July 1, 2019.
Parties who wish to obtain these records are required to complete a vital records non-certified pre-adoptive birth application. Applicants should submit this form in person or via mail to
Office of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Requestors will be required to provide a valid school, employer or government-issued photo ID and pay a non-refundable $12 search fee. It is important to note that administrators may only release adoption records to the adoptee if the biological parents have filed the birth parents have filed an affidavit consenting to the disclosure of this information with the Division of Vital Records.
What are Vital Statistics in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, vital statistics are cumulative data gathered on vital events that occurred in the state. In general, births, deaths, marriages, and divorces are considered vital events. Details about vital events are documented and maintained as vital records.
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control's Vital Record Office is responsible for maintaining and compiling South Carolina's vital records. The DHEC Vital Records Office additionally functions as the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics. South Carolina Code of Laws section 44-63 mandates that the DHEC offers ways for the general public to access and find vital statistics. For this reason, the DHEC maintains a vital records data and statistics webpage on its official website that interested persons can access to get birth and death vital statistics in the state. Alternatively, record seekers can contact the South Carolina Bureau of vital statistics by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to request vital statistics that are unavailable online.